Old Baptist Meetinghouse, Willington // 1829

The Baptist Meetinghouse in Willington was built in 1829 by a local carpenter Albert Sharp, in a transitional Federal/Greek Revival style, common for the period. Its clapboarded facade has a projecting pavilion with two entrances flanking a two-story round-arched window. Four pilasters are surmounted by a wide entablature and the flushboarded pediment of the pavilion. Round-arched windows are repeated on the side elevations and the belfry, which is topped by an octagonal drum and a small dome. The Willington Baptist Church was organized in 1828, started by Rev. Hubbell Loomis, the fourth pastor of the Congregational Church across the common. Rev. Loomis was prominent both as a minister and an educator, and founder of Shurtleff College of Illinois. During his pastorate at the Willington Congregational Church, Mr. Loomis had strong tendencies toward Baptist sentiments. From this, membership of the congregational church split, some leaving for a new Baptist belief and others remained at the congregational church. The two congregations were split until 1911, when they again worshiped under the same roof, as the Federated Church of Willington, meeting in this building.

Deacon Turner House // 1849

The Deacon Turner House, built in 1849, is an impressive Greek Revival house located at the Town Common in Willington, Connecticut. The Greek Revival portion was constructed onto an earlier house or store that was built 50 years prior. The one-story structure was likely moved and incorporated into the current house as a rear ell. The present house was designed by architect Augustus Treusdel of Coventry and built for Deacon John Turner by Emery Williams a well known local builder. John Turner was Deacon of the Willington Congregational Church, nearby.

William Shaffer House // c.1835

This Greek Revival cottage appears to have been built in the 1830s or 40s based on the style, and early maps list the owner as W. Shaffer. It appears that William Shaffer (1799-1892) was hired by the West Willington Glass Works, which ran a factory across the street, and he either built this home or modernized an earlier home to give it the current configuration. The West Willington Glassworks was in operation 1817-1872 and made everything from inkwells to flasks to pickle jars. The house exhibits bold pilasters at the corners and at the entry with entablatures above them. Oh and that red is just beautiful!

Elijah Waters House // 1845

Elijah Waters (1773-1846), a hardscrabble farmer in West Millbury inherited his father’s large farm and resided there for over thirty years before wanting something more his style. Unmarried and without children, Elijah (who was 72 at the time), had this impressive Greek Revival farmhouse constructed near his old family homestead. He was possibly looking to spend money saved up and without a wife or heirs to will it to. The massive temple-front Greek Revival mansion has a stunning doorway and six columns supporting a projecting pediment. Within a year after the home was built, Elijah died. The home was willed to his nephew, Jonathan Waters. The house is for sale for $384,000 which is a STEAL!

Bramanville Congregational Church // 1804

Not just your typical white New England church here… this one was moved! This church was built in 1804 in the north parish of Sutton (present day Millbury, Massachusetts). In the 1700s, the members of the northern part of Sutton petitioned to have a parish church of their own, rather than trekking across the large town to gather for town meetings and religious purposes. They were permitted to erect a parish church inn 1743, and built a church. The building was replaced in 1804, thanks to the wealth and new members of town moving there for manufacturing. Years later, the parish petitioned the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to have the North Parish of Sutton become the town of Millbury, due to the difference in needs being a mill town compared to Sutton’s more pastoral living, and they were designated as a town in 1813. The first town meeting of Millbury was held at First Congregational Church of Millbury that year on the town common. As industry along the Blackstone River picked up, so came waves of workers, many of whom were recent immigrants to New England. It was soon decided that the town church should relocate to provide a new center for town. In 1835, this church was moved about a mile away and erected high on a hill, in Bramanville village, a bustling industrial village. The church has remained in its location in Bramanville, even after the town center again moved, this time eastward to its present location. The Greek Revival style church elegantly reflects the significance of ecclesiastical buildings in early New England towns.

Levi Gale Mansion // 1835

One of my favorite houses in Newport, Rhode Island is this amazing high-style Greek Revival mansion across from the Touro Synagogue. The house was built in 1835 for Levi Gale, and designed by esteemed Rhode Island architect Russell Warren. Gale was born in New Orleans and moved to Newport and is listed as a merchant. It is possible that Levi Gale was involved in the Triangular Trade, the trading of enslaved people, sugar (often in its liquid form, molasses), and rum between West Africa, the West Indies and Rhode Island. Many do not realize, but Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade. The house follows the more traditional Federal form, but with two-story composite pilasters and flush siding, scored and painted white to resemble ashlar marble. The home is elegantly sited, but it is actually not on its original lot. It was actually built adjacent to Washington Square, in the place of the present Newport County Courthouse, and was moved to its present site in 1925. The mansion was cut in half, moved a block away, and re-assembled on a new foundation. It is now used as a Jewish community center, owned by the congregation that owns Touro Synagogue.

Alfred Smith House // c.1843

Alfred Smith (1809-1886) was known as “Newport’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent”, working in the mid-late 19th century to get some of America’s most well-connected upper-class acquire properties to build their summer cottages. In his early days, he prospered by assisting prospective developers and buyers to purchase house lots on newly platted streets, including Bellevue Avenue. By the time of his marriage in 1843, he built this stunning Greek Revival mansion, equipped with stunning proportions and corner pilasters. Decades later, to “keep up with the Joneses”, he modernized the house by extending the eaves and adding brackets and the addition of a belvedere at the roof. He was instrumental in much of Newport’s later development, even bankrolling the erection of a stone bridge on Ocean Avenue, to allow carriages and subsequent developable lots to extend in the previously untouched land in south and west Newport. He suffered a stroke in 1886, and died a year later, two years after his late wife. He funded a monument to the family, hiring Augustus St. Gaudens to furnish a stunning memorial “Amor Caritas” which stands in Island Cemetery in Newport. Mr. Smith’s estate was mentioned in the New York Times and stated there was no will, and his four living children would each get upwards of $1 Million (nearly $30 Million a piece based on inflation today)!

Soudant House // c.1850

This eclectic house in Collinsville was likely built in the mid-19th century in the Greek Revival style, with its gable roof serving as a pediment. By the end of the 19th century, the prominent corner tower with mansard roof and porch were added to create the oddly pleasing composition we see here today. The home was likely altered by Walter Soudant, who ran a grocery store in the village out of the Valley House (last post). Walter’s daughter, Belle Julie Soudant, was an established singer, who toured Europe before accepting a position as a singing teacher at the Institute of Musical Art in New York, known today as the Juilliard School.

Collinsville Congregational Church // 1858

Shortly after Collins and Company was founded in 1826, religious services were held in various homes in the South Canton Village which came to be known as Collinsville. In 1830, the Collins Company erected its first office building on Front Street, and religious services were held there on the second floor. The first church building was erected on land bought by Collins and Company in 1826. By the mid-1850’s, the church membership was outgrowing the building. Although there may have been plans to enlarge the building, tragedy struck and in January 1857, and the church was consumed by fire, which started in the chimney, during a winter storm. The current building was erected almost immediately and dedicated on February 25, 1858. The present church is a grand Greek Revival style building, with a full pediment and large entablature supported by four monumental fluted columns. The two-tiered, square belfry has engaged columns as well. What a great example of a New England church!

South Canton Center School // 1848

Located across the street from the Canton Congregational Church (last post) you can find the cutest one room schoolhouse in central Connecticut. The schoolhouse, built in 1848, was one of nine one-room schoolhouses in Canton at the time. The perfectly proportioned classically designed school features two front doors, one on each side of the recessed entry, with the right door for girls and the left for boys. There were also two outhouses behind the building for students and the teacher. This building served the community as a school until 1942. In the years following, the building was used as a meeting place for women from the congregational church, a community library, and a small public space for members of town. It is owned by the Congregational Church, who maintain it to this day.