Riley Ives and his son Edward produced uniform buttons during the Civil War in Plymouth Center. After the War they switched to the production of parts for mechanical wind-up toys. They assembled their toys in several shops in the village. In 1868, Edward Ives founded his own factory on Maple Street. Called the Ives Manufacturing Company, he soon moved it to Bridgeport where it became the largest manufacturer of toy trains in the United States from 1910 until 1924. His father continued to make toys in Plymouth. In 1921 an Ives factory building, built c. 1870, was moved from Maple Street to 694 Main Street to be used as the Plymouth Grange Hall. Plymouth Grange, No. 72, was organized on December 7, 1887. As described in the History of the town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:
The grange now own the building on Main street next to the post office, in Plymouth Center, and have a well furnished hall where meetings are held every alternate Wednesday evening. One prominent feature at each meeting is the “lecturer’s hour.” This is composed of select readings, essays, and discussions on farm topics, recitations, music and debates. In fact, anything that pertains to the household or the farm. This gives the farmer and his family an opportunity for social intercourse and intellectual improvement, which, owing to their isolated vocation, were it not for the grange, they would be deprived of. “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity,” is one of the underlying principles of the order.
The building now houses businesses.
The church at 569/579 Clinton Avenue in Bridgeport was built in 1961 as St Dimitrie Romanian Orthodox Church. The church was founded by Macedo-Romanian immigrants in 1924 under the name of the Cultural Society of St. Vasile. It became St. James Romanian Orthodox Church in 1928. The church acquired its first building that same year, at 150 Lee Avenue in Bridgeport. The church moved to Clinton Avenue after its Lee Avenue building burned down in 1958. In 2009 the church held its first services in a new building at 504 Sport Hill Road in Easton. The church had rented space at St. Nicholas Antiochian Church in Bridgeport for three years while the new building was constructed. The former St. Dimitrie Romanian Orthodox Church in Bridgeport is now Iglesia Cristiana Renacer Inc.
Happy Fourth of July! As described in my book Vanished Downtown Hartford (pp. 143-144), Hartford’s First Unitarian Society built a church, known as Unity Hall, on Pratt Street in 1881. It functioned as both a church and a public hall and was used by the Unitarians until 1924. They then moved to a new building on Pearl Street, which later became Ados Israel Synagogue, and then to their current building on Bloomfield Avenue. In 1891-1892, when they were still based at Unity Hall, the Unitarians constructed a five-story brick Romanesque Revival commercial building in front of their church. It was no doubt built to provide additional income for the church to add to that gained from renting out Unity Hall. A similar move was made by the Universalist Church of the Redeemer on Main Street, when it constructed a commercial building in front of the church in 1899 (it only stood until 1906 when Travelers acquired the property). Unity Hall was eventually demolished, but the Unity Building survives today. There is an interesting article about trouble early on with the buildings foundation: see “Foundation Stones Tipped: The Pratt Street Building Trouble Laid to a Surface Drain” in the Hartford Courant, April 13, 1892. The Unity Building has a Jacobethan first-floor facade that was added in 1928.
The Cook Building is a three-story brick commercial building constructed in 1888 at 84-88 (then 36) Pratt Street in Hartford. The building was owned by Charles W. Cook, who may be the same Charles W. Cook (d. 1912) who was the partner of Charles S. Hills in the dry goods firm of Cook & Hills, which became C.S. Hills & Company after Cook’s retirement in 1896. The store was located at the corner of Main and Pratt Streets, not far from the Cook Building.
Once part of the property of the Isaac C. Lewis Cottage in Branford is a small clapboard barn with a cupola. Built around the same time as the cottage (c. 1882), the barn is known as the Toolshed. It was originally behind the house, but has since been moved closer to Thimble Islands Road and has been adapted for use as a summer cottage.
The house at 52 Main Street in Southport, known as the E. Thorp House, was built in 1792. The historic residence suffered damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011 when a beech tree in the front yard split and crashed through the roof on the left side, damaging three floors. The house was restored by Sterling Building & Restoration using antique lumber materials and carefully recreating historically accurate trim, windows and doors.
The house at 64 Fair Street in Guilford was built in 1796 by Seth Bishop. He soon mortgaged the house to brothers Joel and Nathaniel Griffing and sold it in 1801 to Captain Joel Griffing (1762-1826). His brother, Judge Nathaniel Griffing (1767-1845), lived in a similar house nearby at 6 Fair Street that Joel had previously owned. From 1802 to 1825, the south chamber on the second floor of the Bishop House (which has a ceiling a foot higher than the other rooms) and two adjacent rooms, were used for meetings of St. Alban’s Lodge No. 38, a Masonic Lodge that now meets in Branford. A history of the Lodge indicates that on several occasions, meeting were canceled so as not to disturb a sick member of the Griffing family.