The building at 489-493 Main Street in Middletown was built in 1905 for the F.L Caulkins Auto Company. Known as the Caulkins Garage, it had an automobile showroom on the first floor with residences above. It was constructed when the company was expanding its automotive business from its quarters across the street, in the 1890 Caulkins & Post Building. The garage building continued to serve its original purpose throughout much of the twentieth century. The building is now home to Luce Restaurant (98 Washington St #1).
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Here’s a Colonial house in Haddam, at 95 Jacoby Road. It was built in the first third of the eighteenth century, possibly around 1720. Around that time Stephen Smith came to Haddam from West Haven. He distributed land to his four sons in 1753, this house going to Captain John Smith (1728-1808), a seafarer. His son, John Smith, Jr., was a blacksmith. According to tradition he forged the links of a chain across the Hudson River intended to interfere with British shipping during the Revolutionary War. He also shod a horse for George Washington. John Smith III was an apprentice blacksmith under his brother-in-law Elisha Stevens, who later founded the J & E Stevens Company in Cromwell. The house remained in the Smith family until 1899. In the mid- 20th century the property was home to Joseph and Mae Harrington from New York who grew strawberries and grapes that were sold at Rozniaks in Higganum. Joseph Harrington was the author of the Lieutenant Kerrigan mystery series. The house is unusual in Connecticut for having a large cellar fireplace. The property also has a barn dating to 1725-1730 and a creamery shed that was connected to the house in 1978 to become a library.
The New Haven Water Company was incorporated in 1849 as a private water utility. In 1903, the company erected an office building at 100 Crown Street in New Haven. The brick and brownstone structure was designed by architect Leoni Robinson in the Romanesque Revival style. The interior of the building was renovated by wife-and-husband owners Alex and Alexander Heonis, who opened Capture Salon in 2012.
In 1861 Moses Bulkeley, a prosperous Southport merchant, had a highly detailed Gothic Revival house erected at 176 Main Street. Designed by the Bridgeport architects Lambert & Bunnell, the house has distinctively Gothic pointed arches, decorated bargeboards and lancet windows. The tower was added to the house in 1886 by Moses Bulkeley’s son Oliver. From 1922, when the porch was extended, until 1958, the house was used as an inn.
Brothers Solomon and Hiram Fox built houses on Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford c. 1824. Solomon’s has disappeared, but Hiram’s remains at 204 Naubuc Avenue. The house has later Victorian alterations probably made by later owner Ira Anderson and his son Harry.
Guilford farmers began clearing land in the north part of town in 1705. As related in A History of the Plantation of Menunkatuck and of the Original Town of Guilford, Connecticut, Comprising the Present Towns of Guilford and Madison (1897) by Bernard Christian Steiner:
on December 6, 1716, the town voted to grant the petition of the “North Farmers in Guilford,” that they may have “the liberty to hire a minister for 4 months for their ease in attending the worship of God, the Town being at no charge in contributing to the same.”
In 1720 the town
granted 50 acres on Hooker’s Hill “to be disposed for the ministry forever,” and permitted the meetinghouse to be set” on the hill called the ledge, in the highway against Sam’l Bishop’s lot.”
The first meeting house on Mettinghouse Hill was built in 1723 and a separate religious society was granted by the General Assembly in 1725. The current North Guilford Congregational Church building was erected in 1812-1814. Workmen erecting the steeple during the War of 1812 observed British ships on Long Island Sound during the Battle of Stonington. Abraham Coan of Guilford was the architect/builder of the Federal-style church, which stands in a dramatic location on Meetinghouse Hill. The interior was remodeled and the Chancel was added in 1855, possibly to a design by Henry Austin. A rear addition to the church was constructed in 1957.
The Italianate house at 49 Church Street in Guilford was built c. 1848 by Frederick A. Fowler. He was married to Laura Brooks, sister of Captain Oliver N. Brooks, who also lived at the house for a time. Captain Brooks was the lighthouse keeper at Faulkner’s Island from 1851 to 1882. He was described in Forest and Stream (Vol. LXXX, No. 8, January 18, 1913):
It was a piece of heroism performed on the night of Nov. 23, 1858, that caused Captain Brooks to be spoken of as the “Hero of 1858.” That night the schooner Moses F. Webb went ashore in a heavy gale on Goose Island, not far from Faulkner’s Island. Captain Brooks, disregarding the weather, put out to the stranded vessel in an open boat, and safely took off the five men of the crew. This feat was widely heralded. The Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York presented him a gold medal and the citizens of New Haven gave him a purse of gold.
Captain Brooks was known to every Connecticut ornithologist of thirty years ago as a careful observer of birds, and as possessing in his home at the lighthouse a collection of birds of unusual interest. His name has been quoted in many a list of Connecticut birds during the last forty or fifty years.
Captain Brooks was a delightful man, full of stories of his experiences and observations. He was twice a member of the Connecticut General Assembly.