The two houses standing next south of the new academy were built by Elishama Brandegee, the father of Dr. Elishama Brandegee. The one nearest the academy, long the home of Dr. Brandegee and his family, was designed for the teacher and was occupied by Ariel Parish. The other, now the parsonage of the Second Congregational Church, strange to relate, was built to be used as a parsonage by the Rev. James McDonald, who was settled here 1835-1837.
The town of Ledyard was set off from Groton and incorporated in 1836. Previous to this the territory which it covers was for many years known as the Second or North Parish in Groton. The Ecclesiastical Society in this North Parish was organized in 1725, with six or seven members, and at once took measures to find, by actual measurement, the exact centre of the parish as the proper place for a meeting-house. That centre was found to be “in the north-east corner of Stephen Morgan’s goat pasture.” Upon the spot thus designated the erection of a meeting-house was begun in 1727. The present church edifice stands partly on the same ground, but a little further back from the highway. The Congregational Church was organized in 1729. The early history of the Church for about 80 years, is veiled in obscurity. During the last 39 of these 80 years the Church had no settled pastor, and at sometime in this period became extinct; and its records, if it ever had any, have been lost.
The situation was rectified beginning in 1808, when the church began raising funds to repair its meeting-house. In 1811 the Ecclesiastical Society again had a settled minister, Rev. Timothy Tuttle, who served as pastor for fifty-three years. It was during his pastorate that the old meeting-house was taken down and the current church building was constructed in 1843.
The largest synagogue in Bridgeport was constructed by Congregation Rodeph Shalom in 1947-1949, with a school addition built in 1956. A group that broke away from the Reform Congregation B’nai Israel formed the Conservative Congregation Rodeph Shalom in 1909. The congregation met in Veruna Hall until 1923, when it purchased a church on Iranistan Avenue. The current synagogue, at 2385 Park Avenue in Bridgeport, was designed by architect Jesse James Hamblin of Milford, who also designed Saint John the Baptist Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Bridgeport. It combines elements of the Neo-Classical and Art Deco styles.
The house at 611 Main Street in Somers was built in 1795 and has later Greek Revival details. It was the home of Claudius Buchanan Pease, whose third wife was Mary W. Chapin Pease (1820-1889). Having spent much of her childhood in her mother’s hometown of Cornwall, Mary Chapin became one of the first students at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837. After graduating she returned to Cornwall to teach, but then in 1843 returned to Mount Holyoke as a teacher. She served as the school’s principal from 1850 to 1865, when she retired and married Claudius Pease. After her children grew up, Mary Chapin Pease ran the Elm Knoll Preparatory School for girls from her home in Somers. The house was converted into two apartments in 1925 and became a flower shop in 1985.
The front of the 1873 George W. Mitchell House at 35 Bellevue Avenue in Bristol was greatly altered after it became a funeral home in the twentieth century. The house was built for the owner of J.R. Mitchell & Sons clothing store. The son of Julius R. Mitchell, George W. Mitchell married Eva L. Dunbar. The Funk Funeral Home was started as furniture and undertaking business in 1865 by Christian Funk, a German immigrant. In 1940 Emil Funk moved the business to the Mitchell House. The rectangular block in the front of the house was built in 1960 as a 100-seat chapel. Read the rest of this entry »
Middle Haddam in East Hampton was a shipbuilding center in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and Samuel B. Butler made pulleys and other hardware for the shipbuilding industry. He built a Greek Revival house at 30 Knowles Road in 1838. It was purchased by Captain Edward M. Simpson in 1855. He was a steamboat pilot on the Connecticut River and was captain of the famous steamboat City of Hartford. His daughter later had a house nearby.
The Central Fire Station, later called the Main Street Fire House, at 533 Main Street in Middletown, was built in 1899 during the era of horse drawn fire coaches. There is a hosedrying tower on the building’s northwest corner. It has been continuously used by the Middletown Fire Department ever since and its Renaissance Revival design has made it a notable landmark of the north section of Main Street. Read the rest of this entry »