Built c. 1850, the building at 305 Broadway in Norwich was originally the home of Amos Wylie Prentice (1816-1894). Born in Griswold, Prentice settled in Norwich in 1823. As described in Representative Men of Connecticut, 1861-1894 (1894):
His first business experience was as clerk for W. A. Buckingham, subsequently the war governor of the state. In 1831 Mr. Prentice entered the employ of Mr. John Breed, a hardware merchant, in the store which proved to be his business home for the larger part of his life. Such was his faithfulness and zeal that in 1840 he was made a member of the firm, the name becoming John Breed & Co. In 1856 Mr. Breed went into a different line of business, and, with Mr. Amos C. Williams, Mr. Prentice continued the sale of hardware specialties under the old name. Six years later Mr. Williams died, and Mr. Prentice formed a new partnership with Messrs. William A. Williams and Francis A. Dorrance, taking the name of A. W. Prentice & Co. This connection lasted till 1888, when Mr. Prentice sold out his interest to his clerks who had been with him for a long series of years. The firm name now is Eaton, Chase & Co., the latter being Mr. Prentice’s son-in-law, and they carry on business along the same lines on which it was established nearly seventy years ago.
Mr. Prentice has devoted no small share of his time and talents to the management of financial institutions. He has been president of the Norwich Savings Society since 1890. With one exception, this is the largest savings institution in Connecticut. He has been senior director of the First National Bank of Norwich for over twenty-five years. Besides the financial-organizations mentioned, Mr. Prentice is a director in the Richmond Stove Company, and other companies of lesser note, and is a trustee of the Norwich Free Academy.
Men of Mr. Prentice’s stamp must expect to have official stations tendered them for acceptance. In 1854 he represented the old eighth senatorial district at the state capitol, and served on the committee on state prisons as chairman. [. . . .] In 1859 his fellow citizens elected him mayor of Norwich, and it was during his term of office that the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the city was celebrated. He was equal to all the responsibilities of the occasion, and nothing occurred to mar the festivities of the day. Mr. Prentice served his constituents so satisfactorily that he was re-elected the following year. The year 1877 again found him at the capital of the state, this time as the representative of his city in the lower branch of the legislature. [. . . .] He was a member of the judiciary committee, which is usually composed of lawyers, and was appointed on a special committee on the examination of the state capitol.
The house was later the residence of Alice A. Allis, who served as a Trustee of the Norwich Free Academy. Upon her death in 1957, Allis left the house to the NFA and it now serves as the Academy’s administration building.
The house at 124 Washington Street in Norwich was built c. 1880. By the turn of the century it was the home of Frederick Sewall Camp (1848-1907) and his family. Camp had come to Norwich in 1871 and became a clerk at the Ponemah Mill. In 1874 he married Harriet Bell Blackstone, the daughter of Lorenzo Blackstone, one of the mill owners. On January 1, 1907, having suffered Bright’s Disease for six months, Camp took his own life by shooting.
Built c. 1800, the house at 2 North Street, corner of Main Street, in Plymouth Center is thought to have once been the Red Tavern, an inn on the Hartford Turnpike. In the mid-nineteenth century it was the home of George Pierpont and later became the rectory of the neighboring Episcopal Church, which is now the Baptist Church. Owned by the Baptist Church, the building is now called Gaines House.
The house at 2655 Long Hill Road in North Guilford was built c. 1730. The original owner was Joseph Chittenden, Jr. (died 1794), a cooper by trade. It was later owned by Benajah Stone III (1708-1757), who was married to Joseph’s sister, Mary. Benajah sold the house on March 3, 1746 to Samuel Fyler.
Clover Nook Farm is an eighth generation family-owned farm at 50 Fairwood Road in Bethany. The farm started in 1765 when David French married Hannah Lines and the couple settled on the French family’s Bethany land. Their son, Harry French, built a farmhouse in 1823 that still stands at the center of the farm. The later generations to run the farm were Harry‘s daughter, Jane, and her husband, Justus Peck; their daughter Charlotte and her husband, Samuel Woodward; their son Sherman, followed by his son, Sherman, Jr.; and now Sherman, Jr.’s daughter Deborah and her husband and son, Eric and Lars Demander.
In the center of Eastford is a Greek Revival building called the Ivy Glenn Memorial. It was built as a Methodist Church in 1847, the same year Eastford separated from Ashford to become a new town. In 1916, Eastford Methodists joined with Congregationalists to form a Federated Church and the former Methodist Church was sold to the town for $200. The building’s basement was repaired to serve as a place for town meetings. Restoration work was completed in 1934 with funds from the Civil Works Administration. The upstairs hall was now used for town meetings and the library and town offices were located in the basement. A new Town Hall was erected in 1969 and after town offices moved to the new building, the library was able to expand in the basement of the former church. This required a new renovation which was funded by a bequest in honor of Ivy Glenn made by her husband, Wilmer Glenn, a New York stockbroker who spent summers in the Phoenixville section of Eastford. The enlarged library opened in 1972. Another renovation was made after a fire in May 1979 damaged the front of the building.
Eastford is one of those towns in the state where the center of population nearly coincides with the geographical center of the township. Miss Ellen Larned, in her valuable History of Windham County, tells us that “the first inhabitant was John Perry from Marlborough, Mass.; who bought 350 acres of land on both sides of Still River and settled upon it near the site of the present Eastford Village.” The grave of this rude forefather of the hamlet may be seen, if I am not mistaken, in the old grave-yard back of the Congregational Church. From the beginning the chief settlement has gathered around this original spot. The village is favorably located, with a healthful environment, a fine outlook, and excellent water power. There are six roads which unite at the village green in front of the Methodist Church; and now that the state road is constructed the facilities for travel are all that can be desired. A fresh hope for the place can be confidently indulged in. The old-time saying of one of its people is fast coming more true than ever before: “Eastford is the biggest place of its size on earth.”
The Captain William Clark House at 45 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook is thought to have been built c. 1780/1790, with later alterations made in the Greek Revival style in the 1850s when it was acquired by Thomas C. Acton. The house would become known as Acton Place. T. C. Acton (1823-1898) was a politician and reformer in New York City and was the first person to be appointed president of the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. During the early stages of the New York City Draft Riots in 1863, after police superintendent John A. Kennedy had been incapacitated due to a beating by the angry mob, Acton took active charge of police forces in Manhattan. This tense experience placed a strain on his health and after the Riots Acton took a five year leave of absence from the NYPD. He later served as Assistant U. S. Treasurer, a position he eventually left to establish the Bank of New Amsterdam. In 1896 Acton moved to his summer home in Old Saybrook where he died on May 1, 1898. The house remained in the Acton family well into the twentieth century.