The City Mission Building (also known as the City Missionary Society Building) is located at 234 Pearl Street in Hartford. The Hartford City Mission (also called the City Missionary Society) was founded in 1851 by the city’s six Congregational Churches to provide for the welfare of Hartford’s poor through Sunday schools, cooking and sewing classes and charity work. Designed by architect William D. Johnson, the building on Pearl Street was constructed in 1890-1891. It is a three-story structure with a tower on the side adjacent to the Goodwin Building. An illustration of a different design for the building appeared in August of 1890 in the Hartford Times and the Hartford Weekly Times. A clipping of this article was placed in the scrapbook kept by the architectural firm of Cook, Hapgood & Co. I am not sure why this design was not used.
An article in the Hartford Courant on August 14, 1890 (“Some New Buildings; Pearl Street Will Become a Busy Thoroughfare”) described “the new and handsome building of the City Mission, which when completed will be not only one of the prettiest but one of the most substantial buildings on the street.” The article mentions that “The second floor will contain a hall capable of seating two hundred and fifty people and a large room for the meetings of the City Mission board, and the ladies of the City Mission Association.” City Mission Hall was a meeting place for various events, including the golden wedding celebration of lawyer John Hooker and his wife, Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women’s suffragist and sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The City Missionary Society sold the building in 1910, relocating to another building they had erected six years earlier on Village Street. The old organization no longer exists, but a new Hartford City Mission began serving youth in Hartford’s North End in 1998. The building on Pearl Street was later used by the Italian-American Home and then served as the offices of a family of attorneys. The building has recently been on the market.
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.