Built in 1737 by Nathaniel Lathrop, its prosperity was maintained by his son, Azariah. From here was started the first stage coach to Providence in 1768. In 1829 the property was sold to the Union Hotel Company, who erected the present building, which was later used for a boarding school.
According to Mary Elizabeth Perkins in her book Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895):
Azariah died in 1810, aged 82, leaving the house to his widow, and son, Augustus [. . .]. Augustus Lathrop died in 1819, and in 1821, the administrator of the estate sells the tavern to Bela Peck. It was shortly after partly destroyed by fire. In 1829, the land was sold to the Union Hotel Company, who erected the large brick house now standing, which was used for some years as a hotel, but when the courts were moved to the Landing, lost its popularity, was later occupied as a boarding school, and was finally sold to John Sterry, who now occupies it as a summer residence.
In the early twentieth century, the building became The Johnson Home, a home for aged and needy Protestant woman (now accepting all denominations) incorporated in 1907 by the Connecticut branch of the King’s Daughters, a Christian philanthropic organization. A description of “The Johnson Home for Old Ladies” is given in the Report of the State Board of Charities to the Governor for the Twenty-one Months Ended June 30, 1920 (1921):
The Johnson Home is one of the more recently established places of this character and is situated near the Green in the Norwich Town district, about two miles north from the center of the city. Electric cars pass near the house.
The building occupied is a large brick structure, three stories high, which, some years ago, was an old-time inn. There are accommodations for eleven residents, and all of the rooms give an impression of home-like comfort. The management of the Home is liberal and few restrictions are imposed in the life of the occupants. An entrance fee of $500 is required for each person accepted as a resident in the Home.
Colonel Joshua Huntington (1751-1821), a merchant and ship owner, occupied the house at 11 Huntington Lane in Norwich, built for him by his father, Jabez Huntington, in 1771. During the Revolution Joshua Huntington served as a Lieutenant in the militia at Bunker Hill. He also outfitted privateers to attack British ships. He was an agent for Wadsworth & Carter of Hartford, engaged in supplying the French army at Newport with provisions, and he had charge of the prizes sent by the French navy to Connecticut. He is described by Lydia Huntley Sigourney in Letters of Life (1866):
Colonel Joshua Huntington had one of the most benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. His calm, beautiful brow was an index of his temper and life. Let who would be disturbed or irritated, he was not the man. He regarded with such kindness as the Gospel teaches the whole human family. At his own fair fireside, surrounded by loving, congenial spirits, and in all social intercourse, he was the same serene and revered Christian philosopher.
As described yesterday, Ponemah Mills in the village of Taftville in Norwich began with Mill #1, constructed in 1866-1871, which was the largest textile mill in the world under one roof. In 1884 the company moved its weaving operation to a new building, called Mill #2. Smaller than the first building, it did resemble its neighbor by having two main stair towers. These towers have unusual double hipped roofs that meet at right angles with one side being higher than the other. Behind the building there was once a trestle used for the mill’s electric railway. In 1902, weaving was again moved to a new building.
Ponemah Mills in Norwich once boasted the largest textile mill in the world under one roof. The mill buildings were constructed near a dam along the west bank of the Shetucket River. The investors who founded the company were led by Edward and Cyrus Taft of Providence, Rhode Island and the manufacturing village of Taftville was built next to the mill to house and serve the mill workers. The earliest workers were Irish immigrants. After a strike in 1875, the Irish were replaced with French-Canadian workers. The first Ponemah Mill building was constructed between 1866 and 1871. A massive mansard-roofed structure, it features two tall stair towers with roofs that have classical detailing, dormers, cupolas and turrets. In the twentieth century the mill converted to the production of synthetic fabrics. It finally closed in 1972. Later occupied by various small manufacturers, it then became the home of the Helikon Furniture Co., makers of high-end office furniture. More recently, Helikon moved out of the building and the mill is being restored to contain apartments under the name the Lofts at Ponemah Mills.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Norwich began in 1820 as the “Society of United Christian Friends in the Towns of Norwich, Preston and Groton.” The Society erected a church in 1821, but did not have a settled pastor, the pulpit being occupied by temporary ministers. A church was finally organized in 1836, when the “First Universalist Society in Norwich” was established. A new brick church replaced the old one in 1841 on the same site on Main Street, facing Franklin Square. It was enlarged and rededicated in 1848. The church was demolished for the construction of the Chelsea Savings Bank. A new church, later called the Unitarian Universalist Church of Norwich, was erected in 1910 at 148 Broadway. Constructed of random granite ashlar, the church is also known as the Church of the Good Shepherd for the subject of its large stained glass window. The church’s bell, earlier located in the congregation’s Franklin Square church, was one of several bells salvaged from sacked churches after an uprising in Spain in 1833 that were shipped to New York for sale. With a dwindling congregation, the Unitarian-Universalists sold the church in 2009. It then became the Fount of Salvation Missionary Church.