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.

Canton First Congregational Church // 1814

In 1750, a new parish church was established as The First Ecclesiastical Society of West Simsbury, with parishioners meeting in members’ homes. Then, Canton Connecticut was still a part of Simsbury. In 1763, the Parish constructed a meetinghouse with the building also used for town meetings and other public gatherings. In 1806, Canton separated from Simsbury and the congregation soon after decided that the nearly 50 year old primitive building needed replacement. A new building was proposed and materials were harvested. Stories report that the first tree felled for lumber for the new church killed a parishioner. The beautiful Federal style church edifice features Palladian windows, a hallmark of the style. The congregation is active to this day.

Alson and Sadosa Barbour Houses // c.1840

Alson and Sadosa Barbour (sometimes spelled Barber) grew up in North Canton, Connecticut and resided in these two homes, raising families and farming the land. The blue house was built in 1839 for Alson Barbour, who updated his earlier 1814 home which was gifted to him by his father as a wedding gift. The smaller home was outgrown by Alson, Hannah, and their 12 children (all living to adulthood) and he built this stately Greek Revival home on the quiet, meandering road. Not to be outdone by his brother, Sadosa too added onto his earlier home, also a wedding gift from his father. The 1803 house was enlarged in 1840 and given its present appearance, a modest Greek Revival home with a side-gable roof.

Which house is your favorite?

Canton Center Schoolhouse // 1872

Canton, Connecticut, the only town in the state named after a city in China! The land which we now know as Canton had long been inhabited, specifically by the Wappingers, a group in the larger Algonquin speaking tribes. Canton was incorporated out of Simsbury in 1806, and named after the City of Canton in China (now known as Guangzhou), though I am not sure why. The town quickly developed two main villages. Collinsville sits on the Farmington River and its power was harvested for industry; while the center village grew differently as an agricultural village of farms. At the center of town sat a green for civic and town functions and gatherings. The town constructed a school here as far back as 1759, when the rural village was still a part of Simsbury. This is the fourth building on the green and it was built in 1872, and can be classified as Italianate in style. The building was occupied as a school until 1949, and it was used for other city uses until 1971, when the building was rented to the Canton Artist’s Guild and the building was renamed Gallery on the Green. The building remains community-focused and holds exhibits of local artists! Much of the rest of Canton Center lost all of its bucolic charm when the main road became commercialized, prioritizing speeding cars over a walkable village.

Gay Mansion // 1795

In 1795, Ebenezer King bought 26 acres of land on Main Street in Suffield, Connecticut for the development of his own house. He at the time was in the height of his prosperity and was estimated of having a net worth of $100,000. He eventually sold his property in 1811 to William Gay, who was a leading lawyer in Hartford County, and the postmaster of Suffield, actually running the town’s post office out of this home for over 30 years. The home is currently owned by Suffield Academy as the headmaster’s home. It is an excellent example of Federal style architecture and features two Palladian windows!