The borough of Thompsonville in Enfield grew up around the carpet mill established by Orrin Thompson in 1829. His son Henry Graham Thompson later opened a stockingnet factory and lived in a Greek Revival house (now much altered) at 22 Prospect Street in Thompsonville. Around 1850, he built a new house at 34 Prospect Street. A Gothic cottage, it was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in 1848. In 2002, residents responded to alterations that removed the house’s decorative features and installed vinyl siding. The siding was soon removed and the building restored with its “gingerbread trim” intact. Henry G. Thompson later built a large estate off Long Island Sound in Milford that he called Morningside.
This is Bridgeport Week!
The old City Hall of Bridgeport was constructed of Portland brownstone in 1853-54 between State and Bank Streets at a cost of $75,000. The Greek Revival building, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis to resemble a Greek temple, served as both City Hall and as the Fairfield County Courthouse. The original county seat and courthouse had been located in Fairfield, but when a larger building was required, it was decided to move the county seat to Bridgeport, which was experiencing considerable growth at the time. An alternative location for the courthouse was Norwalk, but Bridgeport offered to pay for the courthouse and a jail. The completed building had a large ground floor used as City Hall and two upper floors for court and county business. There was also an auditorium, called Washington Hall, used for public meetings. It was here, on March 10, 1860, that Abraham Lincoln gave a speech to a standing-room-only crowd.
The building served as courthouse until a new and larger one was constructed in 1887-1888 near the corner of Golden Hill and Main Streets. The old building, which continued to be used as City Hall until the 1960s and still contains city offices, was significantly remodeled in 1905. Bridgeport architect Joseph Northrop altered the building, toning down some of Davis’ romantic touches to make the structure conform more to the Neo-Classical style. The building’s dome had already been removed in the later nineteenth century and Northrop additionally altered the entablature and cornice. The first floor and entrance were also lowered to street level. In 1966, the former City Hall was renamed McLevy Hall after Bridgeport mayor, Jasper McLevy. The city is now consolidating its offices and plans to sell McLevy Hall to a developer.
Alfred Hall, a lawyer in Portland, was an executive at the Portland brownstone quarries and a grandson of their founder, Joel Hall. His house, on Main Street in Portland, has brownstone walls and was designed in the Greek Revival style by the influential architect A.J. Davis. Today, the house has been converted to serve as a bank.
In 1838, Elizabeth Apthorp moved from her first home on New Haven’s Hillhouse Avenue, which she had been sharing with her half-sister, Abigail Whelpley, to another one nearby, again arranged by James Hillhouse and newly completed the year before. The Apthorp House was designed by A.J. Davis. He described the house as an Etruscan Villa, although its overall shape conformed to the Greek Revival style and the original focus of the facade was an Egyptian Revival porch. The building has been constantly added to over the years with new and reused elements in a variety of styles. In the early twentieth century, the house was occupied by the family of former Yale president Timothy Dwight. It is now owned by Yale and is one of the buildings housing the Yale School of Management. It was renovated in 2001.
The Commodore Charles Green House, designed by the important architect A.J. Davis is an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style. Built in 1851 on Main Street in South Windsor, the home of Commodore Green, a naval officer who captured a Confederate blockade runner during the Civil War, is currently for sale.
Located on Elm Street, across from New Haven Green, the Ralph Ingersoll House was built in 1829 and was designed by Town and Davis. This early Greek Revival home was built by Nahum Hayward and a letter survives from Ingersoll to the architects explaining that the specifications, required by Hayward, had not arrived with the plans for the house. The brick walls would have originally been stuccoed or painted. The house was bought by Yale in 1919 and restored by Delano and Aldrich; some of the original furniture is preserved in the Ingersoll Room of the New Haven Museum and Historical Society. Ralph I. Ingersoll was a lawyer and politician, serving as mayor of New Haven and U.S. Representative. In 1831, he opposed the creation of a college in New Haven for African-Americans. As a lawyer, he also represented the Spanish Crown during the Amistad case.
As with some other homes built on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven the 1830s, the Aaron Skinner House was designed by Alexander J. Davis, with significant involvement by James A. Hillhouse. Skinner, who briefly operated a boy’s school in his home, was persuaded to go along with Davis and Hillhouse’s expensive Greek Revival design. In the 1850s, Henry Austin altered the house by filling in the second story, which originally did not extend so far, to match the first story. This crated a more cube-like appearance. The house was later owned by the Trowbridge family and was bequeathed to Yale by Rachel Trowbridge. It now serves as Yale’s International Center for Finance.