Friday, November 9, 2018

North to New Hampshire…

Time for us to head north toward New Hampshire and our eventual goal along the Maine Coast.  We left Waterford Connecticut on CT Hwy. 32 and then took I-395 until we exited on CT Hwy. 169.  As usual, I was attempting to minimize our time on the Interstate Highway system…

Highway 169 is shown as a scenic route on many maps.  It didn’t take long before we started taking photos!  It was the beginning of many photos of striking architectural buildings along our route.

This is the John Bishop House and Museum in Lisbon Connecticut.  It was built ca. 1810 and it’s operated and maintained through the Lisbon Historical Society.  This Federal-style L-shaped farmhouse at 11 South Burnham Highway has 7 fireplaces.  Its worthy of note that this home has a well in the pantry/buttery so the family didn’t have to go outside to get water.

Four successive Congregational Church buildings had occupied the same spot on Canterbury Green (Canterbury Connecticut) over a 300 year period.  The church (congregation) was established in 1711 and then work began on the first church at the Green’s highest point.  The second church was built in 1735 and the third in 1805.  This church may look old but in reality it was built in 1964 to replace the previous building that burned down in 1963.  It does have that classic New England look though…

This house is known by various names…the Prudence Crandall House, Elisha Payne House and as the Prudence Crandall School for Negro Girls.  The house is notable for being the home of Prudence Crandall, abolitionist and educator and for being the school for African American girls from 1832 until 1834.  The home, which was built in 1805, is now home to the Prudence Crandall Museum. 

When the school first opened it had all-white students, then Crandall admitted one black girl.  This is believed to be the first integrated secondary school in the USA.  However, admission of the black girl led to protests and the withdrawal of the white students.  Crandall then re-opened the school as an all-black school with up to 24 students, mostly boarding students from other states. 

Court challenges followed and the case became a national sensation.  The Connecticut Legislature passed a “Black Law” in 1833 prohibiting blacks from out-of-state to receive education unless the town the school was in specifically allowed it.  Crandall was arrested and spent a night in jail.  Later, after receiving a court ruling in favor of the school, a mob attacked the school with clubs and iron bars breaking 90 windows.  It had to be terrifying for the students and Prudence as well… She closed the school the next day.


·         Prudence Crandall is the official female hero of the State of Connecticut.

This is the “new” Trinity Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Connecticut.  This stone Gothic Revival church was built in the town center in 1866.  Although this striking structure with its parish house are where most services and celebrations are held, the “Old” Trinity Episcopal Church, a wooden structure that we didn’t see, is just down the road.  That church and this congregation is 247 years old, having been established in 1771. 

The “Old” church is the oldest remaining Episcopal Church in Connecticut.  For information and to see a couple of photos, just go to,_Connecticut).

The Unitarian Meetinghouse in Brooklyn Connecticut was completed in 1774.  Along with the old Trinity Episcopal Church, this is one of a small number of pre-Revolutionary churches remaining in the state.  This congregation was organized in 1731 and their first meeting house was in the nearby town of Pomfret.  The Brooklyn Meetinghouse was first proposed in 1763, but was opposed for many years by local Anglicans (Episcopalians).  The bell tower is actually a ‘new’ addition to the Meetinghouse, having been added in 1845.

This church’s first Unitarian Minister was the Reverend Samuel May.  He was a noted peace activist, education reformer, temperance crusader and supporter of women’s rights.  He was one of the principal supporters of Prudence Crandall and her school.  In 1871, the Unitarian Universalist Society in Brooklyn ordained Rev. Celia Burleigh, the first female Unitarian minister in the country.

This is the Town Hall for Brooklyn Connecticut.  This 2.5 story Federal style building was built in 1820.  It has a full basement.  I couldn’t find much about this building, except that prior to its use as the town hall, it served the town as a jail. 

This is the Lasell Alumni House at Pomfret School in Pomfret Connecticut.  The school was founded in 1894.  The campus includes brick Georgian and Colonial Revival buildings built during the first decade of the 1900s.  The campus was designed by renowned Landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. (He designed Central Park in New York City and many others) Well known architect Ernest Flag designed many of the building on campus. (Learn more about Flag at

Pomfret School is an independent college preparatory boarding and day school serving 360 students from grades 9 through 12.  The average class size is 11 and there is a teacher student ratio of 6:1.  I personally attended a college prep school, DeVeaux School in Niagara Falls NY, but it wasn’t as upscale as Pomfret School appears to be.

A number of buildings on campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Some of the more significant structures include: The Admissions Building, ca. 1888; The Headmaster’s House built in 1896; Pomfret School’s Clark Chapel – 1908; The School House – 1907, and; four brick dormitories ca. 1910.

To learn more about the Pomfret School, you can go to their website at  It’s pretty impressive…

This is Roseland Cottage, aka. Henry C. Bowen House, in Woodstock Connecticut.  The ‘cottage’ is listed as a National Historic Landmark and it’s considered to be one of the best-preserved and best documented Gothic summer houses in the USA.  The original interior décor is virtually intact.  The entire complex includes a boxwood parterre garden, an ice house, garden house, carriage barn and the nation’s oldest surviving indoor bowling alley.

To say the Henry Chandler Bowen was ‘connected’ would apparently be an understatement.  Chandler was a businessman, philanthropist and publisher.  He founded the New York based Newspaper, The Independent

Beginning in 1870, the year that Congress made July 4th an official Federal Holiday, the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the United States were held at Roseland Cottage.  Four US Presidents visited the home as guests and speakers for these events.  They included Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley.  Other prominent visitors included Henry Ward Beecher, Julia Ward Howe, Oliver Wendell Holmes and John C. Fremont.

Woodstock Connecticut is just about 4 miles north of Pomfret on CT Hwy. 169…and here is another historic school.  This is the Woodstock Academy’s Classroom Building.  Built in 1873, it’s the oldest building on the campus of the Woodstock Academy.  It’s the only academic building in the state that has retained significant Italianate features.

Woodstock Academy was founded in 1801.  This independent high school serves residents from Brooklyn, Canterbury, Eastford, Pomfret, Union and Woodstock Connecticut.  Taxpayers from the various towns listed above pay student tuition through municipal taxes.  The school also accepts tuition paying students from other surrounding towns and states as day students and from elsewhere in the USA and the world as boarding students.

Remember Henry Chandler Bowen, the original owner of Roseland Cottage and mega host for July 4th celebrations?  In 1843, Bowen purchased and renovated the Woodstock Academy.  He also built a boarding house next to the school.  He came to the rescue again in 1867, raising funds for a new dormitory. 
To learn more about Woodstock Academy, just go to

I’ve been unable to find any information regarding the Crossroads Christian Church.  It is a classic and handsome structure… I found another photo of it in Flickr giving its location in North Woodstock Connecticut.  I should have written down the location when I took the photo but I figured (in error) that finding it on the Internet would be a ‘no-brainer’.  Wrong!

Notre Dame Catholic Church on Main Street in Southbridge Massachusetts was built from 1912 – 1916.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.  The parish was founded in 1869 to serve the needs of the French Canadian community who began migrating to the area starting in the 1830s.  

This was the last of 3 churches built in the state for French congregations by Canadian architect Joseph Venne.  This very large church is 190 feet long and 75 feet wide.  The tower is 210 feet high!  The organ for this church was built in 1916 by the Casavant Freres Pipe Organ Company of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.  To learn more about this parish and church, go to

FYI… About 2.1 million US residents cited a French-Canadian/Canadien ancestry in the 2010 US Census.  Per that census, the majority of them speak French at home.  There is a heavy concentration of Canadien Americans in New England.  In the late 1800s, with few opportunities at home many of them immigrated from Quebec and New Brunswick to work in USA textile mills, saw mills and logging camps.

The First United Methodist Church in Southbridge Massachusetts was founded in 1834.  However, I was unable to find any information on this building and the church’s website doesn’t offer any history either.  It does appear to be an old building…but so did that Congregational Church in Canterbury Connecticut.

To learn about this church community, you can go to

By now, it was getting a bit later in the morning and we had an attraction we wanted to check out in New Hampshire before it closed.  So we kept moving along, taking photos whenever the impulse struck us.  Loved this old red New England style home and barn.  It was located somewhere between Southbridge and Barre Massachusetts on MA Hwy 131, 148 or 67. 

The first public library for the town of Barre Massachusetts was founded as the result of a gift from Samuel Gates in 1857, but there wasn’t any building where the collection could be housed.  Space for the library was shared with the Post Office until the Barre Library Association raised the funds to build an actual dedicated library.  A generous gift from a prominent local citizen named Henry Woods pushed the effort over the top.  The library was completed in 1887. 

The Woods Memorial Library, located at 19 Pleasant Street really looks more like an old mansion than a library doesn’t it?  The Library’s website is at

The Barre Congregational Church was founded with 32 members in 1827.  Today it has over 230 members.  The church itself was completed in August of 1849.  It was built in one year…on land donated to the church by Henry Woods…the same Henry Woods who gave Barre a high school plus the aforementioned library, both named in his honor. 

Over the years the church has had multiple steeples.  The first one was blown down in 1915, but parishioners fully restored it.  In 1938, the Great Hurricane blew the steeple down again…and it was replaced again.  There is a bell located in the middle tier of the 3-tier steeple.  To learn more about this congregation, go to


·         The 1938 Great New England Hurricane was the most powerful and deadly hurricane in recorded New England History.  It was a Category 5 when it first struck Long Island on its route to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  It’s estimated that this storm killed 682 people, damaged or destroyed more than 57,000 homes and caused property losses of $4,700,000,000 measured in 2016 dollars.

I thought that I’d end this post with this striking Greek revival home.  This is the Lee/Holman House.  It was built by Abiathar Lawrence in 1840.  He lived in the house until 1877.  It passed through the hands of a couple other individuals until it was purchased by the Barre Gazette Publishers.  They actually printed a local newspaper on the premises from 1933 until 1950.  Today this home is once again a private residence.

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for riding along with us on the backroads of Connecticut and Massachusetts!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. You got many great shots of the old structures

  2. I love all these houses! I love all old houses and churchs I dont know why but I love them. Thanks by sharing Don!