Eli Phelps was a prosperous tobacco farmer in Windsor. Around 1860 he built the impressive Italianate house that stands at 18 Marshall Phelps Road in Poquonock. As related in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County (1901):
Hon. Eli Phelps was born at Poquonock, Sept, 1, 1807, and had only such educational advantages as the local schools of that day provided. He was but a young man when his father died, and as the only son the care of the estate fell to him before he had a chance to acquire business experience, yet he managed affairs with conspicuous ability and became one of the most successful farmers of the town, obtaining good results under all circumstances. For some years after his marriage he resided at his father’s old home, later locating at the farm now occupied by our subject. While he left a handsome estate to his children, he was never grasping or unduly economical, and many worthy enterprises were helped forward by his liberality. He was a man of fine physique, six feet tall, weighing 200 pounds, and his mental ability was above the average, his reading and observation enabling him to gain a wide range of practical knowledge. He took an active interest in religious work, serving as treasurer of the Ecclesiastical Society of his town for a long time, and politically he was prominent as a member of the local Democratic organization. At various times he held offices in his town, and for several years he was a member of the General Assembly. He died Sept. 1, 1879, and his remains now rest in the cemetery at Poquonock.
At 1248 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor is an impressive Italianate villa-style home erected c. 1860. It was built for Eliphalet Ladd, a merchant who owned a store in Poquonock Center. Eliphalet Ladd (1822-1885) was the father of Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930), a noted scientist who made contributions in the fields of mathematics and psychology. Born in Windsor, she spent her first six years in New York before the family returned to Windsor in 1853. Following her mother’s death in 1860, her father remarried in 1862 and Christine was sent to live with her grandmother in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She later attended Vassar and Johns Hopkins.
In 1960, the Eliphalet Ladd House was one of a number of locations in Windsor and East Windsor used in the Hollywood film Parrish (1961), which is set on a Connecticut tobacco farm.
William Shelton (1805-1860) was a hat maker in Windsor who filled orders for customers as far away as Philadelphia. In 1830 he built the transitional Federal/Greek Revival house at 40 Pleasant Street. It was constructed of bricks from William Mack’s brickyard, which opened that year at the foot (east end) of Pleasant Street. Behind Shelton’s house was an industrial area along Mill Brook where he made his hats. The house currently contains antique furniture that was brought back from the attic and barn and restored.
In 1877 the Town of Windsor decided to construct two town halls, one at Windsor Center and the other at Poquonock. Town meetings were held in the two buildings in alternate years. In 1920 the building in Windsor Center became the sole Town Hall. It was located on the northwest corner of Broad and Maple Streets. It was demolished in 1967 for a parking lot after the current Town Hall was built in 1965. Facing the Windsor Center Green, the Windsor Town Hall was designed by Louis J. Drakos & Associates of Hartford and was built by Matthew J. Reiser of Elmwood, N.J.
Happy Easter! St. Gabriel Catholic Church is located at 379 Broad Street in Windsor. Before St. Gabriel parish was established in 1921, Catholics in that part of Windsor had been the responsibility of St. Mary parish, Windsor Locks (1852-1892) and then of St. Joseph parish, Poquonock (1892-1921). Father James Smyth purchased an Episcopal church named for St. Gabriel on November 1, 1865. A wood frame building, it had been built in 1843-1845. It served as St. Gabriel Catholic Mission Church until a new stone edifice was erected in front of it. The cornerstone of the current St. Gabriel Church was blessed on May 16, 1915 and the church was dedicated on May 14, 1916.
The brick house at 458 Palisado Avenue in Windsor was built c. 1845 by Isaac Sweetland, a farmer. He lived there with Sophia Sweetland, for whom the house is named in the Windsor Historic Resources Inventory.