The house at 34-36 Woodbridge Street in Manchester was built c. 1873. It is an unusual example of a Second Empire-style two-family house in the residential area that was built up between 1860 and 1890 in the area just east of Depot Square in North Manchester. Read the rest of this entry »
The brick Greek Revival house at 24 Hawkins Road in South Britain was built in 1835 for Judson Manville, a hat manufacturer. As mentioned in South Britain, Sketches and Records (1898), by W. C. Sharpe, in a section headed “The Hat Business,”
This was at one time quite a flourishing business here. One of the early shop owners was Judson Manville, whose shop was west of the church, on the east bank of the Pomperaug River, where a portion of the shop is yet standing. He employed about a dozen men, among whom was Thomas Solley, who afterwards had a hat shop at Kettletown, which was then a thriving community, most of the men being hatters by trade.
In the nomination for the South Britain Historic District, the house is listed as the Mrs. B. Chatfield House, built in 1850. The house’s wraparound porch is an early twentieth-century addition. The house was used for many years as the office for the nearby Hawkins Company factory.
The Stiles Curtis House is located at 3 Park Street across from the Green in Norwalk. It was built in 1832 and updated in 1869 (the Nomination for the Norwalk Green Historic District lists a date of 1853). A merchant, Stiles Curtis (1805-1882) was a Warden of the Borough of Norwalk (1845-1853) and President of the Bank of Norwalk (1875-1892).
At 2 Riverside Place at Gales Ferry on the Thames River in Ledyard is a gambrel-roofed house built c. 1796 that is now connected to a much larger addition. The building is owned and operated by the Yale heavyweight crew team and is used to prepare for the nation’s oldest intercollegiate sporting event, the Harvard-Yale Regatta, known as The Race. Yale’s complex at Gales Ferry includes a boathouse. The 1796 house was built by Thomas Geer, who sold it to Capt. Alexander Allyn in 1799. It passed to his daughter Sarah, who married Norman B. Brown, Gales Ferry postmaster. It remained in the family until 1904. It was then acquired by George St. John Sheffield, a great benefactor of Yale rowing (and the son of Joseph Earl Sheffield), and the University purchased the property in 1907.
The Cronin Building, at 80-88 State Street in New London, was built by Jeremiah D. Cronin, a plumbing contractor and a promoter of the Post Hill Improvement Company. It was built on the site of the City Hotel, where Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln once stayed. The hotel burned down in 1891. The Cronin Building was designed by George Warren Cole, an architect from the firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge (H.H. Richardson‘s successors) who came to New London to supervise the construction of three buildings: the Public Library, the Williams Memorial Institute and the Nathan Hale School. The vacant Cronin Building is in need of restoration.
At the confluence of Bigelow Brook and the Hockanum River in Buckland, Manchester is a former factory complex known as Hilliard Mills. Aaron Buckland had a woolen mill on the site by 1794 (and perhaps as early as 1780). The mill provided blankets for soldiers in the War of 1812. As related in the first volume of The Textile Industries of the United States (1893), by William R. Bagnall:
We have no information concerning the mill or its business after the war till 1824, in which year, on the 20th of September, Aaron Buckland sold the property to Andrew N. Williams and Simon Tracy, of Lebanon, Conn. Williams & Tracy operated the mill less than four years and sold it, March 13, 1828, to Sidney Pitkin, also of Lebanon. Mr. Pitkin owned the mill, alone, till July 31, 1832, on which date he sold an interest in the property of one fourth to Elisha E. Hilliard, one of his employes. They operated the mill nearly ten years till April 26, 1842, when Mr. Pitkin sold the remaining three fourths to his partner, Mr. Hilliard.
Elisha Edgarton Hilliard sold one-fourth to Ralph E. Spencer in 1849, but he was sole owner again by 1871. The company made blankets and clothing for the Union Army during the Civil War. A small manufacturing village called Hilliardville (see pdf article) once existed near the mill.
After E. E. Hilliard‘s death in 1881 his son, Elisha Clinton Hilliard, ran the company. E. C. Hilliard moved his family to Woodland Street in Hartford in 1890 while his unmarried sisters, Maria Henrietta and Adelaide Clementine, continued to live in Hilliardville. E.C. Hilliard’s daughter, Charlotte Cordelia, married Lucius B. Barbour. They lived at the Barbour House on Washington Street in Hartford and summered at their cottage in Fenwick. E.C. Hillard’s son, Elisha Earnest Hilliard, ran the mill after his father’s death.
The mills closed in 1940 and were afterwards used by other manufacturers, including United Aircraft Corporation during World War II and Bezzini Brothers, furniture manufacturers. The surviving mill buildings are currently being redeveloped for business and commercial uses.
Pictured above is Hilliard Mills Building #2, which was built in 1895 by E. C. Hilliard. The building has irreplaceable long-grain yellow pine beams and birds-eye rock maple flooring. Read the rest of this entry »
At 712 Main Street in Middletown is the New Hope Bible Way Church. The building, which originally stood on the west side of Main Street between College and Court Streets, was built in 1799. It was then the fourth meetinghouse of Middletown’s First Church of Christ, a Congregational society first organized in 1668. The structure has been moved twice. The first time was in 1822, when it was shifted back 8 feet as it was thought to be too close to Main Street. In 1873, after the congregation moved to a new building (the current First Church of Christ on Court Street), the old meetinghouse had its steeple removed and the structure was relocated to its present location. The original rear of the church became the new front facade facing Main Street, to which storefronts were eventually added. For a time, the former church’s audience room was used for meetings of St. Mary’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society. Before becoming a church again, the building housed small businesses and apartments.