Plymouth Cordage Company Ropewalk (1824)

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Mystic, Stonington, Vernacular | No Comments »

Preserved at Mystic Seaport is a section of the original ropewalk of the Plymouth Cordage Company of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1824 by Bourne Spooner, who had learned the art of ropemaking in New Orleans. He opposed slavery, so he set up his business back home in Plymouth, hiring free labor. Spooner ran the company until his death in 1870, producing rope for many kinds of vessels, including the Great Republic, the largest clipper ship ever built. By the late nineteenth century, the company had become the largest manufacturer of rope and twine in the world. The company remained in business for 140 years. The ropewalk remained in operation until 1947, when changing technology led to the end of its use by the company. In 1951, a 250-foot section of the 1,000-foot ropewalk in Plymouth was saved and reassembled at Mystic Seaport. It came with its machinery, which is no longer powered but is set up as though it were still functioning in order to illustrate the process of spinning rope.

American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Reading Room (1841)

Saturday, July 1st, 2017 Posted in Italianate, Libraries, Mystic, Organizations, Outbuildings, Stonington | No Comments »

One of the buildings at Mystic Seaport is set up to represent the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Reading Room. The Society was incorporated in 1833 to provide moral and religious alternatives to the saloons, boardinghouses and brothels frequented by sailors while in port. The organization is best known for the libraries it placed aboard American ships for the use of sailors. The Society’s records are now held the Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport. This historic organization is interpreted for Mystic Seaport visitors in a building erected c. 1841 as a work shop and tool shed by Clark Greenman of the George Greenman & Co. Shipyard. Starting in 1951, it was used as the Seaport’s Children’s museum, before housing the Reading Room exhibit. The building originally stood where the Treworgy Planetarium was built in 1960. It was moved to its current location in 1959. Read the rest of this entry »

Seeley-Dibble-Pinkney House (1820)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 Posted in Houses, Norwalk, Vernacular | No Comments »

The home of the Rowayton Historical Society is the Seeley-Dibble-Pinkney House, located at 177 Rowayton Avenue in Norwalk. The house was built c. 1790-1820 and has been altered over the years. Part of the basement floor is paved with left over shipping ballast. Alfred Seeley purchased the house in 1820. He was a successful farmer and store-owner. He also built the first packet that traveled between Rowayton to New York. Seeley’s youngest daughter, Hannah Minerva, married Alphonso Dibble, who took title to the house and store in 1890. In turn their youngest daughter, Gertrude Hannah, who was married to William Pinkney, next occupied the house. The house was sold by Dorothy Cowles Pinkney, poet and widow of William Pinkney Jr., to the Sixth Taxing District of Norwalk (Rowayton) in 1971

Lockwood–Mathews Mansion (1864)

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 Posted in Houses, Norwalk, Second Empire | No Comments »

Lockwood–Mathews Mansion

Happy New Year from Historic Buildings of Connecticut! One of Connecticut’s grandest houses is the Lockwood–Mathews Mansion in Norwalk. A 62-room Second Empire-style country house, it was built by LeGrand Lockwood, a New York City businessman and financier, who named the estate Elm Park. Construction of the mansion, designed by Detlef Lienau, begun in 1864 and took four years. Lockwood lavishly furnished his house and displayed art by Hudson River School painters, including the monumental Domes of the Yosemite by Albert Bierstadt. The depreciation of gold in 1869 was a series financial blow for Lockwood, who died in 1872. His heirs lost the estate through foreclosure in 1874. Charles D. Mathews bought the property in 1876 and it remained a residence of the Mathews family until the death of his daughter, Florence Mathews, in 1938. Sold to the City of Norwalk in 1941, the estate became a public park. After the city announced plans to demolish the mansion in 1959, preservationists formed a Common Interest Group and after a prolonged legal struggle were able to save it. The Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk arranged to lease the building from the city and formed the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum of Norwalk, Inc. to restore and operate the mansion as a public museum. The mansion is now undergoing a new renovation, begun in 2007.

Nathan Lester House (1793)

Friday, July 4th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Ledyard | No Comments »

Nathan Lester House

Happy Independence Day! The Nathan Lester House & Farm Tool Museum on Long Cove and Vinegar Hill roads (153 Vinegar Hill Road) in Gales Ferry is owned by the town of Ledyard. A typical Connecticut farmhouse of the period, the Lester House was built in 1793 by Nathan Lester, whose father, Peter Lester, had originally purchased the farm. The house is also known as the Larrabee House because Hannah Gallup Lester, Nathan’s only child, married Captain Adam Larrabee. The house remained in the family until 1908, when it was bought by Dr. and Mrs. Charles B. Graves. In 1965, as a memorial to her parents, Elizabeth Graves Hill gave the house and 11 acres of land to the Town of Ledyard. This property included the Ledyard Oak, which was the second largest white oak in the country and appears on the Ledyard town seal. The tree was officially declared dead in June, 1969. A new white oak was planted near the original Ledyard Oak in 2009.

John Bishop House (1810)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 Posted in Federal Style, Houses, Lisbon | 1 Comment »

Lisbon Historical Society

The John Bishop House is a Federal-style house in Newent in Lisbon. The Bishop family were early settlers of Lisbon, when it was a part of Norwich. The house is notable for having a well shaft in the pantry/buttery, so the family did not have to go outside to get water. The house is now the John Bishop Museum, run by the Lisbon Historical Society. Work was done in 2011 to replace the house’s wood roofing.

Gilead Chapel (1876)

Sunday, September 8th, 2013 Posted in Churches, East Haddam, Folk Victorian, Gothic | No Comments »

Gilead Chapel

In 1836, Henry P. Haven (1815-1876; A biography of Haven by Henry Clay Trumbull, entitled A Model Superintendent, was published in 1880) established the Gilead Sunday School in Waterford. In 1876, Gilead Chapel was built at the corner of Foster Road and Parkway North to serve as the home of this interdenominational school. After the school closed in the early 1940s, the building was used for a decade by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints. Vacant several years thereafter, in 1969 it was purchased by Raymond Schmitt for his his Historic Johnsonville Village in Moodus in East Haddam. The building was taken down and reassembled in Moodus at the intersection of Johnsonville Road and Neptune Avenue.