Cornielius B. Erwin (1811-1885) was a leading industrialist and philanthropist in New Britain. At his death he became the benefactor of the Erwin Home for Worthy and Indigent Women, leaving funds for the project to the Pastor and Standing Committee of South Congregational Church. Opened in 1892, the Erwin Home continues to operate today as a non-denominational residence for “worthy women of limited means.” With an address at 140 Bassett Street in New Britain, it is a large structure with several additions. Architecturally the Erwin Home is an example of the English interpretation of the Queen Anne style. The earliest section of the building, designed by Melvin H. Hapgood of Cook, Hapgood & Co and erected in 1891, consists of two wings that extend along Bassett and Ellis Streets and join at a three-story corner tower. At the rear of the Ellis Street side, facing the building’s inner courtyard, is a small gable-roofed tower. The first addition to the Erwin Home, made in 1894 and designed by Hapgood & Hapgood, extends along Warlock Street. This connects to another addition built in 1914. These later sections feature elements of the Tudor Revival style. Further addition were made in 1971 and 1973.
An early description of the building appeared in The American Architect and Building News, Vol. XXXIII, No. 814 (August 1, 1891):
The late Cornelius B. Erwin, of the Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co., left a large sum in the hands of the committee of the Congregational Church, of which he was a member, for the purpose of having a building put up which should be an actual home for such beneficiaries as the committee should approve, saying in his will: — “it being my object in establishing said Home to aid the really worthy and deserving poor, and not to encourage those who neither are, nor desire to be self-supporting.” The architects have endeavored to carry out as closely as possible the desires of Mr. Erwin, and, instead of planning a large high structure having the appearance of an asylum, a low, rambling cluster of cottages has been arranged for, all under one roof, yet each little portion retaining its individuality.
The Domestic English style of architecture was selected as being the one best adapted for giving the desired picturesqueness and homelikeness so attractive to destitute and homeless women. [. . . .] It will be seen that the key-note of the whole design is the furnishiug of independent homes for worthy and indigent women. It is well-known that many poor but respectable people have a strong prejudice, even horror of anything which is suggestive of surveillance or a binding down to rules in an institution.
The building which now serves as Simsbury’s third Town Hall was built in 1907 as Simsbury High School. The building’s design, by Edward Hapgood of Hartford, is believed to follow that of Homerton College, Cambridge University. When the high school, moved to a new building in the 1960s, the old building became Horace Belden Elementary School. It was renovated in 1993-1994 to become Simsbury Town Hall.
Now used by Connecticut’s Appellate Court, the building at 75 Elm Street in Hartford was built in 1913 as the American headquarters of the Scottish Union and National Insurance Company. The Scottish Union Insurance Company was established in 1833 and merged with the Scottish National Insurance Company in 1877. The building, later used as state offices, was designed by Edward T. Hapgood.
Millstreams is a mansion in Farmington, built in 1917 for the playwright Winchell Smith. Born in West Hartford and a graduate of Hartford Public High School, Smith was also an actor and director. He got his start in the theater company of his uncle, William Gillette, but became most known for his plays, many of which were written in collaboration with others, including Lightnin’ (1918), written with Frank Bacon, which ran for 1,291 performances. He also persuaded D.W. Griffith to film scenes from the film Way Down East, written and produced by Smith and starring Lilian Gish, in Farmington. Smith’s property in Farmington once included the old grist mill, which appears in the film, and the Gridley and Case Cottages, now owned by the Farmington Historical Society. Smith was fascinated by the Tunxis Indians and in his younger days had enjoyed camping near the Farmington River. His house was later built on Indian Neck, along a bend of the Farmington River, where it joins the Pequabuck River. Initial designs for the house were prepared by Edward T. Hapgood and completed by Cortland F. Luce after the architect’s death. At first, Smith called his estate “Lambs Gate,” because he had purchased and erected at his home the gates which had stood for many years at the entrance of the Lambs Club in New York City. Because another home in Farmington had recently been named “Old Gate,” Smith changed the name of his home to “Millstream Manor.” Smith, who died in 1933, is buried, near his home, in Riverside Cemetery. The house, surrounded by almost five acres of grounds and gardens, has recently been for sale.
The Simsbury Free Library began on the second floor of the Hopmeadow District School in 1874. Amos Richards Eno, the Simsbury-born Real-Estate Tycoon, had given the Library a large endowment and later provided the land and funds for the construction of a library building. Built in 1890, the Library was designed by Melvin H. Hapgood of Hartford in the Colonial Revival style. Eno’s daughter, Antoinette Eno Wood, donated the rear addition of 1924. The Simsbury Public Library was established in 1986 in a new building and the old Simsbury Free Library building was renovated and now contains the Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library and the William Phelps Eno Memorial Center.
Displaying features of a Craftsman style bungalow on a Colonial Revival structure, the 1904 Sylvester C. Dunham House, on Prospect Avenue in Hartford, was designed by Edward T. Hapgood, who was the architect of the Shepard House, also located on Prospect. Sylvester Clark Dunham became president of the Travelers Insurance Company in 1901. His son, Donald A. Dunham, a Yale graduate, also resided in the house.
Charles E. Shepard was a general agent for Aetna Life Insurance. The architect Edward T. Hapgood designed Shepard’s 1900 Craftsman style house, located on the West Hartford side of Prospect Avenue. The house also has elements of a Swiss Chalet, most notably in the third-floor balcony. An adjacent carriage house was built in 1914, designed by West Hartford resident Cortlandt F. Luce. The house was acquired by the Oxford School, now the Kingswood-Oxford School, in 1924 and was used for a middle school. Additional facilities were attached to the original house over the years, but these were removed and the house’s exterior was restored when the entire property was converted for use by the town of West Hartford for a new middle School. The house was converted to office, library and classroom space and attached to the new Bristow Middle School building, off Highland Street, which opened in 2005. This example of adaptive reuse and restoration earned the architectural firm of Tai Soo Kim Partners a 2006 Historic Preservation Award from the Town of West Hartford.