Bennezer Hale House, Wethersfield, Connecticut

The house at 527 Main Street in Wethersfield, around 1935-1942. Image courtesy of the Connecticut State Library, State Archives, RG 033:28, WPA Records, Architectural Survey.

The house in 2024:

Various sources give contradictory information regarding the age and ownership history of this house. The top photo was taken around the late 1930s or early 1940s as part of a Depression-era project to document historic buildings in Connecticut. Part of the documentation includes a description of the property, which states that it was built in 1690 as the home of Sergeant John Latimer. However, the historical marker that is on the house in the bottom photo in 2024 states that it was built around 1745 as the home of Bennezer Hale and Ann Woodhouse. Given the architectural style of the house, the 1745 date seems more plausible than 1690, and it coincides with the wedding of Bennezer Hale and Ann Woodhouse, who were married in Wethersfield on January 2, 1745.

By the time the top photo was taken, the house was owned by Charles B. and Elizabeth Allen. They were living here in the 1930 and 1940 federal censuses, and the photo documentation lists the house as being in “Good” physical condition. However, the photo itself seems to tell a different story, since the house is missing most of its first-floor windows, the front door is off the hinges, and some of the clapboards are falling off. The documentation does not make any specific note of this damage, but it seems likely that this was caused by the flood of March 1936, which caused extensive damage along the banks of the Connecticut River. The Cove Warehouse, which is visible in the distance of both photos, was damaged by this flood, so it seems likely that the house was as well, given its proximity to the warehouse and to the Wethersfield Cove.

Regardless of the cause of the damage, the house was subsequently restored, and today it stands in much better condition when compared to the top photo. It is one of the many surviving 18th century homes that line Main Street in Wethersfield, and it is part of the Wethersfield Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

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