Henry Green Applies for a Permit to Build a Laboratory

05/01/1896 |


Henry Green applied for – and received – a permit to build a wooden laboratory at the rear of 50 Ashley Street.

Neat little tidbit

The permit gives us the following details about the laboratory:

  • Structure would be 15 feet by 30 feet
  • Foundation would be brick piers
  • Roof would be gabled and covered with glass and shingle
  • Chimney would be brick lined with tile
  • And the walls … ?

Unfortunately, the handwriting is difficult to read.  It looks like it read “Walls above framed standing shenthore y buttoned.”  This would be the handwriting of George Gilbert, building inspector.

Trust but verify

The lab was demolished at an unknown point, but an 1896 Hartford atlas shows one wood building at the rear of 50 Ashley Street.  It raises a question as to when exactly in 1896 the atlas was published, but there’s no question that that’s the lab.

Put into context

Given the timing, this laboratory was likely intended for use in Henry's research into x-rays.  In all likelihood, he’d been researching x-rays since February, and subsequent tales of his work during that period suggested he could be obsessive.  It would make sense that he’d want to set something up at home in order to facilitate his work.

Question to pose

The application was submitted by Henry on behalf of Annie, who was the property owner.  Why was the property listed in her name?  George Gilbert, the building inspector who issued the permit, certainly understood that the Henry had standing to do this work given that he issued the permit to “Mr. H. Green and Mrs. H. Green” and not just to Annie.


City of Hartford Office of Building Inspector, "Building Permit No. 306 - Wooden Laboratory," May 1, 1896.

J. Richards & Co., "Atlas of the city of Hartford, Connecticut, including, also, the town of West Hartford," Springfield, MA, 1896.

Henry Green
Henry Green House


Share this: