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.
On February 26, 2008, Connecticut Landmarks acquired the Amos Bull House on South Prospect Street in Hartford from the State of Connecticut. The former home of the Historic Preservation and Museum Division of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Bull House is attached to the Butler-McCook House & Garden’s 1865 Carriage House.
In 2014, Connecticut Landmarks completed the Hartford Campus Project, to preserve the Amos Bull House and develop it as a key component of our Hartford Campus and eleven-property network.
Built as a dry goods store and a residence, the 18th-century Amos Bull House has had many uses: a hardware store, an auto dealership, insurance offices and a restaurant. Threatened with demolition in the 1960s, saved through a community campaign, it has been moved twice, enabling it to survive into the 21st century.
The gambrel-roofed, red-brick building is a high-style urban townhouse more commonly found in Philadephia and New York, making its significance for its age and architectural detailing even more unusual in Hartford. The Butler-McCook property and Amos Bull House make important and unique contributions to Hartford’s urban environment. The 18th-century houses and the 19th-century garden humanize the streetscapes through their modest scale, proximity to sidewalks, wood and brick construction and the inviting greenspace that links Main Street to South Prospect Street. They evoke a neighborhood of engaged residents and small businesses, providing a link from the past to the present in this continually occupied residential and commercial neighborhood.
Amos Bull (1744-1825) born and raised in Enfield and Farmington, completed his home in late 1789, when he was married to his third of five wives. Bull sold linens, hardware and household items in a store in the front of the first floor, advertising he was open for business in December 1789. He later discontinued his dry goods business and focused on hardware.
Financial difficulties led Bull to mortgage his property several times. In 1804, he advertised that he was opening a school for Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic and other learning, useful and necessary in common life. He opened a night school in 1812 and operated both until 1821. He served as the choir director at South Congregational Church and attended Christ Episcopal Church of Hartford. Bull sold his home in 1821, and the property was subsequently sold several times and used for various purposes, with owners making modifications.
In 1968 the house was threatened with urban renewal-related demolition. In response, it was the first building in Connecticut placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Through a city-wide preservation effort, and as a result of the generosity of Frances McCook, the endangered house was moved to the rear of the Butler-McCook property and renovated to serve as the headquarters of the Connecticut Historical Commission until 2007.