Amos Bull House – Pulaski Mall

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Several people commented last week that I had gotten nice photos of the gardens of the Butler McCook Homestead, even though the museum is closed. The reason I was able to do that is because the Casimir Pulaski Mall runs alongside the McCook homestead. In addition, the park also spans the Amos Bull House, another historic home in Hartford. The two homes share a large lot in the city, and they share in the generosity of the McCook family.

According to – The Amos Bull House – one of four remaining 18th-century buildings in Hartford houses CTL’s administrative offices, archives and essential program and community education space. However, in 1968, the house was threatened with urban renewal-related demolition. To avoid that fate, it was the first building in Connecticut placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A city-wide preservation effort began and through the generosity of Frances McCook, the endangered Amos Bull House was moved to the rear of the Butler-McCook property and renovated. It is currently attached to the carriage house of the Butler McCook Homestead.

One of the few 18th century structures remaining in the city of Hartford, this building is reported to date from 1799 and to be a unique example of a town house of the period. Originally it stood at the sidewalk line, before being moved back in the early part of this century to its present position at the rear of a narrow lot. Less than 30 feet across the facade, it was planned to occupy a restricted city frontage, and the absence of original windows on the sides at the first two floors indicates closely abutting structures on neighboring lots.

The following information is from the nomination form. The first owner, Amos Bull, resided in the building and by 1791 was advertising in the local newspaper his business in dry goods and a wide assortment of such items as window glass, glue, whalebone, and metals, largely imported from Europe. He offered the property for sale in 1820, but before parting with it he opened a “reading academy” that imparted also arithmetic, geography, and other useful and necessary subjects. By 1887 the property housed a business dealing in furnaces, ranges, and plumbing, which occupied it more than thirty years, to be followed by various interests including an automobile dealer and finally a restaurant. It has been vacant for several years.

As for General Pulaski, he was a hero during the US Revolutionary War. There were over 300,000 Polish immigrants to Connecticut, and there are many statues, churches, and monuments to famous Polish people throughout the state of CT. At one end of the narrow Pulaski Park, it the Polish National Home, a gathering place for people of Polish decent. The base of the statue of General Casimir Pulaski is inscribed with his answer when asked why he came from Poland to join our revolution,

I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it…

General Casimir Pulaski

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  1. Hi Dan, these are interesting pictures. The Amos Bull house structure reminds me of a gingerbread house I saw in the Christmas gingerbread house challenge. It is good that these historical buildings have been preserved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad this structure was saved and restored, Robbie. It has a less significant history, but it is an interesting building, and it represents a slive of normal everyday life in the city over 200 years ago. Funny that it reminds you of a gingerbread house, but it does have a model home appearance in the pictures when it was on its own.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I’m glad they restored the house to the original windows and door placement. The building was built for utility. The arched windows were an attempt to make it into something it wasn’t meant to be.

      I enjoyed walking with your family today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the dappled shadowing on the side of the house. Casimir Pulaski Day is a song by Sufjan Stevens on the album “Illinoise” – rather sad and haunting ballad about a young girl dying from bone cancer. Worth a listen on YouTube, if you haven’t already heard it.
    My contribution is the first of nine weekly instalments on the doors of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The contrast between the dignity of the old house and the indignity of what appears to be an apartment building behind is striking. I know change is inevitable and sometimes even for the better, but it’s hard to imagine that the one should have replaced the other. The other thing that strikes me is how old the photo from 1968 looks. Ouch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That apartment building might be part of the urban renewal effort that was supposed to replace the Amos Bull house. I’m so glad they were able to relocate the house and restore it to its original condition. It is mildly disturbing to see “historic” photos from earlier in our lifetime. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you’re having a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Am I not seeing things correctly, or was the door moved and window styles altered? I am glad though that the buildings were saved and restored. Terrific pictures, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are seeing correctly, GP. The door was moved and the arches were added above the windows in a 20th century alteration. Personally, I’m glad they restored the facade to its original configuration. It was a very nice gesture of Francis McCook to allow the house to be moved to the homestead property (and help pay for the move and restoration).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank goodness for the National Registry, the preservation of such buildings and their doors, of course, is hugely important for communities and indeed nations.

    Our household is in self-isolation for 10 days, following my son’s positive test for COVID-19, so here is a selection of doors from the archive, which I actually prepared last weekend before I knew we’d be under house arrest… thinking ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • After falling into such a sorry state, it was remarkable that this house would be saved. Urban renewal, for the most part, was a dramatic failure in this country. It would be sad if this house had been lost.

      I hope your son is recovering.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The Amos Bull house is a grand old building, with or without a few windows and no matter where the main entrance is. But to see its condition in 1968 is just heartbreaking. Bravo to Francis McCook for his generosity.

    I’m glad when it was being restored it reverted back to its original design. It’s a solid, functional structural that has spunk!!

    I’m impressed by General Pulaski’s quote!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. It was heartbreaking to see the photos from 1968. I was worried, because I looked at the NRHP records before venturing out to take the photos. I wasn’t sure this house was going to be there. I was also confused by the address on the photos as being on Main St, but the address in a modern lookup placing it on Prospect St. I was very happy when I discovered that Francis McCook helped move and save this important home. I, too am glad they restored it back to its original form.

      I hope you came through the storms safe and a little cooler.


    • Thanks Norm. People have asked about you, so it was good to be able to include the link. At first, I was concerned about those pictures with the low sun. I thought about revisiting the house later during the day, but I decided I liked them.

      I hope you have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You say the name Pulaski and I immediately think of Star Trek: TNG. ☺️

    Your photos show such a relaxed place. I can see why it was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Most interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet. I like that these two houses were almost “nothing special” but they have become a central part of Hartford’s history due to the generosity of one of the owners. I think it fits well with General Pulaski, and I am glad the Pulaski Mall and these two homes are joined together.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. General Pulaski…I remember reading about him in grammar school history. This was a good memory-jogger, Dan. Urban renewal…the death of so many beautiful buildings. Thank goodness this one was saved.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the quote in the beginning! Freedom we should defend! Like how you highlighted the white house – a beauty! The door post I am linking, you already have seen, but I posted it early, since last Thursday I tried to publish it underneath my weekly post and I ended up in a war of two hours with passwords trying to get it done. Am more organized this week:). Have a great weekend! Jeshie2

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. I am so glad they had enough information about the original building. The 20th century modifications were not well done, in my opinion. I’m happy they got the building moved out of harm’s way and restored to it’s original configuration. Pulaski was a true hero.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the Amos Bull house. Can you see someone standing in front of it at some point and saying, “How’s about putting in some arched windows, moving the door to the center, and painting the whole thing white.” Thanks for the photos, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. FASCINATING history lesson, Dan!!! Amazing facts I once again did not know. As for that gallery, stunning before and afters especially. Awesome post, just awesome! You have a way that brings history to life. Perhaps in your next life you will be a history professor that students will clamor to have as their teacher. Thank you so much for sharing this information in the format you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amy. I’ve lived here for 40 years, and I only just learned the history of this building. The cool thing is that they are digitizing the old records, so I now have access to forms filed in 1968! That’s almost as amazing as the history of this building.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree! The technology that is available today is mind boggling if you ask me. I remember when the internet first came out and I couldn’t even fathom what I was told it could do. Today I take it for granted.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Some great pics, Dan. Thanks for bringing us the history as well. I particularly like the decoration above the ground-floor door and windows of the Amos Bull house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked this, Kirt. I was very happy to see that the house had been moved to a safe location and restored. There aren’t many houses from the 1700s around here, especially not within 1/2 mile of the city center.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Dan- really enjoyed this post and skimmed a few comment s- urban renewal really is needed in this country –
    and side note – I went to the Pulaski club in Daytona Beach area back in 2001 – and hubs and I went for a dinner and they had polish dancing afterwards
    it was fun

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks Dan – I’d love to see it … fascinating history and am so glad they’ve restored the house and it’s there for future generations – thanks for sharing with us … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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