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.
Built c. 1865 as the Rectory (priest’s residence) of Grace Episcopal Church, the building at 301 Broad Street in Windsor is an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style with such features as decorative bargeboards.
The house at 1832 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor was built c. 1790 by Capt. Sylvanus Griswold (1733-1811). A prominent and wealthy man, Sylvanus Griswold served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. His son, Gaylord Griswold, was admitted to the bar in 1790. He is described in Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Vol. IV (1907), by Franklin Bowditch Dexter:
the fourth son and fifth child of Captain Silvanus Griswold, of Windsor, Connecticut, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Hartford County, and grandson of Captain Benjamin and Esther (Gaylord) Griswold, of Windsor, was born on December 20, 1767. His mother was Mary Collins, of Wallingford, Connecticut.
Gaylord moved to New York State in 1792. The house was owned by Charles W. Hathaway in the mid-nineteenth century.
The house at 6 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor was built around 1871 by Daniel Mack on land he had acquired from Horace Bower. The building has substantial twentieth-century additions and is now used as for apartments and offices. Daniel Mack worked at the Mack Brickyard in Windsor, founded by his father William Mack in 1830. Daniel Mack also owned a house on Mack Street.
Today I’m featuring the infamous Archer-Gilligan Murder House in Windsor. The play and film Arsenic and Old Lace was inspired by the true story of Amy Archer-Gilligan (1873-1962), AKA “Sister Amy,” who ran the house at 37 Prospect Street (built c. 1875-1880) as the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm. She and her first husband, James Archer, had earlier run a home for the elderly in Newington, moving to Windsor in 1907. James Archer died in 1910, a few weeks after his wife had taken out an insurance policy on him. In 1913 Amy married her second husband, Michael W. Gilligan, a wealthy widower with four adult sons. He died on February 20, 1914, again leaving her financially secure. Between 1907 and 1916 there were 60 deaths of her clients in the Archer home, 48 of them from 1911 to 1916, many of whom passed away after paying her large sums of money. Suspicious relatives of her clients brought the story to the Hartford Courant, which published several articles on the “Murder Factory.” A police investigation followed. Exhumations of the bodies of Gilligan and four others revealed that they had been poisoned. Archer-Gilligan had also been purchasing large quantities of arsenic. A jury found her guilty of murdering one of her tenants in 1917 and she was sentenced to death. In 1919, on appeal, she was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1924 she was declared temporarily insane and was transferred to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, where she remained until her death.