The house at 52 Main Street in Southport, known as the E. Thorp House, was built in 1792. The historic residence suffered damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011 when a beech tree in the front yard split and crashed through the roof on the left side, damaging three floors. The house was restored by Sterling Building & Restoration using antique lumber materials and carefully recreating historically accurate trim, windows and doors.
The house at 64 Fair Street in Guilford was built in 1796 by Seth Bishop. He soon mortgaged the house to brothers Joel and Nathaniel Griffing and sold it in 1801 to Captain Joel Griffing (1762-1826). His brother, Judge Nathaniel Griffing (1767-1845), lived in a similar house nearby at 6 Fair Street that Joel had previously owned. From 1802 to 1825, the south chamber on the second floor of the Bishop House (which has a ceiling a foot higher than the other rooms) and two adjacent rooms, were used for meetings of St. Alban’s Lodge No. 38, a Masonic Lodge that now meets in Branford. A history of the Lodge indicates that on several occasions, meeting were canceled so as not to disturb a sick member of the Griffing family.
The Italianate house at 385 Main Street in Cromwell was built circa 1863 and once had a stuccoed brownstone exterior that was incised to resemble dressed masonry. The house has many high style decorative features. The front veranda dates to the later nineteenth century. The house was built by Elisha Stevens, who founded J. & E. Stevens with his brother John in 1843. The company produced toys and hardware and Elisha Stevens became very wealthy. In 1869 he started a new company with toy designer George W. Brown called Stevens & Brown. The company failed in 1874 and a bankrupt Stevens had to sell the house. In 1875 it was acquired by Osbourn Coe, a Middlefield farmer, who occupied it until his death in 1899. The house is currently part of a large health care facility and is connected to modern additions.
Built in 1843 (or perhaps c. 1860) for two blacksmiths, the house at 104 Main Street in North Stonington is a vernacular residence with Victorian-era embellishments. John Own Wheeler (1818-1900) and Thomas William Wheeler (1822-1900) (who may have been a laborer and not a blacksmith) were sons of Jesse Wheeler (1786-1852), who was also a blacksmith.
In 1865, Horatio H. Abbe (1829-1902) of East Hampton built the Greek Revival-style north section of the house at 15 Main Street. The following year, Abbe was one of the founders of the Gong Bell Company, which manufactured bell toys and other metal toys. Around 1871, reflecting his growing prosperity, Abbe added the Italianate-style south section of the house, which includes a tower and veranda. As related in an obituary of Abbe that appeared in The Iron Age (Vol. LXX, September 11, 1902), Abbe was born in Enfield.
He was married January 26, 1853, to Miss Laura A. Hayes. After engaging in business with a brother he went to East Hampton July 31, 1862, beginning his business life there as a machinist in the employ of Markham & Strong.
January 1, 1866, he, with E. C. Barton, Ezra G. Cone and A. H. Conklin, formed the partnership of the Gong Bell Mfg. Company for the manufacture of the Abbe Gong Door Bell, of which Mr. Abbe was the inventor. This business relationship continued harmoniously and without a break for 33 years, or until the death of Ezra G. Cone, in 1898, when a joint stock company were incorporated, of which Mr. Abbe became the president and Mr. Conkiin secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Abbe was widely known in Masonic circles, of which he was a thirty-second degree member, he being prominently connected with a number of lodges and commanderies. The funeral services were held at his late residence, the interment being at Enfield, Conn.
Mr. Abbe is mourned by those who were intimately associated with him as an honored citizen and one whose generosity, loyalty and genial ways endeared him to a Iarge circle of friends and acquaintances.
The summer cottage at 26 Fenwick Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1872 by William Patton of Springfield. One of the first three cottages to be constructed in the borough, it originally stood on the site of the Mary Brace Collins Cottage at 28 Fenwick Avenue. Patton moved his cottage across the street in 1887. In the 1890s the cottage was owned by Richard Crocker, known as “Boss Crocker,” who was a leader of New York City’s Tammany Hall. In 1899 the cottage was bought by Leonard D. Fisk of Hartford, who remodeled it extensively. Fisk married Genevieve (Jennie) B. Judd, daughter Henry C. Judd, wool merchant and partner in the firm of Judd & Root. Fisk was one of two inheritors of the business of his grandfather, Leonard Daniels, who had a successful flower mill on the Park River in Hartford and was one of the city’s prominent citizens. In 1912 the Fisk family sold their cottage to William Waldo Hyde, a lawyer. It was sold by his widow in 1923. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 80-83.