156-158 Sargeant Street

156-158 Sargeant Street
Built in 1897 by Charles F. Hurd, a businessman turned real estate developer, 156-158 Sargeant Street is a Queen Anne Style house with Colonial Revival elements. The asymmetrical front facade is dominated by a large gable over a two-story bay which is flanked by porches on both the first and second floor. A palladian-style window adorns the front gable. This feature is repeated in the gables found on both side elevations. The exterior walls are sided with clapboard on the first two floors and with shingles in the gables. The interior originally contained two three-story units separated by a brick fire wall running from front to back. A recent attempt to convert the structure into a rooming house has left nearly none of the original interior intact.

Hurd purchased this property along with the two adjoining lots at 152-154 and 148-150, all of which were across from the then newly created Sigourney Square Park. Hurd also built the houses on these two other lots at the same time, and 152-154 is structurally very similar to our house at 156-158.

Before Hurd got involved in real estate, he was the principal of Hurd, Mellen & Hewes, "the largest crockery and china business in the state" according to an 1895 article in the Hartford Courant. The business was located in the Waverly Building on Main Street in downtown Hartford, just south of where the Gold Building stands today. One of the first residents of 156-158 Sargeant Street was Hurd's former partner, Dwight N. Hewes, who continued the old business for many years under the name of The Mellen & Hewes Co.


Detailed Views of 156-158 Sargeant


The House: Before.

The House:  Before.
Here's what the house used to like. There's some dispute as to what the previous owner intended to do with the house: it looked like he was trying to carve the house up into three horizontal units -- in other words, three floors, three units -- but it wasn't entirely clear.

What we do know is that this house had been vacant and blighted for close to 10 years, and it posed a significant problem for the neighborhood because of that. The house is located at the corner of Sigourney and Sargeant, and Sigourney Street is a major thoroughfare into and out of the city. It's also directly across the street from Sigourney Square Park, a true gem in the neighborhood that in June 2013 saw the completion of a $700,000 capital improvement project there. The house was seen each day by thousands of people, and it had a powerfully negative influence on their perception of the neighborhood.

Some shots of the interior from before we went to work -- these have been selected because they're easily recognizable and because they match up with some of the photos above.