Taylor Memorial Library (1895)

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 Posted in Libraries, Milford, Romanesque Revival | 1 Comment »

The first library in Milford was established in 1745 and belonged to the First Church. The city’s first secular library began with the chartering of the Milford Lyceum in 1858. The Milford Lyceum Library was eventually dissolved in 1894, when the Taylor Memorial Library was founded. Dedicated in 1895, the Taylor Library was the gift of Henry Augustus Taylor, a financier and philanthropist. It is constructed of local fieldstone, red sandstone and yellow brick. The design of the Richardsonian Romanesque building was based on that of H.H. Richardson’s Crane Memorial Library in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1976, the new Milford Public Library was opened at the corner of New Haven Avenue and Shipyard Lane, officially replacing the Taylor Library. The old library building was converted to office space and is now home to the Milford Chamber of Commerce.

Buck-Foreman Community Center, Portland (1852)

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 Posted in Italianate, Portland, Public Buildings, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »

The Buck-Foreman Community Center in Portland houses the town’s police, parks and recreation, and youth services departments. The central section of the brownstone building dates to 1852 and was built in the Italianate style as the home of Jonathan Fuller, part-owner of the Shaler and Hall brownstone quarry. When he died in 1876, his daughter Jane inherited the house. At that time, the Town of Portland was looking for a new and more solid building to use as a town hall, as their current building, a former Episcopal church at the corner of Bartlet and High Streets, was a wooden structure built in 1790 and considered to be unsafe (part of the floor even caved in during a Republican Party caucus in 1894!). When Jane Fuller died in 1894, the town acquired the Fuller House and hired architect David Russell Brown of New Haven to remodel it in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The wing on the south side of the building was added in 1896 as the Buck Library, donated by Horace Buck, who was originally from Portland and whose three children had died and were buried in town. A matching addition on the north side of the Town Hall was built in 1941. The building continued in use as a Town Hall until 1999.

Norfolk Library (1888)

Thursday, May 13th, 2010 Posted in Libraries, Norfolk, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »

Frederic S. Dennis, in The Norfolk Village Green (1917), writes that the earliest library in Norfolk dates to 1761:

A library company was then formed, and about 150 volumes were collected; and this library remained in activity about thirty-five years, when it was dissolved, the books to be distributed among the original donors. In 1824 a second library was formed and incorporated with 142 volumes, besides periodicals. Like its predecessor it was short lived and dissolved in 1866. The books passed into the hands of Mrs. Charlotte Mills, and Miss Louise Stevens, who subsequently founded a third library, which was in the hands of a committee. This new Library was placed on a business basis and a yearly fee of one dollar was charged for membership. It continued for a year and its books formed the nucleus of a fourth Library. In 1881 Miss Isabella Eldridge opened a reading room in the Scoville house on the Green, and the books of the third Library were placed there.

Isabella Eldridge’s reading room was so successful, that in 1888 she decided to endow a library in memory of her parents, the Rev. Joseph Eldridge and Sarah Battell Eldridge. She hired architect George Keller of Hartford to design the Norfolk Library, which was constructed in 1888 and opened to the public in 1889. The library has a first floor built of red freestone, quarried at Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The upper floors feature fish scale shingles and the original roof had fluted Spanish tile, since replaced. In 1911, Keller designed a reading room, added to the rear of the Library. A later addition is the children’s wing of 1985, designed by Alec Frost and also constructed of Longmeadow red freestone.

Second Congregational Church of Winsted (1899)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010 Posted in Churches, Romanesque Revival, Winchester | 2 Comments »

The Church of Christ is a Baptist and Congregational church in West Winsted, Winchester. An Ecclesiastical Society in Winsted was first formed in 1778, half way between the societies of Winchester and Barkhamsted. In 1853, as related by John Boyd in Annals and Family Records of Winchester (1873), a committee was appointed to consider “the organization of a second Congregational church and society to be located in the West Village.” The committee reported “that the large increase of population, and the prospect of a more rapid accession in the future, rendered an increase of religious privileges and accommodations indispensable to the well-being of the community; and recommended an early organization of an Ecclesiastical society, and the location and building of a house of worship.” The new congregation constructed a church in 1857, later replacing it with the current church, dedicated in 1899. With the erection of a new church, the old building, together with an adjoining chapel built in 1860, were purchased and remodeled for business purposes. The dedication of the new church was described in the Hartford Weekly Times of September 7, 1899. The reporter explained that the church was built “of Torrington granite, trimmed with Long Meadow sand stone and is of French Gothic style.” The first and second churches of Winsted, faced with expensive repairs after the Flood of 1955, merged together with the First Baptist Church in 1957. The new federation was called the Church of Christ (Baptist and Congregational). 119 members of the old First Congregational Church, fearing that the use of their church building would be discontinued in favor of using just the Second Congregational Church for worship, left the federation. Their church is now known as the First Church of Winsted (also Baptist and Congregational), while the Second Church building continues under the name of the Church of Christ.

Edit: As noted in the comment below, the church has changed its name to the Second Congregational Church of Winsted.

Trinity United Methodist Church, New Britain (1891)

Saturday, December 26th, 2009 Posted in Churches, New Britain, Romanesque Revival | 2 Comments »


The earliest Methodist church in New Britain was built at the corner of Main and Walnut Streets in 1828, replaced by a larger building in 1854. This was in turn replaced by a new Trinity United Methodist Church, located on the east side of Main Street (and Chestnut Street). The new granite Richardsonian Romanesque church, designed by Amos P. Cutting of Worcester, was built in 1889-1891. By 2000, the congregation could not afford the costly repairs the building required and voted to demolish the church. Local citizens formed a committee to save the church, which has now become Trinity-on-Main, a non-profit art center, education facility, community space and venue for events.

The Slater Memorial Museum (1886)

Friday, November 20th, 2009 Posted in Museums, Norwich, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »


The Slater Memorial Museum was begun in 1886 and dedicated in 1888 on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy. It is one of only two fine arts museums in the United States on the campus of a secondary school. The Museum was donated by William Albert Slater in memory of his father, the wealthy industrialist and philanthropist John Fox Slater. The building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by architect Stephen C. Earle of Worcester and was expanded in 1906 with the addition of the Converse Gallery, donated by Charles A. Converse. The Museum‘s collections include regional American paintings, plaster casts of classical and Renaissance sculpture, and Asian, Pre-Columbian, Native American, African and Oceanic art. The use of plaster cast copies were a way American museums over a century ago would bring great European works to the American public. In 1891, at a time when the Metropolitan Museum was developing its own collection of plaster casts, a cast committee traveled from New York to Norwich to observe the arrangement of the Slater Memorial Museum’s collection and meet with William Albert Slater. The Slater Memorial Museum continues to be an educational resource for the Academy and the area community.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex (1897)

Sunday, November 8th, 2009 Posted in Churches, Essex, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »


Around 1890, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the first Episcopal church in Essex, was built in Centerbrook, near what is today the Essex Steam Train station. At the time, the Essex Village section of town was becoming more prominent, so around 1800 the church building was moved to Prospect Street. In 1897, a new church was constructed at Main and Cross Streets. This 1897 church contains many stained glass windows taken from the earlier building. The church was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by Bridgeport architect Joseph W. Northrup (he also designed houses and his plans were used in other parts of the country, including a house in Texas). In 1999, a new construction project linked the church to the adjacent parish house. The church rectory is the Richard Hayden House on Main Street.