From the whaling port of New London to the onion farms of Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, photographer Ken Staffey collects the stories behind historic architecture in Connecticut. The following is a sampling of the photos — complete with a mini history lesson — that he shares on his Instagram account. Fowler House in Guilford, Connecticut, has had just […]
From the whaling port of New London to the onion farms of Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, photographer Ken Staffey collects the stories behind historic architecture in Connecticut. The following is a sampling of the photos — complete with a mini history lesson — that he shares on his Instagram account.
Fowler House in Guilford, Connecticut, has had just about nine lives. It was built in the Italianate style for Edward Fowler around 1847. When he moved to New London to become a railroad conductor, the new owners gave it a Second Empire makeover and topped the flat roof with a Mansard one. They never opened the school they intended to house here, and a Civil War P.O.W. eventually moved in. Later a blacksmith took up residence, running the shop out back. The porch is a 21st century addition.
A barn, a granite pigsty, and a cobbler’s hut have been preserved on the grounds of the Daniel Hubbard house in Guilford, Connecticut. The large home dates to 1717, but the west wing and front door hood were added in the 19th century. Daniel and his wife Diana lived there with their five children.
At just 25, Waldo Calvin Bryant started what would become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric components, Bryant Electric. Seven years later he moved into this home on Park Avenue in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The architect for the Bryant home was George Longstaff. Today it is part of the University of Bridgeport. The school is adjacent to Seaside Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted with an entry arch by Henry Bacon, designer of the Lincoln Memorial.
The historic Bill House on Broadway in Norwich, Connecticut, serves as a home base for tourists looking to explore the history of New England. The unique Italianate house was built for Henry Bill in 1856. He sold illustrated versions of the Bible and helped fund the education of freed slaves. The exterior of the Mount Crescent Bed & Breakfast is vintage 19th century, while the interior includes some modern updates from prominent architect Maya Lin, best known for the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.
Bank president, lawyer, state representative, state senator, and judge were just a few of the titles Luzon Buritt Morris held. He later added governor to the list, becoming the state’s 55th chief executive. Morris House in New Haven, Connecticut, built in 1873, is Italianate in design with some Stick detailing. Today it is owned by Yale University and is home to the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Incidentally, Governor Morris studied at Yale and was even a member of Skull & Bones, its famed secret society.
While the Captain David Judson House in Stratford, CT dates to 1723, it was actually built upon the foundation and central hearth of a home dating to 1639. That original structure makes this one of the oldest buildings in the state. Captain Judson built this early Georgian-style house at the location where his great grandfather William had first settled. The home, now a museum, includes former slave quarters, period furniture, and a piano belonging to William Samuel Johnson, a framer of the Constitution and Columbia University’s second president.
According to the historic district filing, this Second Empire home in Newtown, CT, was designed by Silas Beers, whom the document describes as a local surveyor and amateur architect. With this 1869 home, known as the Glover House, and the nearby Trinity Church to his credit, Beers was quite the amateur. Beers also designed several structures in the town during this period.
The Willimantic Linen Company had Reid House built in 1880 for its chemist and dyemaster, James Reid, next door to Eugene Boss, who ran the company. In 1898, the Coats Corporation bought Willimantic Linen along with other mills. While the new company was called American Thread, it was actually owned by the Brits. The company owned mills in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and North Carolina, but Mill Number 4 here was its premiere facility until it closed in the 1980s.
Colonel Charles Augustus Converse was the founder of Hopkins & Allen, a Norwich, CT, gunmaker whose line included derringers, which one account calls a forerunner to the ‘Saturday Night Special.’ The company’s production totals ran behind only Colt in Hartford and Winchester in New Haven. Converse House, a High Gothic home, and its barn were built in 1870 and in what is now Norwich’s Chelsea Parade Historic District.
William Coit came from a shipbuilding family in New London, Connecticut, and was the commander of several ships during the Revolutionary War. He had this home built in 1763, along Bream Cove. The cove was a hub for shipbuilding and was gradually filled in as the area grew. Coit’s gambrel-style home was one of the few that survived the burning of the city by the British during the war. The British, with cooperation from Benedict Arnold, were retaliating for sanctioned privateers who had raided their ships.
The Plantsville Historic District filing cites the Cummings House as its most complete example of Queen Anne architecture, with its highly asymmetrical plan, steep roof, and two-story oriel. The home was built in 1890 for William Heqikah Cummings and his wife, Lucretia Amelia Stow Cummings. The area got its name when the Plant brothers set their carriage bolt factory here.