Riley Ives and his son Edward produced uniform buttons during the Civil War in Plymouth Center. After the War they switched to the production of parts for mechanical wind-up toys. They assembled their toys in several shops in the village. In 1868, Edward Ives founded his own factory on Maple Street. Called the Ives Manufacturing Company, he soon moved it to Bridgeport where it became the largest manufacturer of toy trains in the United States from 1910 until 1924. His father continued to make toys in Plymouth. In 1921 an Ives factory building, built c. 1870, was moved from Maple Street to 694 Main Street to be used as the Plymouth Grange Hall. Plymouth Grange, No. 72, was organized on December 7, 1887. As described in the History of the town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:
The grange now own the building on Main street next to the post office, in Plymouth Center, and have a well furnished hall where meetings are held every alternate Wednesday evening. One prominent feature at each meeting is the “lecturer’s hour.” This is composed of select readings, essays, and discussions on farm topics, recitations, music and debates. In fact, anything that pertains to the household or the farm. This gives the farmer and his family an opportunity for social intercourse and intellectual improvement, which, owing to their isolated vocation, were it not for the grange, they would be deprived of. “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity,” is one of the underlying principles of the order.
The building now houses businesses.
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.