Allen Avery House (1874)

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 Posted in Groton, Houses, Mystic, Second Empire | No Comments »

The house at 17 Pearl Street, on the Groton side of Mystic, is currently the home of Dinoto Funeral Home. A sign on the house indicates it was built circa 1874 and was the home of Allen Avery, undertaker. As related in the Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County (1905), Allen Avery was born in 1838 and married Alice Babcock Hinckley in 1862. As the book continues:

Mr. Avery spent his boyhood days in Old Mystic, securing an excellent education in the public schools and at the academy at Mystic. Leaving school he worked as a ship joiner with his father in the Greenman yards, but in 1864, he embarked in an undertaking business at Mystic, in a store built by his father. Later, he purchased the store, and carried on an undertaking business for a number of years, but about 1884, he retired from that line, continuing, however, to operate his furniture store, which he had in the meanwhile established, until 1895. He is now engaged in the real estate business.

Apparently he lived in the house at 17 Pearl Street for no longer than twelve years, as the biography notes:

For the past seventeen years he has lived on the Stonington side of Mystic, in a house he built in 1886, so that he takes a deep interest in the affairs of the town of Stonington. For thirteen years he was a menber of the executive committee of the fire district. and was one of the organizers of the Hook and Ladder Company, which he served faithfully and ably as treasurer for twenty-one years. He is now vice-president of the Avery Memorial Association. which he served as president for two years. In fact there are few measures of a public character, designed to advance the interests of Mystic, in which he has not been concerned.

Jennie and Edward Gilbert House (1871)

Saturday, May 27th, 2017 Posted in Haddam, Houses, Second Empire | No Comments »

The house at 429 Saybrook Road in Higganum was built by Cornelius Brainerd (1811-1884) as a wedding present for his daughter, Jennie (Jane Jerusha), who married Edward Dwight Gilbert, a merchant, on June 1, 1871. When the Higganum Savings Bank was chartered in 1874, E. D. Gilbert was secretary and his father-in-law was treasurer, a position Gilbert would later hold. Gilbert also served as postmaster. The later couple moved to Cornelius’ house and sold the 1871 house, which has since lost its original elaborately carved porch.

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.