Allis House (1850)

February 17th, 2017 Posted in Houses, Italianate, Norwich

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.

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