William E. Weld was a carpenter and builder and ran a lumber business in Guilford for almost fifty years in the nineteenth century. He built many houses in town, including the Albert B Wildman House (1852), the Frederick A. Weld House (built for his brother in 1852) the Benjamin Bradley House (1860) and the Julia Labadie House (1872). Weld built his own house in 1850 at 45 Boston Street.
The building at 10 Kirby Road, on the Green in Washington, was built in 1773 as the store of Joel and Leman Stone, who lived in the “Red House” just to the east. Joel was a loyalist and Leman was a Patriot. After 1811 the store was converted into a one-and-a-half story house for Bennett G. Fenn (1800-1834) and his wife Phebe Susannah Gunn, who was the sister of Frederick W. Gunn, founder of The Gunnery school. Henry James Church acquired the house in 1861. He expanded it to two-and-a-half stories and built an ell on the south side. The house remained in the Church family until 1961. A recent realty listing describes the house as the “Edward Church House.” perhaps a reference to Henry James Church’s son Edward W. Church (1863-1941).
At the intersection of Potash Hill Road and Westminster Road in Sprague is a house built in the eighteenth century (c. 1790) by Joshua Perkins (1740-1832). It is known as Ashlawn for the ash trees that once stood in front of the house. The rear ell was built c. 1740 (second quarter of the eighteenth century), probably by Joshua Perkins’s father, Captain Matthew Perkins (1713-1773). Both men were prominent farmers and members of the Hanover Society (Congregational Church). Ashlawn‘s nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places gives its address as 1 Potash Hill Road, but the house‘s address is now 179 Potash Hill Road.
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.
The house at 82 Green Hill Road, on the north side of the Washington Town Green, was erected in 1790 by Samuel Leavitt, who is said to have made enough money in one year dealing in cattle and hogs to build it [this may be the Samuel Leavitt whose son, John Wheeler Leavitt, became a prominent New York City businessman and grandfather of artist Cecilia Beaux]. The house passed to his son William and then to Simeon Mitchell, who changed the original roof to a mansard in 1867. It was changed to the current gambrel roof by Edwin Fickes, who purchased the house in 1940. Fickes’ daughter Harriet Webb Fickes married Donald W. Chadwick and they are the owners listed for the house in the 1975 Report of the Historic District Study Commission.
When I took a picture of the old Congregational Church, at in Willington on Wednesday, it was having some wok done (no doubt in response to this proposal)! The Congregational Church in Willington was established around 1728.
As described in the Tolland County Press (published in Stafford Springs) of October 12, 1876, p. 3:
THE NEW CHURCH. —One cold dreary evening during the past winter, the members of the Congregational society met together in the study of the old church to talk over the subject of building a new house of worship. A few were opposed to the project, but most of the members were heartily in favor of the proposed enterprise. Thus the long-needed work of building a new church was in embryo, which is now completed, and on Tuesday last was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. Before giving an account of the dedication we will devote a brief space to a description of the edifice. At a subsequent meeting held in the early spring, it was voted to build, and nearly $1,000 was pledged by the people toward the enterprise. April 12th ground was broken for the building, on land generously donated by Mr. Geo. E. Robbins, and April 29th the corner stone was laid with religious ceremonies.
On Saturday, June 17th, the body of the main building was raised, and soon after the conference room. From the very beginning the work has progressed finely, everything seeming to work in the favor of the church and society. The main building is 36×46, and the conference room is 22×26, both built in Gothic style. A handsome tower rises from the center of the front end of the church, to the height of 61 feet. Near the top of the tower are four dormer windows, from which one has a fine commanding view of a wide expanse of country. Above the mam entrance is a triple window, which, surrounded by a neat display of architectural work, adds much to the beauty of the tower, which is surmounted by a neat vane. The main entrance is from the south, leading through a vestibule 12 feet square, into the audience room. This is neatly finished with open timbered roof, beautifully jetted with fancy brackets and scroll work. Tbe windows, which are of flicked glass, are finished with architraves. The ceiling is tinted with blue, while the walls are of light drab. The pulpit elevation is at tbe opposite end, with the orchestra on tbe left, both highly finished in oak and black walnut. The elegant railing around the latter, together with the breast-work in front of the slips, add much to the architectural beauty of the room. There are 46 slips, with a seating capacity of 230. The church is furnished with a fine pulpit set, including a communion table, bible stand, etc., from Baldwin Bros, of Springfield. In the orchestra is a superb organ of the Esty manufacture, the gift of E. T. Fitch, of New Haven. On its south wall is a handsome clock, donated by H. L. Wade, secretary of the Waterbury Clock Manufacturing Co., while the highly ornamented chandeliers, containing six lamps, also six side lamps, was the gift of L. G. Merrick, Esq. of Bristol, Conn. On Tuesday, Oct. 10th, the new edifice was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The weather was everything desirable, in perfect harmony with the interesting occasion. The church was filled to its utmost.
The Congregational Church merged with the Willington Baptist Church in 1911 to form The Federated Church of Willington. The congregation then moved to the Baptist meeting house across the Green. From 1926 to 1974 the old Congregational Church was used as the Town Hall, so the former church is also known as the Willington Old Town Hall. The church’s bell, purchsed from the First Church in Stafford in 1876, was removed during World War II to allow airplane spotters to used the tower. Instead of being placed back in the tower, it was mounted on a pedestal outside the building.
The Federal-style house at 19 Washington Road in Woodbury was built in 1830 by Joseph F. Walker. As related in The Town and People, a Chronological Compilation of Contributed Writings from Present and Past Residents of the Town of Woodbury, Connecticut (1901), edited by Julia Minor Strong:
The honor of longest service as “Chorister” [at the North Congregational Church in Woodbury] probably belongs to Joseph F. Walker (more familiarly known and generally spoken of as “Uncle Fred”). His voice was a peculiarly rich and melodious tenor, always pleasingly prominent in fullest chorus. The very tuning fork that he used for so many years is now sacredly kept by his son, F. A. Walker, of Waterbury, Conn. It always has a place in his vest pocket.
The house later belonged to the Dawson family, who opened a store in 1884 at the corner of Washington Road and Main Street.