The building that is called Winthrop House, at 166 Rowayton Avenue in Rowayton, Norwalk, was built in 1848 by Charles L. Raymond as a a four-story summer hotel. It has had many names, being called the Fairview Hotel by the turn of the century. It was a private home around the time of World War I, but then became a hotel again under various names over the years: Colonial Inn (1926), Pleasant Inn (1930) and Rowayton Inn (1935). During the Second World War it was purchased by the Bassler brothers. At the start of the twenty-first century there were plans to demolish the building, but in 2005 the Norwalk Preservation Trust worked with developer Andrew Glazer, the Rowayton Historical Society, the Rowayton Community Association and the Norwalk Planning and Zoning Office to restore the exterior to its nineteenth-century appearance. The interior was converted into three luxury condominiums.
The home of the Rowayton Historical Society is the Seeley-Dibble-Pinkney House, located at 177 Rowayton Avenue in Norwalk. The house was built c. 1790-1820 and has been altered over the years. Part of the basement floor is paved with left over shipping ballast. Alfred Seeley purchased the house in 1820. He was a successful farmer and store-owner. He also built the first packet that traveled between Rowayton to New York. Seeley’s youngest daughter, Hannah Minerva, married Alphonso Dibble, who took title to the house and store in 1890. In turn their youngest daughter, Gertrude Hannah, who was married to William Pinkney, next occupied the house. The house was sold by Dorothy Cowles Pinkney, poet and widow of William Pinkney Jr., to the Sixth Taxing District of Norwalk (Rowayton) in 1971
According to the sign on the house at 196-200 Thimble Islands Road in the Stony Creek section of Branford, the building was erected in 1819 by Levi Frisbie. The house has been much added to over the years, additions including an Italianate cupola. In the 1860s it was the home and tin shop of Martin Bishop.
The building at 21-23 Colony Street in Meriden was erected in 1877 as a Y.M.C.A. The rear of the structure has a mansard roof and the front facade once had one as well, but the building was altered c. 1920 after the Y.M.C.A. moved to a new building on West Main Street. At that time the building was converted to commercial use with a new facade in the Neoclassical style.
The handsome and commodious new building is now ready for occupancy, and it has been built almost solely through the untiring energy and exertions of the president of the association, Mr. W. E. Benham. He has never faltered since he took the matter in hand, but has kept on through difficulties and discouragements which few other men would have surmounted. The association now has one of the handsomest buildings of the kind in the state. Its large and pleasant reading rooms, its gymnasium, and the pleasant parlors will furnish places of resort which cannot fail of doing much good, and Mr. Benham can certainly reflect with great satisfaction upon the good work he has accomplished.
According to The Life and Writings of W. E. Benham (1882):
Its whole internal arrangements are found to have been wisely planned for the accomplishment of its benevolent purposes. It is said to be the most elegant and best built building in Meriden, is admired by all, subscribers and citizens generally, as the right building in the right place, an attractive, convenient center, in which the public, especially young men, in large numbers, delight to resort and pleasantly improve their leisure hours in intellectual, physical, social, moral and religious culture, where, away from the evil, all the surrounding influences are good and elevating. It is estimated’that between 1,000 and 2,000 persons average daily to enter this building, for the various purposes of water, baths, hair-dressing, food, clothing, reading, singing, gymnastics, writing, arithmetic, lectures, concerts, mission schools, lyceums, religious and other meetings. In short, it is an inestimably important building for the moral welfare of Meriden, and could not be spared without an irreparable loss.
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.