John Smith House (1742)

May 23rd, 2016 Posted in Colonial, Farmington, Houses | No Comments »

163 Main Street, Farmington

John Smith built the house at 163 Main Street in Farmington in 1742. He sold it to John Hart, but repurchased it from Hart in 1750-1751. It was then acquired by Dr. Elisha Lord in April 1751, who resided there until 1762. He served in the French and Indian War, as mentioned in Proceedings of the Connecticut Medical Society (1863):

Dr. Elisha Lord, son of Cyprian and Elizabeth (Backus) Lord, was born Aug. 10, 1726. He located first at Farmington, but subsequently returned to Norwich. After accompanying the troops sent against Crown Point, he was appointed, May, 1758, surgeon to the first regiment. In this capacity, and as director of hospital stores, he served till Dec. 22, 1760. He died at the age of forty-two.

Stephen Dorchester and Elizabeth Gould Dorchester lived in the house from 1762 to 1786. The house then passed through a succession of other owners. It was a property of the Wilcox family from 1845 to 1910. The Root family owned and leased the property between 1915 and 1963, at some point moving the house back from the street and converting it into a duplex.

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Faith Living Church (1874)

May 22nd, 2016 Posted in Churches, Italianate, Southington | No Comments »

Faith Living Church

Faith Living Church, located at 20 Grove Street in the Plantsville section of Southington, was built in 1873-1874 as the Plantsville Baptist Church. As related in the Memorial History of Hartford County, Vol. II (1886):

The Baptist Church of Plantsville was a colony from the Baptist Church in Southington, and was organized Aug. 13, 1872. Its present house of worship was dedicated in 1874.

As related in Heman R. Timlow’s Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):

The society was organized May 8, 1872, and steps were at once taken to build a house of worship. The land for the purpose was given by Dea. Plant. The building committee consisted of A. P. Plant, E. H. Plant, and R. W. Cowles. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate services, May 13, 1873, and the building was dedicated March 11, 1874, the sermon on the occasion having been preached by Dr. Rollin H. Neale, of Boston. The cost of the building was about $13,000.

By 1979, church membership had dwindled to 12 and the decision was made to sell the church and neighboring parsonage (built c. 1890). In 1985 the buildings were sold to Faith Living Church, which made some alterations to the facade and the entry.

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Ambrose Benton House (1798)

May 21st, 2016 Posted in Colonial, Guilford, Houses | No Comments »

94 State Street, Guilford

The house at 94 State Street in Guilford was once the single-story residence of Ambrose Benton (1769-1847). He married Mary Evarts in 1790. The original first floor dates to 1798 and the house’s second story was added in 1909.

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Old West Hartford Public Library (1917)

May 20th, 2016 Posted in Colonial Revival, Libraries, West Hartford | No Comments »

Fringe

A subscription library was organized in West Hartford in the eighteenth century by members of the Congregational Church. This became officially the West Hartford Public Library with town funding in 1897. The library remained at the church until 1917, when the first Noah Webster Memorial Library building was dedicated at 7 North Main Street. The building was also used for meetings by local clubs and organizations as well as the Town Council. This first library was soon outgrown and a new building on South Main Street was dedicated in 1938. Since then the old library has had various tenants, most recently Fringe Hair Works of West Hartford.

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West Hartford Trust Company (1926)

May 19th, 2016 Posted in Banks, Colonial Revival, West Hartford | No Comments »

West Hartford Trust Co

West Hartford’s first bank, the West Hartford Trust Company, opened in 1926 and located at 4 North Main Street at the corner of Farmington Avenue. One of the building’s architects, Milton Hayman, was known for his Colonial Revival designs. The bank merged with Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. in the 1930s and today is a branch of Bank of America. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fourth District School/Masonic Hall, North Haven (1880)

May 18th, 2016 Posted in Gothic, North Haven, Organizations, Schools | No Comments »

District School No. 4, North Haven

The building at 30 Church Street in North Haven was built in 1887-1890 as the town’s Fourth District School. The lead-up to its erection was long delayed, as described by Sheldon B. Thorpe in his North Haven Annals (1892):

This district more frequently named the “Centre District,” has probably always had a larger enumeration of children than any in the town and less room, per capita, to educate them in. In 1872 the proposition to furnish a larger school building was brought forward but voted down. The next year the Board of Education, seeing the need, declared to the district that unless better facilities were provided, its proportion of the public fund would be suspended. This alarmed the obstructionists and their opposition was temporarily withdrawn. A new school site was purchased and proposals to build were invited, but it was impossible to get any farther. For nearly six years, delays of one nature and another were put forward and the lot remained unbuilt upon. The death of Capt. H. H. Stiles, in 1879, a member of the special building committee, rendered a re-adjustment of matters necessary, and the district voted to sell the new site at public auction, November 4, 1879. Its Cost at the time of sale had reached in round numbers, $500. It brought $157.

To appease the Board of Education and compromise with the more radical ones of the district, new furniture was placed in the old building and a tax laid to cancel the debt.

The population was increasing, and in 1884 the project to build came up a second time. It was defeated. It was defeated also in 1885 and 1886. In 1887 it came up again as usual, and in this year secured a recognition. A committee was chosen to more fully inquire into the persistency of the petitioners, and the former unanimously reported insufficient accommodations, and recommended a change of base. The report was adopted, and after a thorough examination the present location was decided upon and purchased in August 1887. It was identically the same tract as bought in 1873, with the addition of a frontage on Pierpont Park, where once stood the ancient Sabbath day houses, and later several sections of horse sheds.

The building was designed by North Haven’s prominent builder Solomon F. Linsley. The two rooms on the first floor were completed and ready for use in 1888 and a third room on the upper floor was fitted up in 1890. The fourth room remained unfinished at the time Thorpe was writing. Thrope goes on to write that

The practical working of the building has been found excellent in all respects. It is equipped with a finished basement, well, slate black-boards, bell, flag, modern furniture, and a local library. The course of study ranges from the kindergarten to that preparatory to entrance to the high school. It receives many pupils from other parts of the town, and is by far a more commodious and better equipped building than the average country town offers.

Today the building is a Masonic Hall, home to Corinthian Lodge #103, which was established in 1868. Corinthian #103’s first Lodge was located in the Northford section of North Branford. After a fire in 1879 Corinthian #103 moved into Totoket Hall in North Branford and in 1917 to Linsley Hall in North Haven. After the Town Fire Marshall ordered Linsley Hall closed because of fire hazard in 1945, the Lodge acquired and renovated the old District No. 4 School, which was dedicated as the new Lodge on November 1, 1947.

Many of the building’s decorative features and many of its windows have been removed over the years.

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207 Church Street, Wethersfield (1880)

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Colonial Revival, Industrial, Italianate, Wethersfield | No Comments »

Clearing-House-Auction-Galleries

Across Church Street from the old Railroad Depot in Wethersfield (the subject of yesterday’s post) is an old factory building erected c. 1880. Early on, the factory was occupied by Hopkins & Chapin and then Bailey Manufacturing (aka Bailey & Co. book binders). The Elmer Tool Company occupied the building until c. 1914. It then remained vacant until 1919, when it was acquired by the National Machine Company (see “National Machine Co. Has Option on Wethersfield Plant,” Hartford Courant, October 18, 1919). It had remained in or had returned to an abandoned state by September 3, 1927, when the Hartford Courant ran a story: “Eight Boys Accused Of Vandalism: Charged With Having Damaged Abandoned Plant of National Machine Co. on Church Street.” It was reported that the boys tore slate off the roof, broke windows, stole a telephone and caused other damage. The following year the factory was acquired by the Gra-Rock Bottling Company. In 1980 the building became home to Clearing House Auction Galleries, a company operated by the LeClair family since 1955. Not long after the death of the company’s president, auctioneer and appraiser Thomas G. LeClair, in 2011, his sister decided to close the business. Earlier this year the Wethersfield Wetlands Commission approved a development proposal to convert the old factory for residential and commercial use and to erect a new building with 30 condominiums behind it.

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