The house on the right in the picture above is the Tremko-Stebbins House, located on Route 44 in the Warrenville section of Ashford. The building on the left is a former Post Office. The house was built c. 1773 by Thomas Stebbins Sr., who bought 1/4 of an acre from Benjamin Clark. The last owner of the house was George T. Tremko, who bought it in 1946 from Abbie M. Balch (she served on the Ashford Board of School Visitors, to which she was elected in 1898). It was known as the post-master’s house because the Tremko’s were involved with the post office next door. The Town of Ashford bought the house via eminent domain in 1987 and there were plans to take it down and build a new library on the premises. The Ashford Historical Society helped to save the house and to acquire a grant to rehabilitate its exterior (this work was completed in 2014-2015). The town is waiting for another grant to rehabilitate the interior of the house, after which it can be used as a Museum and Tourist Information Center.
Thanks to Joan E. Bowley, Pres. of the AHS, for information on the house.
Southbury‘s first Town Hall was built in 1873 in the South Britain section of town. In the preceding years South Britain had developed as an industrial center and come to rival Southbury’s town center in importance. Annual town meetings had alternated between the two until South Britain used its influence to have the Town Hall erected at 624 South Britain Road, just before a period of industrial decline set in. The building continued to serve as the center of town government until 1964. It is now operated as a museum by the Southbury Historical Society.
Frederick Gunn, founder of the Gunnery School in Washington, was also the founder, in 1852, of the Washington Library Association, of which he became president in 1855. In the 1880s the Library Association evolved into the Washington Reading Room & Circulating Library Association, which opened a reading room in 1891. E.H. Van Ingen pledged land and money toward erecting a permanent library building in 1902 and the completed building was dedicated in 1908. It was designed by noted architect Ehrick K.Rossiter, who had become a summer resident of Washington. The interior has ceiling murals by Washington resident H. Siddons Mowbray and bronze busts by English sculptor A. Bertram Pegram. The local DAR branch had opened a historical room in a nearby house in 1899. This collection was turned over to the library in 1907. Originally located in the library’s basement, the museum later collection moved to the adjacent house, bequeathed to the library by June S. Willis in 1965. A new 7,500 square foot addition, five times the size of the original library, was completed in 1994. The plans were drawn by King & Tuthill.
Although the Town of Mansfield decided to erect a town hall at a meeting held on December 3, 1838, electors wrangled over the details for three years. A building committee was finally confirmed on January 24, 1842 and the building was completed the following year. Located in the village of Spring Hill, near the geographic center of town, the old Town Hall was joined by a new Town Office Building on the same property, built in 1934. In the late 1970s, town offices moved to what is now the Audrey Buck Municipal Building. In 1980, the two older town buildings were occupied by the Mansfield Historical Society, which renovated the Old Town Hall to become a museum.
The former Machine Shop of the Cheney Brothers silk mill in South Manchester was constructed in several phases beginning in 1895. Extending from Elm Street to Pine Street, the 40,000 square-foot Machine Shop was built to repair German-made velvet looms. In later years, after the silk mill closed, David Rines operated a one-man machine shop on the lower level (Forest Street side) of the building from 1975 to 1995. Located at 175 Pine Street, the building was purchased by the Manchester Historical Society in 1999 and rehabilitated to become the Manchester History Center.
Pleasant Valley District #5 Schoolhouse, at 711 Ellington Road in South Windsor, was built in 1862 to replace an earlier schoolhouse, built in 1837 on the north side of Ellington Road. Used as an elementary school from 1862 to 1952, it is the only former district schoolhouse in South Windsor that has not been demolished or converted into a residence. Since 1978 it has been operated by the South Windsor Historical Society as a local history museum.
Located in Mill Hill Historic Park in Norwalk is the former Town House (or Town Hall), a Federal-style brick structure erected in 1835. Norwalk’s first Town House was erected by 1736 at the site of the old Trolley Barn at Wall and Knight Streets. A newer Town House was later built at Mill Hill, but it was destoyed when the British burned Norwalk on July 11, 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It took fifteen years before a new structure was erected in 1794. As described by John Warner Barber in his Connecticut Historical Collections (1836):
The old town house was pulled down in July, 1835. It had been long in a ruinous state, and much disfigured the appearance of the place. Some persons in the town who took upon themselves the responsibility of regulating things of this nature about the town, being impatient of the “law’s delay,” took advantage of the darkness of night, pulled down the obnoxious building, and piled up the rubbish by the side of the road.
The current building was built by by Captain Lewis Raymond, who used brick brought to Norwalk as ship’s ballast. The building was used as the seat of government until the Town of Norwalk and the City of South Norwalk were consolidated in 1913. Starting in 1924, the Norwalk Daughters of the American Revolution leased the building from the city, eventually adding a rear kitchen wing. The building was restored in 1965 for meeting and educational purposes. Still owned by the city, it is maintained, along with the rest of Mill Hill Historic Park, by the Norwalk Historical Society and the Norwalk-Village Green Chapter of the DAR.