The Wickham Memorial Library, at 656 Burnside Avenue in East Hartford, was built in 1939-1940. It was the gift of Clarence H. Wickham (1860-1945), a wealthy industrialist, in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Horace J. Wickham. An innovator in the envelope industry, Wickham also left his estate in Manchester, “The Pines,” to become what is now Wickham Park. As noted in The Hartford Courant (“New Library Starts Soon In Burnside,” June 23, 1939), Wickham sought to perform the dual service of leaving a suitable memorial to his parents and contribute to the happiness and welfare of the Wickhams’ neighbors in the Burnside section of East Hartford. The Colonial Revival library, designed by Smith & Bassette of Hartford, had its dedication ceremony on February 9, 1940.
Located at 1175 (1171-1177) Main Street in East Hartford is Comstock Hall, built in 1899 to house a theater (later converted to a roller-skating rink and then demolished) and offices. The classically proportioned building was constructed by Lewis Comstock, a railroad engineer and descendant of an old East Hartford family. In 1926, Comstock erected an adjoining building to the south (1165-1169 Main Street, aka 2 Orchard Street). The two buildings are joined by a continuous first-floor storefront cornice, but the 1899 structure is taller and has a more elaborate classical revival design.
Now used as office space, the brick building at 96-98 Connecticut Boulevard in East Hartford was built in 1892 as an apartment building with four tenements. The building’s earliest recorded owner was George W. Darlin (1825-1916), who according to his advertisement in Geer’s Directory, was in the livery and trucking business, real estate and tenements and was a dealer in wool and coal in East Hartford. Darlin summered at Middle Beach in Westbrook. In the 1930s the apartment building was known as “The Clifford.”
Like the house at 66 Burnside Avenue (although in need of a new paint job), the Italianate house at 74 Burnside Avenue in East Hartford was built by carpenter Joseph Clark. The house, built circa 1877, is adjacent to Clark Street, which was named for him. Unlike its neighbor, the house at no. 74 lacks a cupola, but has an Eastlake-style front porch.
At 66 Burnside Avenue in East Hartford is a beautifully preserved Italianate house. The exterior has recently been repainted. It was built in 1872 by Joseph Clark, a builder who constructed a number of houses in East Hartford.
The building at 165 Main Street in East Hartford was built around 1870 and was originally the Hockanum School house. By the 1940s, overcrowding (there were four kindergartens housed in portable classrooms) led to the opening of a new Hockanum School in 1949. For many years the former school building was used by the town as the Hockanum Library.
In Martin Park in East Hartford the town’s Historical Society maintains a complex of three historic buildings. One of these is the Burnham Blacksmith Shop, built c. 1850, which originally stood on the Burnham family farm. Today, the building contains a collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century tools and equipment used in the East Hartford area.