Although surrounded by modern development, the old farmhouse at 750 Main Street South in Southbury has survived and is now home to the Carpino Funeral Home. The house was built in 1799 by Amos Johnson (1753-1824), but the kitchen ell on the south side is likely several decades older. Amos Johnson was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and later a town selectman.
At 1332 Storrs Road, on the campus of the University of Connecticut, is a colonial house that has served as student housing and is now UCONN’s Veterans House. The house was built c. 1757 and was the home of Cordial Storrs. This is most likely the Cordial Storrs (1692-1782) described in The Storrs Family (1886), by Charles Storrs:
Cordial Storrs of Mansfield, Conn., third son and ninth child of Samuel Storrs of Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire, England, Barnstable, Mass., and Mansfield, Conn., was born in Barnstable, Mass., Oct. 14, 1692, and came with his father to Mansfield, Conn., in or about 1698. He married Hannah, daughter of Thomas Wood of Rowley, Mass. [They had four children]
Mrs. Hannah Wood Storrs died March 18, 1764. There is a tradition that she joined the Separatists and was disciplined by the church, but there is nothing in regard to this on the church records. The Separatist movement followed the great revivals which prevailed in Windham County in 1740-41. Itinerant preachers went about producing violent excitement among the people, decrying the old religious worship, and organizing new churches.
Cordial Storrs married, Oct. 10, 1765, Mrs. Catharine Bicknell, widow of (Capt.) Zachr. Bicknell of Ashford, Conn. He was sixty-seven [actually closer to 73] years of age at the time of this second marriage, and he seems to have contracted it with great care as to financial matters.
The farm and home of Cordial Storrs were in the North Parish. At the first church meeting of the Congregational church in that Parish, he was chosen deacon “by a very unanimous vote;” an office which he held until his death at the advanced age of ninety years, Oct. 1782.
His son Cordial [born 1728] died, unmarried, in 1755, at the age of twenty-seven, and with him the male line of this branch of the family became extinct. [Their son Jabez died in 1826]
Local tradition holds that the house at 657 South Britain Road in Southbury was built c. 1770, but it is more likely that it was built c. 1835 by Benjamin P. Downs on the site of his family’s old homestead. In 1854 he sold the house to Sally Curtiss, widow of George Curtiss, so it is also known as Mrs. S. Curtiss House. It was extensively restored by Henry Bassett, who acquired the house in 1946.
The three-story commercial building at 52-56 State Street in New London is known as the Marsh Building. Built in 1916, it was designed by Dudley St. Clair Donnelly, who was also the architect of a number of other buildings in New London, including the the Manwaring Building (1913) and the Dewart Building (1914), both on State Street. The building was erected by Daniel S. Marsh, who sold pianos. In 1908 he had constructed a building at 230-232 State Street for his piano store, having previously had a store in Lyric Hall on State Street. The Day newspaper reported on April 20, 1916 (“State Street Will Have Handsome Brick Building“):
Daniel S. Marsh, the State street piano merchant, is soon to erect a new three story building at 52 State street after tearing down the building now occupied on the ground floor by the Royal Lunch and the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
The new building is to be brick, fireproofed throughout, designed by Architect Dudley St. C. Donnelly. H. R. Douglas, Inc. has the contract for the work. The structure will have three stores on the ground floor in the space now occupied by two. On the second floor there will be six offices and six on the third floor. The work will start during the month of May, the present tenants having received notice to vacate within two weeks.
[. . .] The new building will add materially to the looks of State street in that section. The present building is an old fashioned structure and the new one, which is to be up to date in every particular, will be in direct contrast to it.
The old building was taken down, but disaster struck on June 20, 1916, when the neighboring building at 62 State Street, owned by Mrs. Mary L. Cady and containing the dry goods store of Huber & Chittenden, collapsed. As The Day reported the following day (“Three Story State Street Building Crumples Into a Heap of Bricks and Twisted Timbers“) that the building “collapsed like a house of cards at 5:59 Tuesday afternoon and fell with the dull roar of a muffled explosion into the excavation in the D. S. Marsh property adjoining. Clouds of dust like the smoke of battle rose from the ruins. Five persons are known to have been injured by the falling debris.” The employees “escaped entombment beneath the mass of timber by the barest interval. Bystanders were miraculously spared from the showers of broken lumber that strewed the street. The structure was completely demolished as though it had been dynamited.”
A number of law suits soon followed the collapse of the Cady Building, including several by the injured against Marsh, Douglas, Cady, Huber and Chittenden. The first suit to be filed however was brought by Huber & Chittenden against Marsh and Douglas. As related on by The Day on August 22, 1916 (“Cady Building Collapse To Cause Many Suits“):
The plaintiffs allege that the walls of the Cady building and the adjoining building which was torn down by Marsh were contiguous and adjacent, being practically one wall and that the building was torn down without providing protection by way of bracing up and shoring up the walls. The wall of the Cady building was permitted to remain standing without any support, although the defendants knew its weakened and dangerous condition.
[. . .] The plaintiffs allege that the defendants were notified of the weakened and dangerous condition of the wall but that they took no precautions. They claim negligence and carelessness on the part of the defendants, alleging that the collapse could have been avoided by reasonable and proper care.
In the case of Huber v. Douglas, Inc, the plaintiffs also argued that the defendants, as related in Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Errors of the State of Connecticut, Volume 94 (1921):
not only allowed the Cady wall to remain in this unprotected condition, but “wrongfully, carelessly and negligently made excavations” on Marsh’s property within five feet of the foundation of this Cady wall. The soil at that point was sandy “and of such a treacherous and unsafe character that excavations made in said soil within five or six feet of the place where said soil was sustaining the great weight and pressure of supporting said easterly wall of said Cady building, would easily cause . . . said soil to shift, slip and move into said excavations, thereby removing the support afforded by said soil to the foundation of said easterly wall of said Cady building.”
[. . .] On June 14th, 1916, the plaintiff Huber, acting also for the owner of the Cady building, had an interview with Douglas concerning the protection of the Cady building, and Douglas, as manager, agreed that the company would look out for and protect the building.
The jury accepted Marsh’s defense that he was not responsible because he employed an independent contractor, but held Douglas liable:
The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant Marsh, and for the plaintiffs to recover damages, assessed at $23,500, of the defendant H. R. Douglas, Incorporated. The court accepted both verdicts and rendered judgment upon them.
Douglas lost an appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1919.
Albert Gurdon Gulley Hall at the University of Connecticut was built in 1908 as the Horticulture Building (aka Horticultural Hall) at a time when the school was called the Connecticut Agricultural College. It was the second masonry building to be erected on the campus. The first floor once contained a classroom, a laboratory and offices. The second floor had a lab and a large room for the Museum of Natural History. The basement contained spray apparatus for plant cultivation. Next to the building there was also once a greenhouse. The Horticultre Building was later named for Albert Gurdon Gulley (1848-1917), who was a professor of horticulture at the college from 1894 until his death. Since the 1960s, the building has housed University administrative offices, including those of the President and the Provost.
The former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Middlefield (was built in 1862 with support from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. There were never many Episcopalians in Middlefield and the church had closed by 1911. The neighboring Levi E. Coe Library acquired the Carpenter Gothic structure in 1920 and renamed it Library Hall. A modern addition now connects the two structures.
At 668-670 Harbor Road in Southport is a 1787 building that was significantly altered in later years. It may give the impression of being a nineteenth-century mansard-roofed commercial block, but the upper floors began as the homestead of Miah Perry. It was possibly altered and expanded in 1834. By that time the building displayed the influence of the Dutch Colonial style with two low-pitched gambrel roofs intersecting at the street corner. In the 1870s, the house was raised by Nehemiah Jennings to sit above a commercial section. In one part of the new ground floor Jennings ran a market and post office, while the other part contained the John Wood dry goods store. Miss Mary Allis (1899-1987) purchased the building in 1947 and refurbished it the following year. She had started renting space for her antiques store on the southeast corner in 1945. Mary Allis was a major figure in the world of folk-art collecting.
This the 3,000th post at Historic Buildings of Connecticut! That’s 3,000 great buildings throughout the state!