The house at 137-139 Woodruff Street in Southington was built c. 1790 (it was once thought to have been built in 1735). It was the home of Jotham Woodruff (1771-1859) and his son Lewis (born 1803). Jotham Woodruff married Esther Lewis in 1793. The house has a later Greek Revival doorway and gable ends.
The first Catholic parish in Wethersfield was Sacred Heart parish, organized in 1876. In August of 1938, the parish’s church on Hartford Avenue was devastated by fire. Rev. George M. Grady, pastor of Sacred Heart, soon purchased an extensive tract of land on the Silas Deane Highway for the construction of a new church. Many parishioners assumed that the new church was to replace the one lost in the fire, but it was decided to make the new building a mission church of Sacred Heart. Named Corpus Christi, the new church was designed by architect John J. McMahon (1875-1958) in the Georgian Revival style to reflect Wethersfield’s colonial background. It is built of Harvard red brick with limestone trim. The church was dedicated on November 26, 1939 and Corpus Christi was officially established as a separate parish on September 27, 1941.
In July of that same year, the church’s pastor, Rev. Patrick T. Quinian, received a letter from Bishop Ambrose Pinger of Shantung (now Shandong), China. A photograph of the Wethersfield church in the Catholic Directory of 1941 had captured the bishop’s imagination and he asked to be sent plans for the church so that its design might be copied for the new cathedral in Chowtsun (now Zhoucun)!
The Phineas Squires Case House, at 1121 Worthington Ridge in Berlin, is a central-chimney colonial house, built c. 1750-1770. The property, later owned by the Bunce family, has a barn which once housed a disassembled homebuilt replica of a Curtiss-Type Pusher plane, built by 17-year old Howard S. Bunce in 1912. Unable to afford a Curtiss engine, Bunce used a 4-cylinder air-cooled engine constructed by Nels J. Nelson of New Britain. The oldest surviving airplane in Connecticut, it was discovered in the barn in 1962 and can now be seen at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks.
Down Johnsonville Road from the Emory Johnson Homestead in Moodus, East Haddam, is a surviving building of the Neptune Twine Mills, owned by Emory Johnson and then, after his death in 1896, by his son, E. Emory Johnson. The area around Johnson’s mills was known as Johnsonville. In the “Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Year Ended November 30, 1903” (printed in Public Documents of the State of Connecticut, Vol. I, 1903; published in 1904), a picture of the building is captioned “Neptune Twine and Cord Mill, No. 3, Moodus.” The report describes the other two mill buildings as follows:
The Neptune Twine and Cord Mills, Inc., property consists of two mills, the upper one of which was constructed by Emory Johnson. In 1862 he constructed this mill, and began the manufacture of twines, and though the civil war was then in progress this mill did a successful business, and was the only one in town in operation during the entire period. The lower mill, in which Mr. Johnson had formerly an interest, again came into his possession in 1867. This mill, which was erected by Mr. Johnson’s father-in-law (Stanton S. Card), is now known as the Neptune. The name of “Neptune,” as applied to these mills, was adopted in 1864. The upper mill is 34×80 feet on the ground floor, and has two stories. On the first floor is done the carding. Its motive power is a 36-inch turbine water wheel of seventy-five horse power. The lower mill is 36×80 feet, and has four floors: on the first floor, carding, etc.: second floor, the spinning; third floor, the twisting, winding up, and on the fourth floor, the packing, baling, etc. The motive power is water, and has a force of one hundred horse power. The mills employ forty hands and consume 19,000 pounds per week. They manufacture soft and hard twines, cable cords, etc., etc.
The firm was incorporated in 1902, and the present officers are as follows: E. Emory Johnson, president and treasurer; Matthew W. Plumstead, vice president; Elsie S. Johnson, secretary and assistant treasurer.
The upper mill, known as Triton, was destroyed by fire 1924 and the lower mill, dating to 1832, was also lost in a fire in 1972. The surviving mill building (No. 3) was built in 1899 and included the mill’s office and a Post Office. As related in Fibre and Fabric, Vol. XXXV, No. 908 (July 26, 1902):
Mr. Johnson takes great pride in the appearance of his property, and the village of Johnsonville is a model of neatness. The main offices of the mills are located near the Neptune mill and are sumptuous in their appointments. In the office building is the Johnson library, containing 3,000 volumes, opened in the fall of 1899, which is free to all the employees of the mills as well as to the employees of the other factories. There is also a smoking room in the building and a room where the records of the mill for 70 years are kept. All are neat and tasty in their appointments. Mr. Johnson’s enterprise is commendable and thoughtful in promoting the welfare of the employees of the Neptune mills and is appreciated.
On Johnsonville Road in Moodus, East Haddam, is an Italianate-style house built (according to the sign on the house) in 1842. It was the home of Emory Johnson, who owned twine mills near the Johnson Mill Pond across from his home. In the nineteenth century, Moodus was the “Twine Capital of America,” with twelve mills in operation. Johnson’s father-in-law, Stanton S. Card, owned the Neptune Twine Mills, which he left to his son-in-law at his death in 1867. Johnson had already opened his own mill, called Triton, in 1862. The area of worker housing that grew up around the mills became known as Johnsonville. The two mills continued to be operated by Emory Johnson and then by his son, E. Emory Johnson, who died in 1905. In the 1960s, the house and other Johnsonville properties were acquired by Raymond Schmitt and became a Victorian era attraction. Closed in 1994 and vacant for many years, the property was recently sold.
At 1278 Main Street in Glastonbury is a center-chimney house built c. 1784 by Colonel John Hale. A 1789 deed conveyed the property from Deacon David Hale (1727-1796) to his son, Col. John Hale, whose house had already been built. Col. John Hale (1759-1817) served in the state General Assembly from 1796 to 1799 and as Glastonbury Town Clerk from 1804-1817.
Its steeply pitched roof makes the Laurilla Smith Cottage, at 1626 Main Street in Glastonbury, a distinctive building. The cottage was planned in 1853 by Laurilla Aleroyla Smith (1789-1857) and finished after her death by her family in 1857 as a memorial to her. An artist, Laurilla A. Smith was a student at Sarah Pierce’s Female Academy in Litchfield and later taught at at Emma Willard’s School in Troy, N.Y. and Catharine Beecher’s Hartford Female Seminary. She was the sister of Julia and Abby Smith, the famous activists who lived in Kimberly Mansion, the house across the street. Smith had planned for the cottage to be her art studio. It is now used by artist Harry White.