Canfield Corner Pharmacy (1876)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Second Empire, Woodbury | No Comments »

The Canfield Corner Pharmacy is a classic American drug store, complete with soda counter (although the latter is no longer functional). The pharmacy is located in a Mansard-roofed building at 2 North Main Street in Woodbury. The building was erected in 1876 as Stong’s Block by Nathaniel M. Strong, who had begun his drug business across the street in 1867. In addition to the drug store, the building contained a number of other businesses over the years and had a hall on the third floor used for meetings by various community groups. Henry H. Canfield (died 1949), who had been Stong’s head clerk, took over the business in 1900. Pharmacist Curtis Martiny and his wife Vera took over the pharmacy in 1950. After her husband’s death in 1954, Vera Taylor Martiny became a licensed pharmacist and continued the business, serving customers, including Roxbury resident Marilyn Monroe. Vera’s daughter Mary purchased the pharmacy in 1987. The building was restored after a fire in 1998. Read the rest of this entry »

Grumman-St. John House (1750)

Monday, March 20th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Colonial Revival, Houses, Norwalk, Second Empire | No Comments »

The earliest core of the house at 93 East Street in Norwalk dates to at least 1750 (and perhaps earlier). It was built by Samuel Grumman, a carpenter and builder who came from Fairfield to erect Norwalk’s second meeting house. During the Revolutionary War, the Grumman House was at the center of the Battle of Norwalk in July 1779, when General William Tryon’s raiding forces burned much of the town. The house was damaged, but it was rebuilt in the 1780s and expanded in the nineteenth century. The current roof was added in the 1870s. In 1805, the Grumman family had sold the house to Stephen Buckingham St. John, whose descendants, including the Hoyt family, owned it until 1925. The building was subdivided into apartments in 1928.

In 2001, the neighboring Norwalk Inn & Conference Center purchased the house with the intention of demolishing it to make way for an addition to the hotel. Preservationists rallied to block these plans and preserve the historic house. Litigation ensued and in 2010, after an extended legal battle, a compromise was reached: the Inn would renovate the dilapidated building to contain extended stay suites with permission being granted to the Inn itself to expand to a third floor. The renovations were completed in 2013.

Apel’s Opera House (1888)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Manchester, Theaters, Vernacular | No Comments »

A German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1874, Bernard C. Apel established a furniture and undertaking business at Depot Square in North Manchester. In 1888 he erected the large brick commercial building that stands at the corner of Apel Place and Oakland Street (35 Oakland Street). The basement contained the undertaking establishment and above it was his mercantile showroom, which he had expanded to include a wide variety of products, from carpets, wall paper and curtains, to crockery, lamps, clocks, stoves and pianos. The upper floors of the building housed a large community hall/theater called Apel’s Opera House. A fire gutted the opera house in 1899. Apel rebuilt, but did not reconstruct the original audience gallery. Serving as a warehouse and salesroom in later years, the building was acquired by the Central Connecticut Cooperative Farmers Association in 1977. The Co-op, which had been located on Apel Place since 1942, was a major supplier of livestock feed to farmers and had a retail store and farm stand in the former Opera House. The Co-op closed in the summer of 2016 due to current economic conditions and the decline in the number of farms.

Tower House (1875)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 Posted in Berlin, Houses, Industrial, Second Empire | No Comments »

The unusual building at 926-940 Farmington Avenue in Kensington was built c. 1875 by the brothers, Augustine F. Wooding and Ralph A. Wooding. They started a business making dog collars, later expanding to harness trimmings and saddlery hardware. In the 1896, they built a dam and pond and were granted a contract to supply water to trains on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The building’s tower was then erected to serve as a water tower. Known as the Tower House, in later years the building was used as apartments. Read the rest of this entry »

Tate Block (1890)

Monday, October 24th, 2016 Posted in Commercial Buildings, New London, Second Empire | No Comments »

Tate Block, New London

The Tate Block, originally known as Tate’s Building, is a commercial block at 187-195 (aka 185) Bank Street in New London. It was built in 1890 on a site that was once the gardens of the neighboring Jonathan Starr House, built a century earlier.

William Chalker House (1803)

Monday, May 9th, 2016 Posted in Houses, Old Saybrook, Second Empire | No Comments »

Chalker House

The house at 1146 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook was built c. 1800-1803 for William Chalker. It originally stood on the opposite side of the street but was moved and an addition built when the road was straightened later on in the nineteenth century. Around that time the house was acquired by Daniel C. Spencer.

A wealthy merchant, Daniel Chapman Spencer (1823-1906) started his business career as a store clerk and then was a traveling salesman with a stock of goods carried in a peddler’s wagon. He then worked for Moulton, Plympton, Williams & Co., one of the leading wholesale dry goods firms of New York. After that company went out of business he moved on to Claflin, Mellen & Co. in New York, at the time the second largest dry goods store in the United States and soon to become the largest. He ran the company‘s notion department for thirteen years, until he broke down from the strain and decided to retire on January 1, 1868. He chose to retire to his hometown of Old Saybrook. As described in the History of Middlesex County, Connecticut with Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men (1884):

Mr. Spencer had previously purchased a number of acres contiguous to the old homestead property in Saybrook, known as the Chalker farm. Here he retired to spend his days. The old place was enlarged and improved and soon made to “blossom like a rose.” The meadows were turned into cranberry patches on which he spent several thousand dollars in working and improving. He surrounded his residence with trees and flowers until it now has the appearance of fairy land. Amid these surroundings he soon recovered his health and then devoted his energies to making such public improvements in the town as should tend to attract others to this beautiful spot selected by Col. Fenwick as the “garden spot of the earth,” more than two hundred years ago.

Spencer owned greenhouses across the street from the Chalker House. He was also involved in the development of the Borough of Fenwick, including the building of the hotel known as Fenwick Hall.

The Chalker-Spencer House was altered around 1880 when the original roof was replaced by a Mansard roof. It was later used as a boarding house.

Morgan-Lockwood House (1860)

Friday, April 1st, 2016 Posted in Houses, Norwalk, Second Empire | No Comments »

3 East Wall St., Norwalk

The Morgan-Lockwood House is a French Second Empire-style residence with a Mansard roof located at 3 East Wall Street in Norwalk. The house, which is now “Wall Street Manor” apartments (it was divided into smaller units in 1944), was built c. 1860. It has a Colonial Revival veranda added c. 1900.