Historic Hartford home rehabbed for disabled veteran and family
When Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Hartford’s Capitol Avenue acquired the abandoned home next door, church administrators planned to convert the house into veteran housing.
The home, located at 315 Capitol Ave., is across the street from the state armory building and the veterans memorial in Minuteman Park. After learning the extent of reconstruction the home required, church administrators realized the project was beyond their scope.
As the home was built in 1890, the church was prevented from demolishing it after the city’s Historic Preservation Commission deemed the building historically significant in 2019.
Greg Secord, a member of the Frog Hollow Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee, said that after realizing the rehab project was beyond the church’s abilities, parishioners reached out to Habitat for Humanity of North Central Connecticut.
“Reality snuck in and they realized they really couldn’t afford to rehab the building because it’s in such poor shape,” Secord said. “They applied for a permit to demolish the building, and a bunch of us historic preservationists spoke very loudly opposing the demolition and then offered the opportunity to the church to provide a little free consulting to see if we can find a higher and better use for the property.”
Habitat for Humanity began construction last summer with more than 1,000 volunteers working on the project.
The home is now the property of Marine Corps veteran Edmundo Carmona.
Carmona, a disabled veteran and native of Peru, grew up in Hartford after moving to the country when he was 10 years old. Carmona became emotional as he thanked those gathered.
“I am very grateful for the program for giving us this opportunity in becoming homeowners, and I cannot wait to start this new journey,” Carmona said.
Carmona will live in the newly renovated home with his wife, Melissa, daughter, Janeese, son, Anthony, and mother, Mirtha.
“My wife and I live down the street, and we are so excited to be passing by this house for 24 years and finally seeing it lived in,” Secord said.
Acquiring and rehabilitating the home became a two-year process, said Amber Schilberg, spokesperson for North Central Connecticut Habitat.
Habitat took ownership of the home in July 2021, and remediation and demolition started in the fall of 2021. Renovations began in March last year and were completed this month.
“The construction [and] renovation portion that volunteers were involved with took one year,” Schilberg said.
Construction wasn’t without difficulties, as vandals broke into and looted the home in January. The burglars stole a boiler and tools left on the site, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.