The house at 211 Washington Street in Forestville in Bristol was built in 1845. It later became the home of Mark F. Spelman, a farmer who purchased the farm on Washington Street, at the head of what is now Central Street, in 1873. The family had earlier lived in Granville, Massachusetts. Spellman’s daughter, Lila Adah Spelman (1866-1945), was born in Granville. She completed her elementary school education in Forestville, but then, because there was no high school in Bristol, she commuted daily by train from Forestville to the Hartford Public High School. She graduated in 1885, taught school in Southington and married William H. Rowe in 1889.
The first Episcopal church service in Rockville in Vernon was held on the afternoon of Sunday, May 7, 1855 at the Rockville Hotel Hall. Services were conducted in various places in town over the years, including in the upstairs hall of the Sears block on Market Street, later in the Town Hall and finally in the First Evangelical Church on West Main Street. Finally a parish was organized in 1872-1873 and a church was built at the corner of Talcott and Ellington Avenues in Rockville in 1874. The building continued as St. John’s Episcopal Church until 1968, when the parish completed a new church on Hartford Turnpike. Their former church, at 9 Ellington Avenue, is today the Church of the Risen Savior.
It is not known who built the house at 539 Hopewell Road in Glastonbury. While in some ways resembling a traditional center-chimney house, it has a less traditional arrangement of windows suggesting a later date. The front roof dormer is a twentieth-century addition. The property was owned in the 1840s and 1850s by Henry Dayton, a farmer who may have been attempting to capitalize on nearby industrial development. The house was later, in fact, owned by a general store that was linked to the textile mills. Read the rest of this entry »
Opened at 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook in 2009 is The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, named for the famous actress who lived in town. Before the building was restored to become a new cultural arts center, it had served from 1911 until 2004 as Old Saybrook’s Town Hall. Designed by New London architect James Sweeney, it was constructed in 1910-1911 to be the Old Saybrook Town Hall and Theater, with town offices in the raised basement and a theater above that was used both for performances and community gatherings. A driving force behind the building‘s construction was Joseph A. Cone, a printer, performer and musician, and the Old Saybrook Musical and Dramatic Club, which he had founded. Unfortunately, by the 1950s the old theater space had been subdivided for more town offices. Today it again serves its original purpose as a performance space.
The Allyn Smith House, at 168 Broad Street in Wethersfield, was built in 1790 on what had been the homesite of Abraham Finch in 1634. Abraham Finch (d. 1638) was one of the ten adventurers who first settled Wethersfield.
Constructed in 1868 as a grand new three-story commercial block with classical detailing, Bacon’s Marble Block is located at at 128 State Street in New London. It was built by Morris W. Bacon, manager of the Pequot & Ocean Transit Steamship Co., who ran a billiard hall in the building. The structure’s original cornice was replaced with a mansard roof before 1901. Beatrice Cuming, a painter, lived and worked on the building‘s upper floors in the 1930s and 1940s. In more recent years, the building sat derelict for twenty-five years, but was then restored with commercial space on the first floor and apartments above. Bacon’s Marble Block also features a faded Uneeda Biscuit sign. The building next door, at 140 State Street, was built in 1873.
The house at 895 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built by the brothers Nehemiah and John Brainerd to serve as a social hall called Brainerd Hall. The brothers owned a granite quarry that they opened in 1792. Brainerd Hall was constructed soon after the brothers’ uncle Hezekiah Brainerd and his wife Elizabeth acquired the land from Elizabeth’s father, John Wells, in 1794. After John Brainerd’s death in 1841, the hall housed students at the nearby Brainerd Academy, a school established by the Brainerd brothers.. After 1857, Erastus G. Dickinson operated the Golden Bull Tavern in the building. It remained in the Dickinson family until 1964.