Happy Halloween! The Conference House is a building in Glastonbury, built around 1830, that possibly once stood where the First Church of Glastonbury was erected in 1837. It was moved to another site down Main Street, just north of the Joseph Wright House. Called the Conference House, the church used it for meetings, lectures and concerts. Starting in the late 1830s it was used as a private school run by one of Deacon Wright’s sons. In 1894, Deborah Goodrich Keene, who lived at 2016 Main Street, the Hale-Goodrich House, bought the building and moved it across the street to its current address of 2000 Main Street. In 1911 she leased the house to Glastonbury’s first telephone switchboard. She later converted it into a private residence. Floodwaters from Hubbard Brook almost reached the roofline of the house in 1936.
The Andrews-Bailey-Knox House is a Greek Revival house built in 1840 at 2163 Main Street in Glastonbury. It was once the home of Virginia Knox (1909-2002) who worked for the Connecticut State Library for 32 years, retiring in 1966.
The large Colonial Revival house at 1420 Main Street in Glastonbury, which now contains medical offices, was built in 1911 for J. H. Hale (1853-1917). Known as the “Peach King,” John Howard Hale, with his brother George H. Hale, transformed the 200-year old Hale farm into a nationally-known peach-growing empire. He developed peach trees that could better withstand the northern climate. His accomplishments are described in Men of Mark in Connecticut (1906):
Mr. Hale is now sole owner and manager of the J. H. Hale’s Nursery and Fruit Farms at Glastonbury, president of the Hale Georgia Orchard Company, at Fort Valley, Georgia, and president and general manager of the Hale and Coleman Orchard Company at Seymour, Connecticut. He was the first American orchardist to sort, grade, and pack fruit, and label and guarantee it according to its grade. He was the first in America to use trolley transportation in the fruit business, and is one of the very few Americans who ship peaches to Europe. He is fittingly called the “Father of Peach Culture in New England.” Mr. Hale has also initiated many new ideas in fruit advertising. Another novel feature introduced by him is that of having an orchestra play in the packing rooms at the Georgia orchards. Aside from bettering and developing horticulture all over America, Mr. Hale has done a valuable service to his state in making many acres of so-called “abandoned” hill lands of Connecticut and New England to bloom with beautiful orchards.
[. . .]
Mr. Hale has written numerous articles on horticultural topics for the World’s Work, Country Life in America, and other periodicals. For twelve years he was associate editor of the Philadelphia Farm Journal, and for fifteen years he edited the agricultural column of the Hartford Courant. He has had important positions in the State Grange, and has sacrificed a great deal of time and money in strengthening that organization, being at the head of same from 1886 to 1890, and now chairman of the executive committee. He was also first president of the Glastonbury Business Men’s Association.
Hale also served as a state representative, during which time he played a role in forming the Storrs Agricultural College (now UCONN). You can read more about Hale in my post about the house of his grandfather, Ebenezer Hale.
The house (which combines Gothic Revival and Italianate features) at 100 Main Street in South Glastonbury was built around 1878 by George S. Andrews (1819-1891). In 1866, he opened a feldspar quarry in South Glastonbury and started what is said to have been the first feldspar mill in Connecticut. What is now called “Old Maids Lane” was built by Andrews to transport the feldspar to the family’s dock on the Connecticut River.
In 1906, Louis Howe (1870-1968) leased the feldspar quarry and mill on Roaring Brook in South Glastonbury and made it the largest feldspar supplier in Connecticut, producing 65,000-70,000 tons of the mineral between 1906 and 1928, when the quarry became inactive. Howe was also a merchant and owned a water company that supplied South Glastonbury from his reservoir on Evergreen Lane near Chestnut Hill. Louis W. Howe also served in the state legislature. The Colonial Revival house at 1062 Main Street in Glastonbury was built for him in 1908.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Grove Street in Glastonbury was the home to a diverse immigrant community that included Germans, Poles and Ukrainians. Many residents worked nearby at the Williams Brothers Silver Company. A German Lutheran Church, built on Grove Street in 1902, became St. John The Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in 1925. The area was redeveloped in the 1970s and the church was in the path of a new road linking Main Street and the New London Turnpike. In 1973, developer David MacClain was given approval for a residential project to be built across from his Glen Lochen Marketplace (completed 1975). His proposal included providing a new home for the church at the corner of a new Grove Street. He only charged the church for moving fees that were within the $45,000 the Redevelopment Agency had paid for the building. The church was moved to its current address at 26 New London Turnpike early in 1974.
Sources: “Ukrainian Church, a Landmark, Seen Surviving Redevelopment,” by George Graves (Hartford Courant, August 19, 1973); “Redevelopment Agency Vows To Keep Church,” by George Graves (Hartford Courant, September 28, 1973); “Ukrainian Church Expected To Be Relocated This Week,” (Hartford Courant, February 10, 1974).
The house at 1559 Main Street in Glastonbury was the home of William Welles, a prominent citizen of the town. Welles was a tutor at Yale. During the Revolutionary War, when students were dispersed away from New Haven, Yale classes were held in the house (May 1777 to June 1778). Welles left Glastonbury c. 1798 and the house was acquired by Joseph Stephens, who operated a forge behind the house near the river. Originally having a saltbox form, the house was later expanded and updated in the Georgian style. It also has a later Greek Revival front doorway.