Earlier this month I featured buildings at the Hancock Shaker Village on my site Historic Buildings of Massachusetts. Connecticut also had a Shaker village. It was located in Enfield, but not nearly as many of its buildings have survived and they have been restored as they have at Hancock. On this site, I’ve already featured the South Family Residence and the adjacent laundry, ice house and dairy. The Enfield Shaker community grew to include five “families.” Besides the South Family, there were the North, East and West Families and, centrally located, was the Church Family. The first to be organized, the Church Family had overall control over the entire Enfield Shaker settlement. The last Enfield Shakers left the area in 1917. The State of Connecticut purchased the former Shaker property in 1931 for what is now the Enfield Correctional Institution. One of only two buildings to survive from the Church Family is the former Meeting House/Trustee House. Built in 1827, the building had an open meeting hall for the entire community and (perhaps later?) housed the Trustees, who handled the community‘s dealings with the outside world. Shakers were associated with reform movements, such as abolitionism: Sojourner Truth once spoke at the Meeting House.
The Turnverein was a German gymnastic/athletics movement. German immigrants to America founded Turnvereine in many communities, including the Rockville Turnverein, which was established in 1857. Members of the club (called Turners) built a Turn Halle on Village Street (a street that had strong associations with the German community) in Rockville in 1897. The building, which has been much altered, was later used by the Polish American Citizens Club.
The Shaker community in Enfield (not to be confused with the Shakers of Enfield, New Hampshire) was established in 1792 and survived until 1917. 100 buildings were once a part of the Enfield Shaker Village, of which only 15 survive today. Living communally, the Shakers in Enfield grew to include five family complexes. The residence building of the South Family, on Cybulski Road, survives today. It is a three and a half story brick building with a wooden belfry. It has been converted into a private residence. There are other adjacent surviving Shaker buildings. Read the rest of this entry »
At 27 Leavenworth Street in Waterbury is a house built in the early 1860s and much altered over the years. Known as the Armstrong/McDonald House, it has an Italianate form, but the exterior details are Georgian Revival. In about 1897, the house became the headquarters of the Young Women’s Friendly League (called the Waterbury Institute of Craft and Industry after 1908), which aided young working women. The organization began in 1889 and was incorporated in 1893. A large brick Georgian Revival building (31 Leavenworth Street) was constructed in 1900 as a rear addition to the house. This was the Young Women’s Friendly League Assembly Hall, also known as Leavenworth Hall.
In the post-Revolutionary War era, the Upper Wharves at Brewster Street were the commercial center of the trading port of Black Rock in Bridgeport. The oldest surviving storehouse from that period is at 51 Brewster Street. Built in 1772, it has been greatly altered since then. It was built by the partners Samuel Smedley and Samuel Sturges. Both men were patriots during the Revolutionary War, Smedley being a prominent privateer. Later used as a residence, the old storehouse was purchased by the Fayerweather Yacht Club in 1937 to become their clubhouse.
Since 1929, the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society and Club of Stonington has used the house at 26 Main Street as its club building. Every year, the club celebrates the Azorean Holy Ghost Festival, a traditional feast that goes back to Queen Isabel of Portugal (1271-1336), also known as Elizabeth, who devoted herself to helping the poor and feeding the famine-stricken Portuguese people. She was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1625. The house was built in 1836 by Courtlandt Palmer (1800-1874), first president of the Stonington & Providence Railroad, and it remained in his family until 1913.
The Cathedral Lyceum (pdf) in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood was built in 1895 by the Archdiocese of Hartford for the Cathedral Lyceum Society, a catholic club for young Irish men. Located at 227 Lawrence Street, the Renaissance Revival building, designed by John J. Dwyer, served for many years as a community center for the city’s growing immigrant population. The church sold the building in 1920 to the Hartford Box Company. The structure later served as as the home of the Lithuanian-American Citizens Club. It has since been a restaurant, a dance club, a roller skating business and a balloon manufacturer. In 2003 it was purchased by the Melville Charitable Trust, an organization dedicated to promoting affordable housing, and was renovated to become the Lyceum Conference Center.