The building at 20 Broad Street in New Britain was erected in 1923 as the Rialto Theater. The owners went into receivership in the late 1920s and the building was foreclosed in 1930. Nest 88 of the Polish Falcons of America acquired the building in 1934. The Polish Falcons are a fraternal benefit society headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nest 88 was chartered in 1907 after a first meeting in Lee Hall on Lafayette Street in New Britain. The organization has an emphasis on physical fitness, but in the early twentieth century it also trained volunteers to fight for the independence of Poland. 300 recruits from New Britain were among the 20-25,000 Polish men from North America who went to fight in the War as part of Haller’s Army (also called the Blue Army), which was composed of Polish immigrants and fought under French command in Europe. The building in New Britain has retail space on the first floor while the entire second floor is dedicated to Nest 88, with the Club Office, Club Bar, two halls, a kitchen and meeting rooms.
Orange Hall, at 72 East Center Street in Manchester, was built in 1902. It has a meeting hall above first floor commercial establishments. It was built by the Loyal Orange Lodge, an Irish Protestant fraternal organization. In the early twentieth century, Orange Hall was a meeting place for seven different fraternal organizations. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wakeman Boys & Girl Club was founded in 1913 by Miss Frances Wakeman (1835-1918) of Southport. She was the granddaughter of Jessup Wakeman, who settled in Southport in the early nineteenth century and became a well-known merchant, and the daughter of Zalmon Bradley Wakeman, a successful businessman who left a large property to his family at his death in 1865. A description of Frances Wakeman and of the club she founded can be found in Volume II of the History of Bridgeport and Vicinity (1917):
Miss Frances Wakeman was reared to womanhood in her native town of Southport, where she has spent her entire life. Her beautiful home, Rose Hill, which commands a view of Long Island Sound and surrounding sections of Southport, is one of the most attractive places in this part of the state. Miss Wakeman is a lady of innate culture, possessing refined taste and artistic temperament. She is one of the best known women of Fairfield county and she takes a most active and helpful interest in the public affairs of the village of Southport and its institutions. This was manifest in the beautiful gift which she and her cousin, Miss Crapo, made to the people of Southport. The gift was a red brick building known as the Wakeman Memorial and erected in memory of their grandfather, Jesup Wakeman, at a cost of fifty thousand dollars, to be used by the boys and girls of Southport as a club house. The building is maintained by Miss Wakeman and in it are found a reading room, a sewing room and rooms for dancing and recreation where the boys and girls may find entertainment amid delightful and beneficial surroundings. Instruction is given to the girls in sewing and dancing is also taught. This building was opened in 1913 and it contains a bronze tablet on which is engraved the following: “The Wakeman Memorial, 1913. This building was erected and equipped for philanthropic work with funds contributed by Frances Wakeman and Cornelia Wakeman Crapo. Their grandfather, Jesup Wakeman, is remembered in its name. On Christmas day of 1913 it was opened to the youth of Southport in the hope that its privileges would enable and persuade them to grow up worthy in the community which the donors love, regardless of circumstances or creed. Their welcome here depends alone upon the regard they show for that which the place provides.”
Among the new buildings that our workers have not had an opportunity of visualizing is the Wakeman Memorial at Southport, Conn. The accompanying illustration shows the front elevation overlooking the Long Island Sound. The basement provides accommodation for industrial classes, and the two floors above are divided into reading, game and club rooms, together with a kitchen and living quarters for the Superintendent. The extension at the rear is the gymnasium. This building was erected and furnished throughout by Miss Wakeman. Securities were also set aside for the permanent endowment of the work. Southport is a village with few industries, therefore this building not only serves the boys, but is made the center of quite an extensive community work. Dr. George W. Phillips is the Superintendent.
The Wakeman Boys & Girl Club has since moved out of its original home, which is now a private residence. The building was photographed for the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Located across from the triangle in New Haven formed where Temple Street diverges from Whitney Avenue is the home of Berzelius, a senior society at Yale University. Founded in 1848, it is a secret society named for the Swedish scientist Jöns Jakob Berzelius. It was originally founded as part of the Sheffield Scientific School, which was later integrated into Yale University. The building, built in 1910, is located at 78 Trumbull Street. It was designed by architect Donn Barber.
The building at 360 Main Street in Middletown was built circa 1873-1876 to replace an earlier structure, a hotel called that Kilbourn House, that had burned down. The new building served as a hotel, known as the Farmer’s and Mechanic’s Hotel and later the Hotel Chaffee. In 1905 the building was sold to the Pythian Building Corporation. From then on, the first floor has contained retail businesses (Woolworth’s was here in the 1920s and 1930s). The second floor was converted for office use and the third floor became the meeting space of the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization. The Pythian Building‘s current facade, with marble and large windows on the first two floors and a Palladian window on the third story, dates to 1938.
A chapter (called a “tribe”) of the Improved Order of Red Men was established in Bristol in 1890. The organization constructed a three-story brick meeting hall at 43 Prospect Street in Bristol in 1911. Designed by Walter Crabtree and built by B.H. Hubbard Co. of New Britain, the Redmen’s Hall had a state armory on the first floor and a meeting hall on an upper floor. Many town events were held in the hall in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1940 the building was renovated to become a movie theater called the Carberry Theater. The building is now owned by the Christian Fellowship Center.
Mapleton Hall, at 1305 Mapleton Avenue in Suffield, was constructed in 1883. First known as Central Hall and located on Crooked Lane, which was soon changed to Mapleton Avenue, the building was used as a meeting hall for town government and farmers’ associations. As described in Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut, October 12, 13 and 14, 1920:
A strong community spirit has characterized the people residing in that part of the town long known as Crooked Lane and later as Mapleton. Early in the seventies they began to hold Lyceum and Farmers’ meetings in the old brick school house at the foot of the hill. It became too small for the interesting meetings and in the winter of 1879-80 a public hall was suggested. This sentiment quickly grew and at a meeting early in 1880 a committee consisting of Cecil H. Fuller, Arthur Sikes and Edward Austin was appointed to draw up articles of organization and agreement. They were presented at a meeting at the school house April 16, 1880, and an association organized. The articles of agreement were accepted and the following officers elected: president, Edward Austin; secretary, John L. Wilson; auditor, Dwight S. Fuller; trustees, Cecil H. Fuller, Henry D. Tinker and D. D. Bement. In the next two years enough money was raised so that the construction of Mapleton Hall was begun in the spring of 1882. It was ready for use in January of the next year and was dedicated January 16 with exercises that included an “old home week.” At first it was called Central Hall, but the name was later changed to Mapleton Hall. In 1896 a large addition was built to meet the requirements. All debts are paid and the association has money in the treasury.
The old Lyceum and Farmers’ meetings were continued in the new hall till 1885, when the Grange was organized to take their places. The organization occurred February 19, 1885 with Henry D. Tinker, master, Arthur Sikes, secretary and George A. Austin, lecturer. From that time till the present the organization has held meetings twice a month. When organized there were twenty-eight charter members; the membership is now two hundred.
Mapleton Hall later fell into disrepair but was restored over twenty years by the Mapleton Hall Association. Since 1978 it has been the principal performing space of the Suffield Players, who purchased the building in 1999.