Our ride to the Goshen Fair had us mostly hugging Rt-4 through the part of Connecticut (CT) that lies between Central CT and northwest CT. As you consider those compass designations, keep in mind that CT is the third smallest state in the US, so carving it up into sections might be cutting along a fine line.
We followed Rt-4 through the towns of Burlington, Harwinton and Torrington. Torrington is a fairly large city. Its 36,000 residents puts it in the top-twenty CT cities ranked by size. It lies along the Naugatuck River, which you might remember from an earlier visit to the bar after we were riding the Naugatuck Railroad. When I left off with the doors last week, we were had just left Torrington, heading east into Harwinton. Today’s gallery includes a few more doors from Harwinton and several doors from Burlington.
Two of the buildings in Burlington are listed on a Connecticut History page, and one is included in the National Registry of Historic Places. The Burlington Congregational Church has an interesting history that reminds us of the degree to which New England towns and governments were formed by the Congregational Church:
“In the eighteenth century, two parishes were established in what was then the West Woods section of Farmington: The New Cambridge Ecclesiastical Society in 1742 and the West Britain Ecclesiastical Society, in 1774. — Those two parishes joined in 1785 to form the new town of Bristol, but differences between the two parishes later led to the separation of West Britain as the town of Burlington in 1806.
The first meeting house had been outgrown by then. According to Epaphroditus Peck, in a 1906 Address on the history of Burlington:
‘It is said that this little meeting-house was never finished inside, and that the swallows used to make their nests in the rafters and often fly in and out during service.’
The 1809 Congregational Church of Burlington was moved, reduced somewhat in size, and rebuilt in the Greek Revival style at its current location on the Burlington Green in 1836.”
Across the green from that church is the more secular, Elton (some say Brown) Tavern. This building was built as a private residence, turned into a tavern serving people traveling on the Litchfield Stage Line along the George Washington Turnpike, and the returned to a private residence through several owners. The following is from the NRHP nomination form:
“This structure, used at one time as a tavern, is now in somewhat poor condition. Potentially restorable to prominence on the town green, it has many interesting features — It is given a blocky, square look by its centered front entry and Palladian style window above. The front entry has a fan Light in five sections and sidelights. Its triangular pediment was once supported by columns; it now stands alone . Its very small modillions give it a carefully planned and executed appearance. Adding to the detail is a design around the fan window. Flush against the facade, fluted pilasters meet at a wide frieze. The modified version of a Palladian window echoes the fluted pilasters and frieze at the capitals, flanking the center window. The window sash is twelve over twelve and has gracefully arching muntins at the top forming the rounded center. In the front gable is a delicate round wooden fanlight. On the raking and return cornices are modillions and dentils, again testimony to the degree of detail offsetting the house.”
Since nominated in 1972, things began looking up for the Elton Tavern. It was purchased by the Town of Burlington in 1974 and is now home to the Burlington Historical Society, which is restoring the building as a museum. Included in the gallery are photos from the nomination form, and a couple from last week.
It’s also interesting to see someone named “Epaphroditus” as it was Epaphroditus Frampton who first recommended centering the entrance of the tavern on the front of the building, facing the green. He was quoted as saying:
“Nothing warms the heart of a weary stage traveler as much as the sight of a beautiful door.”
Generations later, one of his descendants, Norm Frampton, holds true to his great, great, great…whatever’s love of doors. Each week, Norm invites the international community to come to his stage stop in Canada. So, hitch your team and point your stage to Norm’s place. Check in with the little blue frog and share and enjoy doors from around the world.