Prospect Avenue forms a border between Hartford and West Hartford. My new book, A Guide to Historic Hartford, Connecticut, features some interesting houses on the West Hartford side of the street, including the Robert Schutz House at 1075 Prospect Avenue. Unlike other residences nearby, this house is turned 90 degrees from the street. Built in 1907 and designed by Charles Adams Platt, the house was built for Robert Schutz, president of the Smyth Manufacturing Company, which still makes bookbinding machines today. The house was also the residence of his son, Robert Schutz Jr., who was an architect. As a trustee and president of the Mark Twain Memorial in the 1950s, Robert Schutz Jr. donated objects he found in the attic of this house to what is now the Mark Twain House and Museum.
The Rockville Public Library began in 1893 with a $10,000 bequest from George Maxwell (1817-1891), President and Treasurer of the Hockanum Company woolen mills, and another $10,000 raised by the town of Vernon. The George Maxwell Memorial Library building, at 52 Union Street in Rockville, was opened in 1904. It was the first public building to be designed by architect Charles A. Platt. Read the rest of this entry »
In addition to Maxwell Court, architect Charles A. Platt designed another mansion in Rockville for a member of the Maxwell family. At 31 Union Street is the William and Alice K. Maxwell House, known as Kellogg Lawn. The house was built in 1905-1906 for Francis and William Maxwell‘s mother, Harriet K. Maxwell, widow of George Maxwell. It was built in the center of Rockville, on a site where the house of Harriet’s father, George Kellogg, had once stood. Kellogg was one of Rockville’s pioneering industrialists. Today, the mansion is part of Rockwell General Hospital, serving as an entryway to the hospital.
The Francis T. Maxwell House, at 9 North Park Street in Rockville, Vernon, is a Colonial/Classical Revival mansion, built in 1902-1904. Maxwell was a part-owner of the Hockanum Mills Company. His mansion, known as Maxwell Court, was designed by Charles Adams Platt, who was renouned as an architect and as one of America’s most influential landscape designers. Platt’s design for Maxwell Court, his first large scale project, integrates the mansion and the surrounding landscape. The house is located on a hill above the city of Rockville, near the mills but with broad views to the south and west. With its architecture, gardens and landscape, influenced by the Villa Gamberaia near Florence, the Maxwell estate was influential in the American country house movement. Maxwell Court was featured in such contemporary publications as The Country House, a Practical Manual of the Planning and Construction of the American Country Home and its Surroundings (1906), by Charles Edward Hooper and House & Garden, Vol. IV, No. 4 (October 1903)–an article whose images were reproduced in American Country Homes and their Gardens (John Cordis Baker, ed. 1906). The plan of an estate, clearly modeled on Maxwell Court, appeared in Henry Vincent Hubbard and Theodora Kimball’s An Introduction of the Study of Landscape Design (orig. pub. 1917), the principle textbook for landscape architecture courses in the United States in the early twentieth century. Today, Maxwell Court is the Rockville Elks Lodge #1359. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1926, Harriet Upson Allyn founded a trust to establish a museum in New London in honor of her father, Capt. Lyman Allyn. The Lyman Allyn Art Museum‘s Neo-Classical building, designed by Charles A. Platt, opened in 1932. The museum also owns the Deshon-Allyn House.
The Lyme artists’ colony that began with visitors to Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse eventually grew and established the Lyme Art Association in 1914. Florence Griswold gave land to the Association, next to her own house on Lyme Street, for a gallery (of which she would be the first manager). The architect of the 1921 Lyme Art Association building was Charles Adams Platt, who also designed the Freer Gallery in Washington and the Lyman Allen Museum, as well as four of the Cheney mansions in Manchester.
Linked to the Cheney family of silk manufacturers in Manchester, the Willard House is considered one of the Cheney Mansions–it was built for John Davenport Cheney. Located on Hartford Road in Manchester, the house was designed by Charles Adams Platt (himself a member of the Cheney family) and was constructed in 1905. It is currently utilized as the Alison Gill Lodge of the Shelter for Women.