In the 1890s the Berlin Iron Bridge Company in East Berlin was expanding and this led to a real estate boom. Fred W. Lang purchased land from Mary O. Bunce, who was very active in the real estate market at the time, and built four adjacent Victorian Vernacular houses on Main Street which he rented to the Bridge Company’s employees. The least altered of these is at 129 Main Street. According to the 1891 Berlin Agricultural Fair Bulletin, Fed W. Lang ran a bakery cart to Kensington, Berlin, East Berlin, Westfield, and West Cromwell from corner of Hart and Hawkins Streets in New Britain. In the 1880 census his occupation is listed as Retail Bread Dealer.
The house at 239 Berlin Street in East Berlin is believed to have been built in 1802 by Colonel Richard Wilcox (1780-1839). His second wife was Olive Porter. The house originally had a hip roof and two chimneys, but this was altered in the twentieth century to provide more attic space. The double front doors date to c. 1900. There was once a front porch across the full width of the front facade (note the band of darker brick between the two floors).
The house at 883 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built by Reverend Nathan Fenn (1749-1799), first minister of the Worthington parish, around the time of his ordination in 1780. As related by Catharine Melinda North in her History of Berlin (1916):
Jesse Eddy, who succeeded Mr. Fenn as owner of the property, had a large tin shop that stretched across the south yard, where many men were employed.
This shop was burned and rebuilt. Mr. Eddy was assisted in his business by his sons, George and Frederic.
One Sunday, a warm day in summer, George went with a companion to East Berlin and went in bathing at the factory pond. The water was unusually high, after a heavy rain, and George was drawn by an undercurrent over the dam and was drowned. Fifty men turned out to search for his body but it was not until after the water subsided that it was found caught in a tree.
Mr. James B. Carpenter purchased the Eddy shop and moved it down west of Deacon North’s store, where it forms the residence part of Mr. Damon’s place.
Nathaniel James married the daughter of Jesse Eddy, and, after that, the family used the house as a summer residence only, while their winters were spent in New York City.
Afterwards, the Rev. Seth Bliss owned the property for several years. It is now the residence of Charles S. Webster.
Built circa 1895, the Victorian house at 973 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was originally the home of Mary Brandegee. She lived there until her death in 1909. Before the house was built, the property had once been owned by John Brandegee (died 1858) who ran the family store.
The building at 305 Main Street, at the corner of Peck Street, in Kensington, Berlin is currently home to the Berlin Historical Society. It was built in 1901-1902 as the permanent home of the Kensington Library Society. Founded in 1829, the Library Society had stored its books at various places around town before the building was constructed: first at the Kensington Congregational Church; from 1874 to 1877 at Hart’s Hall; next in a room in the Berlin Savings Bank; and in 1890 back at the church. In 1900, Susan A. Peck was a leader among those seeking to build a permanent home for the library. She convinced her cousin, Henry Hart Peck, to donate the funds for a new building, which was built on land donated by Miss Harriet Hotchkiss and Mrs. Fannie Hotchkiss Jones. The Library Society was incorporated in 1901 in order to receive the donation. The Peck Memorial Library building was dedicated on November 5, 1902. A modern addition to the library was built in 1963. In 1986 the Town of Berlin took over the library, thus making it a public institution. In 1989, the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library moved into a new building at 234 Kensington Road. The former building on Main Street then became the home of the Berlin Historical Society. The building was renamed the King-Peck Memorial in 1994 to honor Ron King, who was active in various civic groups in Berlin.
Built in 1900 for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, the Berlin train station at 51 Depot Road in the Kensington section of Berlin is considered to be one of the best preserved of Connecticut’s smaller historic railroad depots. Now serving Amtrak’s New Haven-Springfield line, the building has an original rounded walled ticket office in the waiting room. The station had structural renovations in 2005 but is awaiting a thorough restoration.
The two houses standing next south of the new academy were built by Elishama Brandegee, the father of Dr. Elishama Brandegee. The one nearest the academy, long the home of Dr. Brandegee and his family, was designed for the teacher and was occupied by Ariel Parish. The other, now the parsonage of the Second Congregational Church, strange to relate, was built to be used as a parsonage by the Rev. James McDonald, who was settled here 1835-1837.