The house at 380-382 Main Street in Cromwell was originally a center-chimney residence. Built between 1744 and 1758, probably by Israel Wilcox, it was sold by Charles Wilcox to Capt. Daniel Ranney in 1757. Capt. Ranney, who had become wealthy in the West Indies trade, died the following year and the house eventually was passed on to his grandson, Capt. James Butler and then was owned (1831) by Stillman K. Wightman, a lawyer who had married Butler’s daughter Clarissa. After his son Edward K. Wightman was killed in 1865 in the Civil War, Stillman K. Wightman made a long journey through a war-torn countryside to recover his son’s body in North Carolina. Greek Revival additions were made to the house around 1830. The property remained in the family until 1912. Colonial Revival alterations were made around 1920. The house, also called the William Ranney House, is haunted and was featured in an episode of the TV series “A Haunting.”
The building at 42 Main Street in North Stonington was built just before 1809 by Daniel Packer and Jedidiah Randall. It served as a store and for a time as a jail. It was moved from another spot on the same lot in the late nineteenth century. The building was the T.S. & H.D. Wheeler Store (a general store) before it was converted into North Stonington‘s Town Hall in 1904. A neighboring garage was converted into a new Town Hall in 1978. Today the old Town Hall is used for the offices of the selectmen, resident state trooper, and other town officials.
The house at 36 North Street in Watertown was built in 1836 as the Parsonage (minister’s house) for the First Congregational Church of Watertown. It served as a Parsonage from 1836 to 1953. In the latter year, Agnes DeForest Curtiss Buckingham, widow of Charles Benedict Buckingham, decided that the Trumbull House, where she lived next to the Congregational Church, was too large for her as an elderly woman living alone. “Granny B”, as her family called her, arranged with the church to swap properties, exchanging the Trumbull House for the Parsonage, where she then lived until her death in 1979. Before moving in, she added the pillared stone porch to the the side of the house.
The oldest surviving building in West Haven is the Ward-Heitmann House at 277 Elm Street. It may have been built as early as 1684 and was certainly on the site by 1725. The house was built by Ebenezer Clark, who sold it in 1730 to John Humphreville, who had married Clark’s sister Rebecca. The house remained in the Clark family until 1788, when it was purchased by sea captain Thomas Ward (d. 1839). It remained in the Ward family until George Ward sold it to Susan Perrin in 1861. She eventually sold it to Louisa Ward Heitmann, George Ward’s sister, in 1868. Her daughter, Henrietta Heitmann, inherited the house in 1897. She was engaged in various business ventures and also added the north wing to the house and used it as a dame school. The house passed out of the Ward-Heitmann family when Charles Elliott Pickett purchased it in 1910. In the twentieth century the house had a number of owners and for a time housed an antiques store and later a tearoom. The Milano family owned the house from 1949 to the early 1990s and left it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which sold it to the Ward-Heitmann House Museum Foundation in 1995. The house was then restored to become a museum.
The borough of Pine Orchard in Branford is a small community of 300 households that started as a summer colony in the late nineteenth century. Landowners Frank and Henry Wallace provided land on Chapel Drive for the construction of a non-denominational chapel to be used for summer services. Between 1872 and 1892, the Wallace brothers and their father, Robert Wallace of Meriden and later Wallingford, had developed what is now Island View Avenue in Pine Orchard as a waterfront residential enclave. Plans for the Pine Orchard Union Chapel were approved on July 4, 1896 and the building, designed by the New Haven architectural firm of Brown and Berger, was completed a year later. The Chapel had no resident minister, so ministers came from neighboring communities to lead services. The Chapel was originally painted in a darker color, but in the early twentieth century it was painted white. The chapel was closed for regular services in 1963. Community residents worked to preserve the building, which is now regularly rented out for weddings. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 681 Middle Turnpike in the Mansfield Four Corners section of Mansfield, not far from Storrs, was built sometime before 1820. It had a number of owners until 1843, when it was purchased by Rev. Aaron R. Livermore (1810-1892), who was the minister of Mansfield’s North Society Church, now Storrs Congregational Church, from 1843 to 1858. The house was next owned by the Fish family.
The sign on the house at 114 Perry Avenue, in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, identifies it as the Ralph Keeler House, built c. 1750. The Keelers were one of the founding families of Norwalk. Also known as the Isaac Camp property, the house has elsewhere been dated to c. 1778. Verneur E. Pratt (1891-1966) moved to Norwalk in the late 1920s and lived in the house. An inventor and entrepreneur, Verneur Pratt converted the adjacent carriage barn (116 Perry Avenue, built c. 1800) into a laboratory in the late 1930s. Pratt invented the Optigraph Reading Machine, an early microfilm reader.