Wells Hall (1832)

September 5th, 2017 Posted in Colonial Revival, East Hartford, Neoclassical, Public Buildings, Schools

Much altered over the years, the Classical Revival building at 1110-1112 Main Street in East Hartford was erected in 1832-1833. It was known as the Academy and housed the East Hartford Select School, also known as the Classical and English School. The school eventually closed and the building was acquired by Jonathan Tremaine Wells in 1858. It became part of the larger Wells estate to the east, which included the famous Wells Tavern. Upon his death in 1881, Wells willed the Academy to the town for use as a public building to be called Wells Hall. In 1885 it became East Hartford’s town hall and a new front entry tower was added to the structure. In addition to town offices, Wells Hall also housed a library and the police department, including jail cells. On the second floor was a large public hall, used as a ballroom and as a meeting place for the Grange and the Grand Army of the Republic. When the current Town Hall building was erected in 1937, ownership of Wells Hall reverted to the heirs of Jonathan Wells, as per his will. For many years the building was the Old Town Hall Inn and Restaurant. In the 1930s to 1950s, the Inn had a dinner theater that hosted famous performers. In more recent years the building has been restored and expanded and a 1924 addition on the front of the building, which for many years blocked the 1885 entrance, was removed. Wells Hall now houses the offices of the East Hartford Board of Education.

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