The Stony Creek section of Branford has a rich history. In the nineteenth century its shoreline and the Thimble Islands attracted wealthy industrialists and its quarries provided the pink granite used for the foundations of the Statute of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The quarries brought new immigrant workers, including Italians who first worshiped at a hall on Leete’s Island Road built by quarry owner John Beattie. A chapel was later built on School Street and eventually, in 1927, a church was erected at 84 Thimble Island Road and dedicated in October, 1928. What had previously begun as St. Therese mission became a parish in 1947. A new St. Therese Church on Leete’s Island Road was dedicated in 1968. The old church building was sold to the town in 1974 and was then used as a community and recreation center. A fire station was added to the rear of the building in 1976. More recently the building was renovated and reopened in 2012 as the Stony Creek Museum, which chronicles the area’s history.
The Greek Revival house at 572 Main Street in Plymouth is home to the Plymouth Historical Society. Their website states that it was built in the mid-nineteenth century. Another article gives the date as 1853. It was built by A.C. Shelton, of the Shelton and Tuttle Carriage Company, for his niece. The property was later known as the Burr Farm and then belonged to the Alley family.
The Nova Scotia District School was one of the old one-room district school houses of the Town of Watertown. Originally located at the corner of Fern Hill Road and Route 6, it was built in 1853 and served as a school until 1929. The building was disassembled in 1990 and rebuilt in Munson Park at 17 DeForest Street, behind the Gridley Store and the Munson House. The Old Nova Scotia School House reopened in 1993 as a museum, maintained by the Watertown Historical Society and furnished as it would have been in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The house at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford’s West End was built in 1928 for Curtis H. Veeder and his family. Born in Alleghany, Pennsylvania, in 1862, Veeder was an engineer who got his first patent at age eighteen. He founded the Veeder Manufacturing Company in Hartford in 1895. The company’s first product was one of Veeder’s inventions, a bicycle cyclometer. Promoted with the slogan “It’s Nice to Know How Far You Go,” the devices measured the distance a bike has traveled by counting the number of rotations made by the wheels. The company later merged with the Root Company of Bristol, Connecticut, to form Veeder-Root, which continues to produce counting and computing devices today. Veeder died in 1943 and in 1950 his widow, Louise Stutz Veeder, sold the house to the Connecticut Historical Society. Founded in 1825, the society had been based for almost a century in the Wadsworth Atheneum. CHS constructed two large additions to the Veeder House, originally designed by William F. Brooks, to house its collections and museum exhibition space.
The oldest surviving building in West Haven is the Ward-Heitmann House at 277 Elm Street. It may have been built as early as 1684 and was certainly on the site by 1725. The house was built by Ebenezer Clark, who sold it in 1730 to John Humphreville, who had married Clark’s sister Rebecca. The house remained in the Clark family until 1788, when it was purchased by sea captain Thomas Ward (d. 1839). It remained in the Ward family until George Ward sold it to Susan Perrin in 1861. She eventually sold it to Louisa Ward Heitmann, George Ward’s sister, in 1868. Her daughter, Henrietta Heitmann, inherited the house in 1897. She was engaged in various business ventures and also added the north wing to the house and used it as a dame school. The house passed out of the Ward-Heitmann family when Charles Elliott Pickett purchased it in 1910. In the twentieth century the house had a number of owners and for a time housed an antiques store and later a tearoom. The Milano family owned the house from 1949 to the early 1990s and left it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which sold it to the Ward-Heitmann House Museum Foundation in 1995. The house was then restored to become a museum.
Thomas Fitch (1696-1774), a lawyer, was Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1754 to 1766. His house, built around 1740, once stood on Earls Hill on the east side of East Avenue in Norwalk. The house was partially burned in the British raid on Norwalk on July 11-12, 1779. Fitch descendants occupied the reconstructed house until 1945. The section of the house that had survived the British raid (part of the house’s kitchen wing) was moved to Mill Hill in 1956 when the rest of the building was demolished to make way for the construction of the Connecticut Turnpike (now I-95). In 1971 the building was restored as a museum to resemble a law office such as one that Governor Fitch might have used in the eighteenth century. The foundations and chimney of the Law Office were constructed using stones from the cellar walls of the original Fitch House. The Law Office is one of three buildings at Mill Hill Historic Park maintained by the Norwalk Historical Society and the Norwalk-Village Green Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Nathaniel Harrison II (1692-1760) built the house at 124 Main Street in Branford in 1724. The house was once thought to have been built around 1680, at which point the land was owned by Daniel Swain, so it is listed as the Swain-Harrison House in the National Register of Historic Places. The house passed to Nathaniel Harrison III and then to his daughter Martha, who married Nicodemus Baldwin. Martha sold the house to Joseph and Lorany (Bradley) Linsley in 1800, so it is also known as the Harrison-Linsley House. The Linsleys’ daughter, Lorany Linsley Smith, lived in the house until her death in 1915 at the age of 100. The Smith family owned it until 1938, when it was acquired by the architectural historian and preservationist J. Frederick Kelly, who restored the house. Upon his death in 1947 Kelly bequeathed the house to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now Historic New England. Under a long-term lease, the house is maintained by the Branford Historical Society as its museum and headquarters.