Resident captures town's rich history in drawings
By ANTHONY BRANCIFORTE
Jan. 22, 2018
EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — While the town's nine-month-long celebration of its 250th anniversary includes plenty of festivities, amateur artist and local history buff Gerald Coulter hopes his contribution will help residents better understand the town they're celebrating.
Coulter, a retired English literature professor originally from Ohio, said he became fascinated with East Windsor history after moving to the town in the mid-1990s.
He said he became particularly interested in the town's oldest architecture, which worked hand-in-hand with another post-retirement hobby: pen-and-ink artwork.
To commemorate East Windsor's newest milestone, Coulter has displayed several of his drawings, which were done over the past 10 years, along with summaries of each building's history.
His drawings depict buildings as they originally existed, or at least as they existed as far back as his research has revealed.
"This building still exists, but you'd never realize it," Coulter said as he showed off a drawing of an old elementary school that has since been transformed into the Town Hall Annex.
Coulter's display is a natural fit for the Warehouse Point Library, which houses much of the material Coulter has used in his research.
He said his depictions come from old postcards, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
"I didn't know postcards existed in 1910, but they sure did," he remarked.
Some of the structures pictured include Middleton's General Store, built circa 1885 at 94 Main St. and now used as an apartment building; the original A.F. Geissler Grocery Store, which now houses Brookside Package Store; and Pigeon's Drug and Dry Goods Store, which closed in the 1970s and is now home to the At the Dam Restaurant and the Agonist Gallery.
Coulter attributed written history accompanying his works to research by deceased East Windsor historian Michael C. DeVito, state historical texts, and a survey on older buildings commissioned by the town several decades ago.
Some of Coulter's works are also displayed in the Osborn House, a recently renovated home that was built in 1785 and sits on the Historical Society's campus along with several other centuries-old structures that the organization maintains.
He said he has donated several works that are for sale at the Historical Society.
Coulter, who said his work largely depicts a once-booming town with a number of hotels, mills, and gin distilleries, said his mission is to both impart his knowledge onto others and spark their curiosity about the town's history.
"That kind of history I find fascinating," he said, "and I hope that these drawings and the text accompanying them pique some people's interests."
Information from: Journal Inquirer, http://www.journalinquirer.com