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.
I will be giving a talk tonight at the Hartford Club. Check it out if you are a member! Here is a Hartford building for today: Designed by Hapgood & Hapgood, the house at 310 Collins Street in Hartford is transitional between the Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles. Built in 1895, it was the home of George W. Flint, a furniture dealer who partnered with John M. Bruce to form the Flint-Bruce Company on Asylum Street in Hartford. The company later had a building on Trumbull Street. Read the rest of this entry »
At the corner of Pearl Street and Ann Uccello Street in Hartford is a brick building that displays the name “——— Building.” The part that has been chiseled out once read “Telephone.” The Telephone Building was built in 1890 and is attributed, based on its style, to architect William D. Johnston. The three-story Renaissance Revival building was constructed for the Southern New England Telephone Company. The company’s growth led it to construct a new building in 1911 at 185 Pearl Street, which was later torn down. Yet another Telephone Building was erected in 1931 at 55 Trumbull Street (later enlarged, it has since been converted into apartments). The original Telephone Building, at 249 Pearl Street, is now used for offices.
At 13, 17, 21, 23, 29, 33, 37, 41, 45 Curcombe Street in Hartford is a row of cottages. These were built in 1859 as part of Samuel Colt’s factory village of Coltsville. To protect his famous armory in Hartford from flooding, Samuel Colt constructed a dike along the Connecticut River. Willow trees flourished there and this inspired Colt to import workers from Potsdam, Germany, to produce furniture from the trees’ wood. Colt constructed ten “Swiss Cottages” (a style today referred to as “Carpenter Gothic”) to house his imported workers, nine of which survive today. These were built as two-family houses. Most have been greatly altered, but several still display original architectural features, including brick first floors with decorative half-timbering, board-and-batten siding on the second floor and prominent overhanging eaves. Similar in style to the cottages was the willowware factory itself that stood behind them on Warwarme Avenue. Built in 1859, the factory was destroyed by fire in 1873. Today the cottages are across from the park space used as Hartford’s old time baseball grounds. The cottage depicted above is No. 41 Curcombe Street, one of the better preserved examples. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in 2012, workers restoring the house at 1 Imlay Street in Hartford discovered Victorian-era architectural details that had long been hidden under vinyl siding. Thought to have possibly been built in the twentieth century and purposefully excluded from the Imlay and Laurel Streets Historic District, the house was revealed to have been erected in 1875 by Porter Whiton, a builder who also remodeled the Old State House to serve as Hartford’s City Hall. The home’s first resident was Mrs. Eliza Brazell, a widow who was born in Ireland in 1850. Restored by the Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, the house has been returned to its original appearance and use as a single-family home.
Tomorrow is the 34th Annual Mark Twain Holiday House Tour, which features several houses in Hartford/West Hartford and the Hartford Club. One of the houses on the tour is located at 734 Prospect Avenue. A Queen Anne house, it was built in 1910 for Dr. J.W. Felty, a prominent surgeon. The Kansas City Journal of June 30, 1897 noted:
Dr. Felty Leaves Kansas.
Abilene, Kas., June 29. (Special ) Dr. J.W. Felty. vice president of the State Medical Society and of the Association of Santa Fe Surgeons, left today for Hartford, Conn., where he will locate. He has practiced in Abilene for thirteen years and is one of the best known physicians in the state
Mention of Dr. Felty’s work can be found in an article written by his colleague, Dr. Thomas N. Hepburn, a urologist who was the father of Katharine Hepburn, “Clinical Tests of Kidney Function” in the Yale Medical Journal of March 1912 (Vol. 18, No. 7):
Unilateral Kidney Disease. Under the heading of unilateral kidney diseases come the tubercular kidneys, the renal calculi, hydronephrosis, pyonephrosis, and pyelitis. In tests of this class of cases, ureteral catheterization, in order to compare the work of the two kidneys, is essential. It is necessary not only to make a diagnosis of the condition of the diseased kidney, but, more important still—and here is where any test that lends itself to quantitative estimation reigns supreme—it is necessary to know whether the other kidney is capable of functioning for both. A case of multiple calculi, sent me by Dr. Felty of Hartford, illustrates the point here made. From the appearance of the X-ray plate, made by Dr. Heublein, Dr. Felty was sure the kidney should be removed if possible. He wished to know how well the other kidney was functioning. With double ureteral catheterization, I found that the man excreted no phthalein from the diseased kidney, and the other kidney showed an output of 40 per cent. in one hour. Dr. Felty removed the diseased kidney, and the man made an uneventful recovery.
Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Felty with their son, Dr. A. R. Felty, of Hartford, Conn., spent three weeks here during August renovating their new home on Interlachen Avenue, purchased from Mrs, Rogers. The interior has been newly papered and other improvements added to the House and grounds. Plans are in the hands of an architect for a veranda and pergolas, which will be built when Dr. and Mrs. Felty come down in February. Dr. Felty is a distinguished surgeon of his home city and his son, who is a graduate of Yale and Johns Hopkins, is one of the house physicians in Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Felty’s daughter married a brother of Mr. Woolley, son-in-law to Mr. E. W. Brewer of this place. Dr. and Mrs. Felty greatly enjoyed their visit here and declared themselves delighted with their new property, which is in the choicest residential district of town.