The former building of the Home Bank and Trust Company, at 16 Colony Street in Meriden, was built in 1922. Originally chartered as the Home Bank of West Meriden in 1854, the bank was first located in the Collins Block, which was later destroyed by fire (the Hall & Lewis Building occupies the site now). In 1863, the bank moved to its own building, at the corner of Colony and Church Streets. Abiram Chamberlin, president of the bank, who served as Governor of Connecticut from 1903 to 1905, lived on the second floor of the brick building. The 1863 building was moved around the corner to make way for the 1922 building, designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White. The bank became Shawmut Home Bank in 1987 and the following year was acquired by Connecticut National Bank. Today, the former bank building is home to a nightclub. Read the rest of this entry »
In downtown Bristol there are two buildings which once housed the Bristol National Bank (established in 1875). The first building is at 245 Main Street and was succeeded by the second building, at 200 Main Street. Built in 1920-1923, the second building later became the Bristol Bank and Trust Company, and still bears that name. It was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White, although McKim and White had died by that time. The building was probably the work of Stanford White‘s son, Lawrence White.
One of the most important buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White in Naugatuck is the High School on Hillside Avenue, constructed in 1905. Naugatuck industrialist and philanthropist John H. Whittemore wanted the school to have a prominent position on a hill overlooking Naugatuck Green and the many other structures that he had commissioned the firm to design. To adapt to the sloping site, the firm created a building in which each of its three floors has an entrance at ground level and each side is designed with its own distinct appearance. Based on Greek temples, the school is constructed in pink granite and pressed buff brick. A new High School was built on Rubber Avenue in 1959 and, although the original school’s interior was damaged by fire in the 1960s, it was painstakingly restored to become a junior high school, now called Hillside Middle School.
This week we look at buildings in Waterbury. Opened in 1909, Waterbury‘s old Union Station building, famous for its striking clock tower, was built by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and was designed by McKim, Mead and White. The 245 foot campanile, or tower, was added to the building at the request of a railroad executive who wanted a copy of the Torre del Mangia, built in 1325-1344 in Sienna, Italy. The tower’s clock, the largest in New England, was made by the Seth Thomas Company and the bell was installed in 1916. The tower features eight she-wolf gargoyles, reminders of the story of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The former station now houses the offices of the Republican-American newspaper.
Rich Hall, dedicated in 1868, served as Wesleyan University‘s library until Olin Memorial Library was built in 1928. Henry Bacon, who was serving as Wesleyan’s advisory architect, made preliminary sketches for the new library in 1923, less than a year after the dedication of his most famous building, the Lincoln Memorial. Bacon died in 1924 and his ideas were passed on to the firm of McKim, Mead & White. The Library was built in 1925-1927 and dedicated in 1928. The following year, the street just south of Olin Library was moved further south to make room for a large front lawn. In anticipation of the need for future expansion of the Library, the north facade of the building, facing Andrus Field, was left unadorned and had a wall that could be easily removed. The anticipated rear expansion of the library stack area occurred in 1938. Another expansion was constructed in 1983-1986, with a modern addition cleverly designed by the firm of Perry, Dean, Rogers & Partners of Boston to wrap around and enclose the earlier expansion of 1938.
The Howard Whittemore Memorial Library, on Church Street in Naugatuck, was built in 1894 as part of the grand beautification plan of industrialist and philanthropist John Howard Whittemore for his adopted home town. The Library, named in honor of a son who had died young, was one of the first of the many structures that Whittemore, influenced by the “City Beautiful” movement, commissioned for Naugatuck Center. Designed by McKim, Mead & White and utilizing the same plan as the firm’s Walker Art Gallery at Bowdoin College, the Neo-Classical Revival library is constructed of pink granite, with buff terra-cotta panels above the windows and in the pediment above the front entrance. The frieze running around the buildings is incised with names of famous authors. The Library has a modern addition to the rear.
The Congregational Church of Naugatuck is on Division Street, across from Naugatuck’s Green (part of which is owned by the Church and is leased to the Borough of Naugatuck). This is the Church’s third building. The first was built on a hill to the east in 1782, a year after the congregation was formally gathered. In 1831, it was moved to a location across from the present church, on the northeast corner of what is now the Green, on land donated by Daniel Beecher, an inn keeper. It was sold and moved again, this time across the street to become a store, being replaced by the second church, built in 1853-1854. The present church was built in 1903 and was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. It was one of several commissions by the firm around Naugatuck Green arranged by the prominent local industrialist, John Howard Whittemore.