Wallace Burdette Goodwin (June 17, 1889 - January 21, 1965) was one of the Hartford area's oldest real estate developers and insurance agents. He was a direct descendant of Ozias Goodwin, one of the founders of Hartford. He was also a member of the First Company, Governor's Foot Guard, and a charter member of the Elmwood Community Church in West Hartford. In business for 54 years, he was responsible for many real estate projects, including most of Elmwood's suburban lots and Wood Pond in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Early Life and Career Edit
Goodwin was born on June 17, 1889 in Elmwood, West Hartford, the son of Harvey Burdette Goodwin and Anne Bramley. He acquired a practical education in the public schools of West Hartford, Connecticut, and was a graduate of the high school in West Hartford Center in June 1907. He played for the Elmwood Juniors baseball team as the captain. In 1906, he also gained practical experience in business life with the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company. On July 18, 1910, after working with the company, he severed ties and became a traveling salesman with the Hartford branch of the Fidelity & Casualty Company of New York. He was presented with a traveling bag and a silk umbrella.
On December 12, 1910, however, he formed the Wallace B. Goodwin Company for real estate and insurance, taking a classified advertisement out in the newspaper. The company was formalized on March 22, 1911 after partnership with Harry C. Lang, with operations beginning at 40 Pearl Street in Hartford - the Connecticut Mutual Building, which was demolished in the 1960's. In October 1912, Goodwin purchased the old farm of Newman A. Sears and cut it up into residential lots. The property, which was wild and undeveloped, was renewed. Several small, comfortable bungalows were constructed on the grounds, fit with city water, sewage, and electric lighting. This "Bungalow Farms" development was successful when it began in October 1913. Several Instead of running a street through the section and selling the lots, Goodwin preserved the old-time standing of Elmwood. Through the months following, Bungalow Farms was visited every weekday by large parties. In May 1914, the property was sold off relatively quickly. He had the support of the entire area, as the Goodwin name was synonymous with the growth of the region.
In late April 1915, Goodwin purchased property on South Quaker Lane from Frederick Whalen Talcott for development of Burgoyne Gardens. It had a commanding view of Talcott Mountain, Charter Oak Park, and miles of surrounding country. Development began in May 1915; at the time of development, his partner was Charles A. Case and the Bungalow Farms development still had six lots left. Ornamental cobblestone posts with flowering plants on top by June 6, 1915. At the end of May, some barns and outbuildings of the Talcott estate were cleared. In August 1915, Lot No. 15 was sold to John G. Black. By the spring of 1917, the company opened an office in Elmwood on New Britain Avenue. In the summer of 1917, after the U.S. was introduced into World War I, Goodwin registered in West Hartford.
By July 1923, the Wallace B. Goodwin Company was selling Togan ready-built garages constructed in Hartford.n On April 26, 1927, Goodwin was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce. In late November 1928, Wallace B. Goodwin Company was officially incorporated by a certificate of organization, starting at $100 per share. In June 1929, the company sold the former Dower Farm on South Street at Newington Junction to Louis Maglaty, who developed the property. By the summer of 1930, business was booming as single homes were developed and sold. In January 1934, the company sought approval for the location of a gasoline station at 1109 New Britain Avenue in Elmwood. On April 7, 1935, he stated that there was a decided upward swing in building due to availability of mortgage money and a brisk demand for residences in West Hartford. His firm experienced the best month since the Depression started. In October 1935, Goodwin purchased 14 building sites on Fern Street in West Hartford for the development of Fernbel Lane. On September 19, 1936, the first model gas home in the tract was open for public inspection.
In mid-December 1936, Goodwin began the Woodridge Tract on Ridgewood Road, the first of four colonial-type houses designed by Norris F. Prentice. Goodwin was particularly enthusiastic about the country-like setting afforded by the wooded area and the small lake. The Fernbel Tract was completely finished by March 1937. By that time, building was unusually active. After the development of the Woodridge Tract, his son's home was entered into an electric kitchen contest on April 4, 1937. On October 31, 1937, ten houses were started on a new tract on Grove Street. By the summer of 1937, contractors extended the road to Elmfield Street. As the winter of early 1938 hit, many West Hartford people attempted to skate at Wood Pond, but Goodwin sent them away with the threat of a police officer.
By December 1950, he had moved to Clinton, Connecticut, for ten years and developed Old Harbor Village at the shoreline. Developments continued through 1959 in Clinton, the last mention of the company's existence. Only a half decade later, he passed away.
Personal Life and Death Edit
In 1914, he began a relationship with Lulu Cadwell, who had a child with her first husband, Amos L. Towle. He traveled with her family to Clinton on vacations in the summers of 1914 and 1915. On December 18, 1915, he finally married her, making her child his stepson. They stayed at the Hotel McAlpin in New York after their reception. When they returned, they made thier home at 1052 New Britain Avenue in Elmwood, West Hartford. In November 1919, he was made the chairman of the Boy Scout troop committee of Troop No. 74 in Elmwood. In the summer of 1923, the family took an extended vacation at their cottage in Clinton, Connecticut; by the end of the 1920's, they were very connected with the Clinton beach. By November 1931, his son was married.
In 1940, Goodwin moved with his wife from West Hartford to Clinton, Connecticut, living on Waterside Lane. He was responsible for developing the Old Harbor Village district there into the early 1950's. Goodwin died on January 21, 1965 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut.