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Newington Junction South Historic District


The Newington Junction South Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Newington Junction South Historic District consists of properties located on either side of Willard Avenue surrounding its intersection with Stoddard Avenue. To the north and west are the main railroad tracks linking Hartford and New Haven. The Newington Junction South Historic District contains approximately ten acres, and within it are nine contributing buildings (six houses, the old North District schoolhouse [now the American Legion meeting hall] and two early 20th-century garages) and two non-contributing buildings (a modern residence and a modern garage). From its highest point on the west side of Willard Avenue across from Stoddard Avenue, the land slopes downward on the west toward Piper Brook, which flows through the rear of the western properties in the district, and slopes more gently downward in all other directions. Though the contributing buildings themselves vary greatly in age (c.1725-c.1915), they are all much older than the newer development, both residential and commercial, nearby. This fact, together with the generally larger size of the older structures, their larger lots and their higher architectural quality, creates a visual and historical relationship that is the basis for the district boundaries. These buildings historically were part of the greater Newington Junction community, but changes over times, in particular the c.1935 Willard Avenue overpass spanning the railroad tracks, have cut off this area from the rest of the Junction.

The Newington Junction South Historic District buildings exhibit several different architectural styles and portray the development of the Junction neighborhood. The oldest structure, built c.1725 at 319 Willard Avenue, is a five-bay, center chimney Colonial house. Its exterior combines brick at the first floor level and wood shingles above (over original clapboards). The plan and fenestration are characteristic of its time while the brickwork is a bit unusual.

Clustered around the intersection of Willard and Stoddard Avenues, just to the north, are five homes and the old schoolhouse. The oldest structure in this group, at 282 Willard Avenue, is a three-bay, c.1850, wood-framed house. Its features illustrate the transition then underway from the Greek Revival to the Italianate style. While the Italianate predominates in the building's plan, main and porch rooflines with projecting eaves, paired brackets and porch detailing, the front entrance, six-over-six windows and frieze windows are Greek Revival elements. Diagonally across the street, situated at the head of Stoddard Avenue, is the c.1875 Italianate house at 293 Willard Avenue. This building is a fully developed and sophisticated example of its style, and the long, paired, round-headed windows that open onto delicate, wrought-iron balconies, together with its arcaded porches (front and rear) with heavily molded columns, are especially responsible for its grand appearance. The flushboard sheathing achieves an effect somewhat similar to that of stucco, a popular element of this style.

In visual contrast with these buildings are two adjacent and later houses. 268 Willard Avenue is a late example of the Gothic Revival style (c.1880). Its steeply-pitched cross gables, wall dormers and combination of clapboard and board-and-batten sheathing typify this style, whereas its windows and porch detailing, on the other hand, are features common to other styles of the period as well. Across the street at #277, to the north of and lower in elevation than #293, is a modest Queen Anne house, c.1900. Though simple in plan, which suggests the influence of the emerging Colonial Revival style, the building presents the combination of sheathings (clapboard and decorative shingles) and porch details characteristic of the Queen Anne style.

The schoolhouse at the southeast corner of the intersection of Willard And Stoddard Avenues (c.1870) is near the site of a much older school that dated back to the 1750s. The simple vernacular appearance of the present structure is disguised partly by synthetic siding, an enclosed porch and later rear and side additions.

Significance

Each residence is a fine, if not excellent, rendition of a period architectural style. The well-executed Italianate proportions and details of 293 Willard Avenue are perhaps the finest, and the beauty of this design attests to the taste and affluence of its builder, Henry Laurens Kellogg, the proprietor of the satinet factory. #268, 282 and 319 were built by succeeding generations of the Stoddard family, and these buildings are noteworthy in part because they illustrate, within close proximity of one another, the progression of architectural taste in one family over a span of more than 100 years. Each is also a fine example of its style. 282 Willard Avenue gracefully combines the Greek Revival and Italianate styles, #268, in turn, is a restrained, though very typical and attractive, example of the Gothic Revival, a relatively rare style in Newington of which there are few survivors. Despite altered exterior sheathing and later additions, 319 Willard Avenue is a well-proportioned and appealing member of the select family of surviving 18th-century houses in Newington.

The old North District School at 294 Willard Avenue contributes to this architectural distinction because it is a largely intact, rural two-room schoolhouse of typically vernacular design.

Historical Background

The residents, buildings and sites associated with the Newington Junction South Historic District have contributed to the history of the Multiple Resource Area in many ways. The Stoddard family, for example, were among the recipients of the "Mile-in-Breadth" grants in 1670. John Stoddar (sic) signed the 1712 petition for creation of the separate Newington parish. Members of this family farmed the land for generations, built many homes and lived in the district into the 1970s. A number still reside in town. John Gaylord Stoddard, who lived at and reputedly built 282-284 Willard Avenue, was a town selectman in 1883-85 and 1898. Henry Laurens Kellogg, of 293 Willard Avenue, owned the satinet factory that stood nearby (1839-1890s) close to Piper Brook. His family was equally distinguished in town history. The North District School is the successor to the original school on the same site that was built around 1757. Generations of children attended school in the present building, erected c.1870, until it was superseded by a new school on West Hill Road (built 1923 and now demolished).

† Gregory E. Andrews, Newington Historical Society and John Herzan, Connecticut Historical Commission, Historic Resources of Newington Junction, Newington, CT, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Newington Junction South Historic District Map

Street Names
Route 173 • Willard Avenue

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