According to Bristol Historic Homes (2005), the house at 67 Maple Street in Bristol was built around 1790 and was the home of clockmaker Benjamin Ray, who owned the Ives Eureka Shop on North Main Street. If the house dates back to 1790, then its Greek Revival front facade is a later (early nineteenth century) addition. According to Federal Hill, A Series of Walking Tours of the Federal Hill Neighborhood and of Other Areas of Interest in Bristol, Connecticut (1985), the house was used as a store by Samuel Smith to sell the clocks he made with his partner, Chauncey Boardman. The rear of the house was altered in 1874 by Benjamin Lewis.
Counting down to the New Year makes one think of clocks and Bristol was the center of Connecticut Clock-making. One of the Bristol firms was the E.N. Welch Company, which by the later nineteenth century was in financial difficulty. In 1902, William E. Sessions, whose father owned a foundry business that had produced cases for E.N. Welch, was elected president of the company and his nephew, Albert L. Sessions, became its treasurer. By the following year, they had acquired enough stock to take over the company, renaming it the Sessions Clock Company. During this same period, A.L. Sessions, had become a partner with his father, John Henry Sessions, in the family’s trunk hardware-making business, J.H. Sessions & Son. After his father’s death in 1902, the business was then incorporated in 1905 under a special charter by the state of Connecticut, the sole owners being A.L. Sessions, his mother and his wife. William E. Sessions built the mansion, called Beleden, on Bellevue Avenue in Bristol and his nephew, A.L. Sessions, built his own mansion in 1903 on the same street. The Georgian Revival home, constructed of brick and red sandstone, is said to have been designed by a Waterbury architect who had been sent by Sessions to England to study Georgian architecture before beginning to plan the house. Known in Bristol as the “Wedding Cake” House, it later became the Town Club and is now the DuPont Funeral Home.
Joseph Carpenter was a silversmith in Norwich whose shop, built in 1772, still stands on East Town Street, on Norwichtown Green. The shop, where Carpenter also made clocks, may be the only frame silversmith shop surviving in New England. The building is now owned by the Society of the Founders of Norwich and is currently used as a law office.
Today I have also added five new buildings to this blog’s sister site, Historic Buildings of Massachusetts! Please check them out!!!
Samuel Smith, a Bristol clockmaker, built his house on Maple Street, in Bristol’s Federal Hill neighborhood, in 1833 or 1834. The house is in the Greek Revival style, but also features excessively ornate elements of the earlier Federal style in the pediment. Smith made clocks for his business partner, Chauncey Boardman, who sold them in an adjacent house (the home that is now in between was moved there in 1914). The Boardman House, originally built for the clockmaker Benjamin Ray, is also Greek Revival in style.
The Winthrop W. Dunbar House was built on South Street in Bristol around 1890. Winthrop Dunbar’s father, Col. Edward L. Dunbar, was a manufacturer of clock springs who was partners for a time (in the 1860s) with Wallace Barnes. After his father‘s death, Winthrop Dunbar, together with his brothers, Edward B. and William A. Dunbar, formed the Dunbar Brothers Company in 1872. This company was eventually taken over by the Wallace Barnes Company. The Italianate-style Dunbar House, which features a Second Empire tower, is now used for apartments.
The house constructed in 1892 for Walter A. Ingraham, on Prospect Place in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Bristol, is a rare survival of a type of high-style Queen Anne house. It has a base of granite and was built of brick with elaborately ornamented terra cotta detailing. The corner tower also features a distinctive copper roof. In the year the house was built, Walter Ingraham succeeded his father, Edward Ingraham, as president of the E. Ingraham Clock Company. Walter Ingraham’s brother and neighbor, William S. Ingraham, served as the company’s treasurer and secretary and the houses of both brothers were heated through pipes linked to the Ingraham Company’s furnaces.
The J.C. Brown House was originally built, on Maple Street in Bristol, for the clockmaker Lawson Ives in 1833. Lawson and his uncle Chauncey Ives began the clock-making firm of C. and L.C. Ives in 1830. The company eventually failed in the wake of the 1837 Panic and ensuing depression. The house was sold in 1844 to J.C. Brown, another clockmaker, who often had the image of his house painted tablet of his ogee shelf clocks. After his bankruptcy in 1856, Brown’s clock company was bought by the E.N. Welch Manufacturing Company (later to become the Sessions Clock Company). The Greek Revival style Brown House has two entrances with columned porticos: the one facing Maple Street (west elevation) has Ionic columns and the one facing Woodland Street (south elevation) has Doric columns. The house has been converted for use as offices.