The saltbox house at 566 Boston Post Road in Madison was long thought to have been built by John Dudley in 1675, making it the oldest house in town. The nomination for the Madison Green Historic District instead attributes it to Gilbert Dudley with a date of c. 1740. A plaque by the Madison Historical Society gives a date of c. 1720. On April 11, 1776, while on his way from Cambridge to New York, George Washington stopped to dine at the house, which was then a tavern run by Captain Gilbert Dudley.
The house at 1 Old Tavern Lane in North Haven was built in 1738 as a tavern by William Walter. It was first known as the Half-Mile House (it is located on a half-mile strip of land that was once part of East Haven but later given to North Haven). After the Revolution it was renamed the Rising Sun Tavern. After Walter, the Tavern was run by Gideon Todd (1737-1817) for many years. Todd also maintained the road and charged travelers at a tollgate. Gideon Todd served as a sergeant during the Revolutionary War and was made a state militia captain in 1787. According to tradition guns were hidden from the British during the War in a secret room above the tavern’s kitchen. The interesting story of Todd’s marriage is described in the The Todd Family in America (1920):
Prudence Tuttle was from Wallingford, Conn., her father being an officer there under the King. Gideon Todd was born in North Haven, Conn. Their marriage created a sensation in Colonial society. The Tuttle’s were a wealthy and aristocratic family and when young "Gid" Todd asked their daughters hand in marriage, he was haughtily refused. He was their equal by birth and lineage, but had his fortune yet to make, and they had other views for their daughter. One winter day, there was consternation and dismay in the Tuttle mansion; Prudence was missing and investigation revealed the fact that she had eloped, mounted on a pillon, behind her lover, they had ridden to North Haven and were married. Her parents disowned her and her name was never to be mentioned. As time passed, reports reached them that Gideon Todd was getting on in a remarkable way; accumulating property and esteemed by every one, and they thought it time to forgive the disobedient daughter; so, they loaded a cart with bedding, furniture, and other valuables, and started the hired man with it for her home, they going on horseback. Arriving there first, they found their son-in-law at home, and were courteously received. After a time, the cart drove up to the door and they then announced that they had brought some presents, when Capt. Todd said with dignity, “Time was when the furniture and bedding would have been acceptable, for when we were first married, we slept on the floor on a straw bed; but now I can supply my wife with every comfort, and your presents cannot come into the house; but you will always be welcomed.” And tradition has it, they returned home, as chagrined and mortified, as their neighbors were amused.
At 944 Worthington Ridge in Berlin is the Elijah Loveland Tavern, built c. 1797. It operated as a tavern from 1797 to 1812 and had a ballroom on its north end. The place is described in Catharine Melinda North’s History of Berlin (1916):
The property opposite Galpin’s store, now the home of the Misses Julia, Sarah, and Hattie Roys, daughters of the late Franklin Roys, was long known as the Elijah Loveland place. The house was once used by Mr. Loveland as a hotel. According to George H. Sage, whose history of the “Inns of Berlin” was published in the Berlin News of May 30, 1895, Mr. Loveland received his taverner’s license in 1797, and discontinued the business in 1812. There was a large addition on the north side of the house, with a ballroom on the second floor, which was often a scene of festivity.
When Priest Goodrich was here, there was a revival in his church. It was before the chapel was built, and the extra meetings were held in Loveland’s ballroom. One cold night, when the place was crowded, the air became so close that suddenly every tallow candle went out, and all was in darkness. Mr. Goodrich, who feared that the people would attempt to go down the stairs and be injured, said in a commanding voice: “Keep still!” “Everybody keep still!” The people obeyed him and remained quietly in their seats until fresh air was admitted and the candles were again lighted.
Elijah Loveland died in 1826, at the age of eighty-one. His son George, who inherited the homestead, had five sons and three daughters: William, George, Elijah, John, Henry, Sarah, Lois, and Maria. Henry, who remained at home, remodeled the old house and tore down the north part, that in later days had been used as a tenement.
Mrs. C. B. Root, a tailoress, had for a time a shop in the lower rooms. The ballroom was used in the fifties by the Misses Pease and Stone, as a millinery and dressmaking establishment.
The bar of the tavern was in the south front room and the money was kept in a corner cupboard in the next room back. When this cupboard was removed, Mr. Loveland found beneath it handfuls of sixpences and ninepences, that had slipped through the cracks.
The building is now a private residence.
Located at 1 Dyer Cemetery Road, just off Route 44 in Canton, is the former Dyer’s Inn and Tavern, which was featured in a recent article in the Hartford Courant (“Cars, Cash And Prohibition: The Legends Of Dyer’s Inn And Tavern,” by Dan Haar, July 27, 2014). The main house was built in 1789 by Isaac Wilcox, who moved to Pompey, New York, in 1801. In 1810 Daniel Dyer purchased the house and gave it, the following year, to his son, Zenas Dyer (1788-1856), as a wedding present. Zenas Dyer, a farmer, married Sarah “Sally” Chedsey. He opened the house as a tavern in 1821 and it soon became a favorite of travelers on the old Albany Turnpike. A tavern sign, made for the inn by by William Rice in 1823, is now in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. Each year, the tavern alternated the hosting of the Canton Agricultural Fair with Abraham Hosford’s Inn. Zenas, who also had a cider mill where he distilled cider brandy, operated the tavern until 1851 and the property then remained in his family for many years. In the twentieth century, Zenas’s great-granddaughter, Margaret, had a business selling fudge and salted nuts. As related in Reminiscences By Sylvester Barbour, a Native of Canton, Conn. Fifty Years a Lawyer (1908):
Mr. Zenas Dyer, grandfather of Daniel T. Dyer, was another man who took part in Canton’s setting-off proceedings. In 1812 he built the house in which the grandson lives, situated on the north side of the old Albany turnpike, near Farmington river, on an elevation commanding a fine view of varying scenery. Mr. Dyer used the house for a time as a tavern, sharing with nearby Hosford’s tavern the entertainment of the extensive traveling public. I well remember him and his son Daniel, who many years owned and occupied that house; both highly respected men. Daniel T., the only child of Daniel, succeeded to the ownership of that house, and resides there. He is the owner of some 500 acres of land, and is an honored member of the democratic party, to which party, if I mistake not, Zenas and Daniel belonged. The present Mr. Dyer and his estimable wife, to whom I have already referred, are royal entertainers. Numerically, and in winsome manners,’their children would delight the heart of President Roosevelt, and they help to make up a very happy family. Mr. Dyer’s exhibition at the centennial of his grandfather’s old tin lantern, which was a guide to travelers seeking a good inn to tarry at, attracted much attention.
The house was added to in stages over the years and the property had many outbuildings, some of which still survive today. Now the property is divided into six apartments.
Rev. John Trumbull (1715-1787) became pastor of the Congregational Church in Watertown in 1739. A slave owner, Rev. Trumbull married Sarah Whitman, daughter of Rev. Samuel Whitman of Farmington, in 1744. He was also the uncle of Connecticut’s Revolutionary War governor Jonathan Trumbull. Rev. Trumbull’s first house in town, no longer standing, was a saltbox on the east side of Main Street, south of the church. In 1772 he built a larger house just next to the church. Located at 40 DeForest Street, the house became a tavern (it was Lockwoood’s Tavern and then David Woodward’s Tavern) in the 1790s and was remodeled with a large ballroom on the third floor. Shed dormer windows on the roof and Neoclassical porches at either side of the house were added after 1900.
As related in David N. Camp’s History of New Britain (1889):
For several years before New Britain was incorporated as a distinct society, the little community had been exercised by the discussions concerning the division of Kensington, and the questions relating to the petitions and other measures to secure preaching on East Street. The death of Rev. William Burnham, in 1750, gave a new impulse to the efforts which resulted in the incorporation of the society. . . . .
The first settlers of New Britain were farmers with such limited education as could be obtained at that day. Nearly all had some property, which by frugality and industry, was increased after they occupied their new homes. In the eastern part of the parish, commencing at the northern boundary, there was a succession of farms — some large, and others comprising but a few acres—extending southerly, first on the Stanley Road, and then on both Stanley and East streets, to the southern limits of the parish, or to Great Swamp. . . . .
In the north part of Stanley Quarter, John Clark, Daniel Hart, Thomas Stanley, and his sons, Thomas, Noah, Timothy, and Gad, Jonathan Griswold, and a few others, were living upon farms, which already gave evidence of cultivation and thrift. When the society was incorporated, the first three of these men and their farms, were excluded from New Britain, though located within the bounds of the new society. Thomas Stanley had a large landed estate in Farmington and New Britain, and also land in New Cambridge (Bristol). He had several slaves employed either as field hands or help in the house, some of whom were mentioned in his will. He died before the first church in New Britain was organized, but three of his sons were members of this church, and they and some of their descendants became prominent in the affairs of the church and society. His eldest son, Thomas, had his home on the east side of the highway in Stanley Quarter; Noah, the second son, who was about thirty years old when the society was formed, lived on the west side of the road, where his son, and then his grandson, Noah W. Stanley, afterward lived. He kept a tavern at the place. A younger brother, Timothy Stanley, lived on the opposite side of the street, and had a tannery near his house.
Built circa 1754, the Noah Stanley Tavern is located at 1928 Stanley Street in New Britain. For much of the twentieth century, the house was owned by Hubert S. Blake, a New Britain native who died in 1975 at the age of 99. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 895 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built by the brothers Nehemiah and John Brainerd to serve as a social hall called Brainerd Hall. The brothers owned a granite quarry that they opened in 1792. Brainerd Hall was constructed soon after the brothers’ uncle Hezekiah Brainerd and his wife Elizabeth acquired the land from Elizabeth’s father, John Wells, in 1794. After John Brainerd’s death in 1841, the hall housed students at the nearby Brainerd Academy, a school established by the Brainerd brothers.. After 1857, Erastus G. Dickinson operated the Golden Bull Tavern in the building. It remained in the Dickinson family until 1964.