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.
On Library Road in Middlebury is a Georgian Revival building built in 1898. It was originally Center School, a two-room schoolhouse, and later served as a town hall annex and then as the town library, and now is occupied by the Middlebury Historical Society.
Built circa 1695-1700, the Samuel Smith House (pdf), at 82 Plants Dam Road in East Lyme, is notable as an example of a mostly unaltered early colonial-era house. Additions were made in 1735 (when the end-chimney structure became a center-chimney structure with an expansion on the west side and the house was re-framed with a gambrel roof) and 1812 (when a rear ell was added), after which the house remained essentially unaltered. The house still has an eighteenth-century shed (with a lean-to added in the twentieth century), the original well and a c. 1810 outhouse. Also known as the Hurlbut House, the Smith House was built on land owned by Nehemiah Smith, Jr. In 1698, Smith transferred the property to his son, Samuel, who was probably already living on the property (his father lived elsewhere). Recently acquired by the town of East Lyme, the house is being restored by the Friends of the Samuel Smith House to become a museum.
Another notable building along Salem Green is the Town House. This structure was originally built in Norwich in 1749 on Washington Street as an Episcopal church, which later took the name of Christ Church. A new Christ Church was dedicated on Main Street in 1791. The current Christ Episcopal Church was built back on Washington Street in 1849. By that time, the original church on the site had been moved away. In 1829, this old building had been sold to the Episcopal Society in Salem. It was moved to Salem Green circa 1831 and reconstructed. It was at this time that the building’s lancet windows and columned portico were added, resulting in an unusual mix of Gothic and Greek Revival styles. By 1840 the church had closed and the building was acquired by the Town of Salem for general meetings. Since 1969, it has been the home of the Salem Historical Society.
In Martin Park in East Hartford the town’s Historical Society maintains a complex of three historic buildings. One of these is the Burnham Blacksmith Shop, built c. 1850, which originally stood on the Burnham family farm. Today, the building contains a collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century tools and equipment used in the East Hartford area.