At the confluence of Bigelow Brook and the Hockanum River in Buckland, Manchester is a former factory complex known as Hilliard Mills. Aaron Buckland had a woolen mill on the site by 1794 (and perhaps as early as 1780). The mill provided blankets for soldiers in the War of 1812. As related in the first volume of The Textile Industries of the United States (1893), by William R. Bagnall:
We have no information concerning the mill or its business after the war till 1824, in which year, on the 20th of September, Aaron Buckland sold the property to Andrew N. Williams and Simon Tracy, of Lebanon, Conn. Williams & Tracy operated the mill less than four years and sold it, March 13, 1828, to Sidney Pitkin, also of Lebanon. Mr. Pitkin owned the mill, alone, till July 31, 1832, on which date he sold an interest in the property of one fourth to Elisha E. Hilliard, one of his employes. They operated the mill nearly ten years till April 26, 1842, when Mr. Pitkin sold the remaining three fourths to his partner, Mr. Hilliard.
Elisha Edgarton Hilliard sold one-fourth to Ralph E. Spencer in 1849, but he was sole owner again by 1871. The company made blankets and clothing for the Union Army during the Civil War. A small manufacturing village called Hilliardville (see pdf article) once existed near the mill.
After E. E. Hilliard‘s death in 1881 his son, Elisha Clinton Hilliard, ran the company. E. C. Hilliard moved his family to Woodland Street in Hartford in 1890 while his unmarried sisters, Maria Henrietta and Adelaide Clementine, continued to live in Hilliardville. E.C. Hilliard’s daughter, Charlotte Cordelia, married Lucius B. Barbour. They lived at the Barbour House on Washington Street in Hartford and summered at their cottage in Fenwick. E.C. Hillard’s son, Elisha Earnest Hilliard, ran the mill after his father’s death.
The mills closed in 1940 and were afterwards used by other manufacturers, including United Aircraft Corporation during World War II and Bezzini Brothers, furniture manufacturers. The surviving mill buildings are currently being redeveloped for business and commercial uses.
Pictured above is Hilliard Mills Building #2, which was built in 1895 by E. C. Hilliard. The building has irreplaceable long-grain yellow pine beams and birds-eye rock maple flooring. Read the rest of this entry »
In the first half of the early nineteenth century, a store occupied the lot at 63 Hurlbut Road in Gales Ferry in Ledyard. Starting in 1831, the store was owned by Samuel and Ira Vincent. At Samuel‘s death in 1837, his widow Martha sold off the store goods. She owned the property until 1843 when it was inherited by Ira’s widow, Sarah Baker Vincent (1802-1885). Around 1850, she built a house in place of the store.
The Isaac C. Lewis Cottage (although it’s much bigger than what people think of as a cottage!) is located at 255 Thimble Island Road in the Stony Creek section of Branford. It is an impressive eclectic Victorian house with an outstanding variety of detail that features elements of the Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Eastlake, and Stick styles. It was built as a seaside cottage for Isaac Chauncey Lewis (1812-1893), president of the Meriden Britannia Company and one of Connecticut’s leading industrialists. The cottage was designed by the architect Henry Martin Jones (1828-1908), who had also designed Lewis’s much larger house in Meriden. The cottage was shifted about a hundred feet east, from one side of its lot to the other, in 1917. Read the rest of this entry »
Attention Readers: I will be at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center tonight at 5:00 PM discussing and signing copies of my book, Vanished Downtown Hartford. Please come to this Nook Farm Book Talk if you are in the area! The house at 85 Main Street in North Stonington was built in 1819 (according to the sign on the house) or circa 1790 (according to the nomination for North Stonington Village Historic District). It was the home of Gilbert Sisson, a cabinetmaker and merchant. Born in 1769, Sisson married Desire Main in 1791. One of their sons, Charles Grandison Sisson (1807-1874), became a contractor and railroad president in New Jersey. Another, Noyes Sisson (1798-1872), was a cabinet maker and farmer in North Stonington.
Daniel Eels (1757-1851), a cooper, built a house on Main Street in Cromwell around 1782. He moved to Whitestown, New York in 1795 and sold the property, which then had a number of owners until 1802, when it was purchased by William Smith, who then sold it to his brother Capt. John Smith. The house (373 Main Street) may actually have been built at that time, instead of the earlier date of 1782. In the late nineteenth century, this Colonial/Federal house was altered in the Queen Anne style.
Dating to around 1800, the building at the corner of Bank and Pearl Streets in New London was part of the business operations of Jonathan Starr‘s family. Starr, who lived across the street, operated the Chester & Starr lumberyard and a grocery store at the site. According to the New London Heritage Trail plaque at the site: “Coffins and groceries both sold here.” The building now houses a restaurant and bar.
West Haven’s Union School is a former school building at 174 Center Street. Built in 1889 to 1890, when West Haven was part of the town of Orange, it served as a grammar school and for thirty-five years as a high school. It replaced a series of earlier wooden school buildings. Union School is a brick structure with terra cotta and East Haven red-sandstone trim. It was designed by Leoni W. Robinson, a leading architect in New Haven. An addition to the building, identical in plan and detail, was built to the rear in 1914. The former school is now used for senior housing.