Today is The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 35th Annual Holiday House Tour! One of the houses on the tour is 223 Terry Road in Hartford. It was built in 1922 to plans by architect Russell F. Barker (1873-1961). Home to several prominent Hartford families, including the Einsteins and Bonees, the house has been restored by its current owners who bought it in 2011.
Tomorrow is the The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 35th Annual Holiday House Tour. One of the houses on the tour is the Georgian revival home at 176 North Beacon Street in Hartford. Built in 1907, it was designed by architect A. Raymond Ellis (1881-1950). According to the brochure for the Holiday House Tour, the house’s original owner was Freeman Harris, Jr, a noted state representative who lived there until 1944.
One of the most prolific builders in the West End of Hartford at the turn of the century was William H. Scoville (1869-1932) (his brother A. W. Scoville was also a builder). W. H. Scoville had a distinctive way of taking the basic American Foursquare form and applying elements of the Queen Anne/Shingle/Craftsman/Colonial Revival styles in an individualistic way. His many houses show great deal variety in the way he combined and exaggerated different architectural features in each one. The house at 55 Lorraine Street, built in 1900, is a particularly intriguing example of his work that seems to be almost Asian-inspired.
As described in the 1917 edition of the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography:
William Harris Scoville, architect and builder, was born in Elmwood, a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut, June 10, 1862. Shortly afterwards his parents moved to Hartford, where he received his education in the Wadsworth street school. He learned the carpenter’s trade with his father and became a skilled worker. At the age of nineteen, being ambitious, he began contracting and progressed rapidly as an architect and builder, employing the services of draftsmen. Now for over a quarter of a century Mr. Scoville has made a special study of the development of real estate and general building, one of his special ideas being to sell houses on the rent payment basis. He has for many years been active in public affairs, both political and educational.
The mansion at 1335 Asylum Avenue in Hartford was built in 1913. It was designed in the Jacobethan style by architect Ehrick K. Rossiter, famed for his country houses in the town of Washington in western Connecticut. The house is known as the Johnson-Stedman House because it was built for Mabel Johnson, who shared the residence with her sister Eleanor and aunt Elizabeth Stedman. Mabel Johnson later moved to a smaller house and donated her mansion to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, which used it as its offices from 1951 until it moved to Meriden in 2014. The house was purchased by two brothers who moved in with their families in 2014.
Typical of the many middle class residences built in the West End of Hartford in the first decade of the twentieth century is the two-family house at 192-194 Oxford Street. It is one of a number of similar houses on the street erected by Malcolm A. Norton. The house was initially built in 1906 but was devastated in a fire on February 9, 1908. An article in the following day’s Hartford Courant (“Two Families Burned Out. Sunday Fire Wrecks New House on Oxford Street. Occupants Driven from Their Beds. Delayed Fire Alarm Largely to Blame for the Loss.”) gives an detailed description of the disaster. At the time of the fire, Bernard A. Block, his wife and two children lived on the first floor and three members of the Beardsley family lived on the second floor. The house was rebuilt: the nomination for the Oxford-Whitney Streets Historic District gives the house a date of 1908. The house has an unattached garage built c. 1920. A current resident of the house is a white bunny named Ruby.
The Goodwin Mansion at 1280 Asylum Avenue in Hartford was a large residence built in 1903 for Walter L. Goodwin, a member of Hartford’s influential Goodwin family. Walter Goodwin was the nephew of Rev. Francis Goodwin and the architect of the house, Benjamin Wistar Morris, was Rev. Goodwin’s son-in-law. In the 1950s the estate was sold to the state for use by the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Connecticut. When UCONN moved its Hartford branch to a new site in West Hartford the mansion was sold to the city of Hartford for redevelopment. Sadly the real estate market fell apart after the acquisition and the mansion was left vacant and in a state of disrepair. The building burned in a fire in January of 1997, but the structure was considered stable and it was not demolished. Instead the 22-room mansion was restored by the Ginsburg Development Company of Hawthorne, New York, with seven condominium units. The house is the centerpiece of The Goodwin Estate, for which has 56 new town houses were also built.
Walter L. Goodwin is described in the Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, vol. VII (1909-1910):
Hon. Walter Lippincott Goodwin, of Hartford, Republican Senator from the Second District, was born in New York City, September 3. 1875. He is the son of James J. and Josephine S. (Lippincott) Goodwin. He attended the Cutler School in New York. St. Mark’s School at Southboro, Mass, and then entered Yale, graduating in the class of 1897. On October 19, 1899, Senator Goodwin married Elizabeth M. Sage, daughter of Dean Sage of Albany, N. Y., and they have three children, Walter L., Jr., Henry Sage and Grenville. After graduating from college, he was with the banking house of J, P. Morgan & Co., in New York. three years. In 1902, he came to Hartford, where he has since been associated with the firm of J. J. & F. Goodwin. Senator Goodwin is serving his third term as Councilman of the city of Hartford. He was an aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Henry Roberts in 1905 and 1906, receiving the title of Major. He is a director of the State Bank of Hartford, a trustee of the Society for Savings, president and secretary of the Connecticut Fair Association, and also a member of the Taconic Polo Club, Hartford Club, Hartford Yacht Club, University Club and Hartford Golf Club, of which he has been treasurer a number of years.
This week we’ll focus on some buildings in the West End of Hartford. The Seaverns House, designed by the firm of Goodwin, Bullard & Woolsey, was built in 1917 on a rise at 1265 Asylum Avenue. It was the home of Charles F.T. Seaverns, who taught Greek and Latin at Hartford High School, and his wife Mary Hillyer Seaverns, a granddaughter of Rev. Horace Bushnell. Her mother, Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, founded the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. In 1927 the couple founded the Children’s Museum of Hartford. The property’s original landscape plan was designed by Olmsted Associates. In 1958 the former Seaverns estate became the campus of the Hartford College for Women, which is now part of the University of Hartford. The house is now Butterworth Hall, home of the University’s Entrepreneurial Center. Read the rest of this entry »