The History of South Windsor, CT

March 27, 2023

South Windsor was first founded in 1633.  While the town has a rich historical past, including being the birthplace of one of the most famous sermon writers of the Enlightenment period, Jonathan Edwards, it is a place that has retained its small town feel, even though it is now the fastest growing town in Connecticut. This is partly due to the well maintained historical buildings and the legends that are still talked about as lore.

Historical Sites in South Windsor

Photo made by Ava Nicole Shasha via PicsArt

South Windsor is a community with many historical sites open to the public.

Historical Sites in South Windsor

South Windsor, founded in 1633, and later established as its own town in 1845, may not seem all that historic, but with a closer look, you may stumble upon some of the historic sites that are still standing. Let this article be your guide to visiting South Windsor’s historical sites. 

Starting off this list is the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse, located at 771 Ellington Road, is a former one-room schoolhouse, built in 1862 (now a museum of South Windsor’s history). This building was used as a school up until 1952, until the building was later renovated and expanded to accommodate the current museum. This building is currently owned by the South Windsor Historical Society. The Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse is the only old district schoolhouse left in South Windsor that has not been demolished or converted to a home. 

Moving on, another district school that still stands, built in 1905, is the Union District School, located at 771 Main Street, was once the most modern school building in Connecticut; however, the most notable factor about this building is the common belief that the building is haunted. People have claimed to hear little girls singing in the union school’s boiler room. People have also claimed to hear the language of the Native Americans that once lived here throughout the school. Back in 2007, the South Windsor Historical Society bought the building for the price of $1. Currently, the Union School is under construction, with a price of $5 million dollars… from rags to riches as some may say about this building.

Let’s take a look at the Elmore-Burnham House, located 78 Long Hill Road. Built in 1861 by a family member of the Elmore family, the original plan was for this to be a one-story gambrel roofed house. Sally Elmore Burnham moved into the house, then, in the 1840’s, her nephew Timothy renovated the house to enlarge it, and also altered the house to a Greek Revival Style home. The house remained in the family until 1973. Currently, a family does reside in the house. 

A stroll across the street brings you to the Harvey Elmore House, at 87 Long Hill Road, built after the Elmore-Burnham house in 1843 as a Greek Revival Style home. The Elmore family settled in the Long Hill area. Harvey Elmore, who built the house, and lived in the house married Clarissa Burnham in 1830, and raised two children. Harvey and Clarissa’s daughter Mary Janette Elmore, lived in the house until her death in 1922. After her passing, reminisces which were written when she was 80 were found in the house’s attic. The Janette Elmore papers contain extensive notes on the genealogy and life of the Hayes family and neighbors, correspondence concerning family data, and newspaper articles and obituaries. A family currently resides at the home. 

What would this guide be without a three-story mansion? Great thing South Windsor has the John Watson House, located at 1876 Main Street. The mansion was Built in 1789 for John Watson, who was a prominent local merchant and farmer. John Watson would live in this house with his family until his death in 1824, in which his wife Anna Bliss would continue to live in the home, until her death in 1827. The Watson house stayed within the family until 1848, when the Bancroft family acquired the mansion. The Watson house still remains standing after being purchased in 2014 for almost $400,000.

Next on our list is a less commonly known site, The Commodore Charles Green House, 660 Main Street. Built in 1851,and designed by architect AJ Davis in a Gothic Revival style, it was home to Commodore Charles Green who was a naval officer who captured a Confederate blockade runner during the Civil War. The home stayed in the Green family until 1963 when it was sold to the Mahr family. Like most of the other homes on this list, a family does currently reside at this home. 

Finishing off our little historical trip, we find ourselves at the East Windsor Hill Post Office, 1865 Main Street. Built in 1757, over the years the building has housed a handful of small businesses, then in 1783 it received its first government post rider, and became the home to the East Windsor Hill Post Office in 1837, and currently is still an operating post office. It is one of the oldest continuously operated post offices in the country. 

Now that we have learned about all these amazing historical places in South Windsor, this is your sign to take a little trip through history and take a ride and see the history South Windsor has to offer. 


The Haunting of Beelzebub Road


The Avery Street Church, adjacent to Beelzebub road, at dusk.

The Haunting of Beelzebub Road

South Windsor’s most chilling street

Beelzebub, by definition, is 1: the devil, or 2: a fallen angel in Milton’s Paradise Lost ranking next to Satan. Beelzebub claims to cause destruction through tyrants, to cause demons to be worshiped among men, to excite priest to lust, to cause jealousies in cities and murders, and to bring war. 

If you drive down the long bumpy Beelzebub Road, you might not think much of it, but there are more chilling stories beneath the bumps on Beelzebub, and it starts decades back. With a road originally named “Lovely Street,” unexpected events would change the road forever. 

In the summer of 1922, on August 14th, South Windsor resident Mina Bissell went looking for her cow. Mrs. Bissell would not be seen again until December 11th, 1930. But when she was found, it was only her skeletal remains left. Before her skeleton and bones were found, her clothing was found 11.2 miles from where her remains were found. 

Bissell’s death was seemingly caused by foul play, but who would murder an innocent women? 

Walter Green, son of Mina Bissell. There have been a lot of stories and speculations about Green. Most claim he was an “odd” and “strange” person. Neighbors of Green alleged he was a violent man, others claimed he was crazy, while others believed he suffered from Alzheimer’s. It has also been rumored that Green was admitted to an insane asylum, and escaped. The Prowl was unable to verify these accounts.

No one was ever charged with the murder of Mrs. Bissell, but many people believe Walter Green, her son, was the most likely suspect.

Green and Bissell both lived in a house near the field on Beelzebub, which would later burn down due to a fire. If you drive down Beelzebub, you can still see where the house once stood. 

On September 23rd, 2003, Avery Street Church members awoke to the news that a fire caught in the education wing of the church, destroying and badly damaging the sanctuary. The fire had made the church uninhabitable.

While the church is called “Avery Street”, the church’s address is set on Beelzebub Road. But the church is named Avery Street, because why would a church name itself something related to the devil? 

While those are stories in old newspapers, there have been some claims from other South Windsor residents, under an article written on the CTMQ website about Beelzebub. Many people claimed to have seen an unknown man walking the streets of Beelzebub, some have claimed to have an eerie feeling when on the street. But one common factor is that when it comes to cell service, Beelzebub is known as a “dead zone,” if you look at your phone no matter what provider you have, you will notice you only have one bar all the way down the road. Coincidence? 

You will hear many different stories, and theories about this road. Some people believe that there is no connection between the name of the street, and the happenings of the street. Some people claim none of the stories are true.

The Origins of South Windsor’s Jonathan Edwards

The New York Public Library via Britannica

Jonathan Edwards, famed sermon writer of the Enlightenment period whose birthplace is recognized on Main Street in South Windsor.

The Origins of South Windsor’s Jonathan Edwards

Throughout history, people have had different theories and philosophies about how the world works. People’s views seem to change from generation to generation, from deep dark philosophies to happy and fulfilling ways on how to live life. From a historical perspective, Jonathan Edwards was someone who had dark thoughts during his time period.

Edwards was born on October 5th, 1703, in East Windsor, Connecticut. He was the son of a pastor of a church. Raised by religious parents, he followed in their footsteps choosing a career that dealt with religion. During the period  known as the “Great Awakening,” Edwards became one of the greatest theologians of his time.

Edwards spoke about God’s anger at sinners. He believed others would be saved by the studying and reading of God’s word. He theorized about the negative aspects of religion and God. He agreed with other people’s darker mind set, like the well-known John Locke. In tandem with Locke’s philosophy, he saw God as angry and someone who punishes sinners. He also believed that God couldn’t be all absolute or all universal.

Edwards words created fear. Fearing God’s almighty power made people fear him. Edwards methods used fear to control those that he preached to by saying sinners had the most dire consequences. He said they would burn in hell for all of eternity for not believing or confessing their sins. This scared people into not questioning the church. Edwards gained massive amounts of followers.

Edwards created images in people’s heads of hell and suffering.  For example Edwards preached “Hell is gaping for them; the flames gather and flash shout at them, and would prefer to lay hold of them and swallow them up. The fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no interest in any Mediator. There are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of. All that preserves them every moment is the sovereign, all-powerful will, the uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance, of an incensed God ” (Jonathan Edwards July 8th, 1741).

It is the legacy of his powerful sermons that is memorialized in South Windsor on Main Street. A remembrance of where he was born and of a time of strict Puritan beliefs.

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Ava Nicole Shasha, Editor

Ava Nicole Shasha is a senior at SWHS. Shasha is a ball of energy. She thrives when it comes to the topic of sports. She is determined to become the face of women in the sports industry.  She is excited...

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Andrew Kronenwetter, Staff Writer

Andrew Kronenwetter is a 15 year old sophomore at South Windsor High School. He lives off making people happy and driving with his friends.  Kronenwetter admires his family and prefers riding dirt bikes...

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Anthony Sosa, Staff Writer

Anthony Sosa is a sophomore at SWHS. As a freshman, Sosa was part of the SWHS swim team. This year, he is planning to join the SWHS wrestling team. Sosa enjoys spending his free time with his friends....

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