The Day-Taylor House was built in 1857 in a beautiful Italian Villa style architecture at the same time that Samuel Colt, the creator of the Colt Revolver built his Armsmear estate directly across the street. Located at the center of the Colt Architectural legacy at 81 Wethersfield Avenue, it has been a residence of several prominent Hartford, Connecticut families.
The Day-Taylor House was built by Hirim Billel, the highly esteemed Hartford builder who also built Connecticut’s State Capitol and the Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park. It was influenced by the ideas of Andrew Jackson Downing who wrote treatises on landscape design and architecture that were widely popular at the time. It is an example of a style that Downing called “Italianate” based on Italian farmhouses that were also being depicted in popular landscape paintings of the period.
The three story red brick masonry and white trimmed building has an asymmetrical facade dominated by floor-to-ceiling arched windows at every level, balconies, cast-iron lintels and a flat-roofed cupola. The brackets lining the low-pitched roof and cupola are particularly detailed and ornate. The three-part veranda of the front facade is supported by elaborate Corinthian columns. The front facade has remained unchanged since its original construction.
The first owner and resident was Albert F. Day, a descendant of Robert Day who was one of the original colonial settlers of Hartford. The house was later occupied by his father, a Connecticut Attorney General. Later owners included Mary Borden Munsill of the Borden Milk company and Edwin Taylor. In 1928 the house was bought by the Fraternal Order of Eagles who used it as a meeting house, and headquarters. In 1974 it was bought by the Hartford Redevelopment Agency.
The Day-Taylor House is also significant located in Hartford’s Colt architectural legacy which stretches along both sides of Wethersfield Avenue for two blocks. The area has become designated as the Coltsville Historical District.
The Day-Taylor House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It had a significant restoration in 1979 and the building now serves as offices. The combination of it being built by one of Hartford’s most distinguished builders Hirim Billel, that it was built the same year and directly across the street from the Samuel Colt Home and the Armsmear Estate Park, and that it has been owned and occupied by so many notable Hartford residents makes it one of Hartford, Connecticut’s most important historical homes.