Wilfred Elizur GriggsMay 2, 1866 – June 24, 1918
Wilfred Griggs is responsible for designing many of the city’s most prominent buildings downtown, structures that remain at the core of the city’s architectural accomplishments.
His most famous building is the stately Elton Hotel on The Green, famous for its visit by John F Kennedy in 1960 and the setting for James Thurber’s story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Griggs also designed the Italianate Odds Fellows building, the Howland-Hughes building on Bank Street, and the high rise Lilley building.
He also designed many of the homes in the Historic Overlook neighborhood as well as the Kingsbury and Webster schools.
Griggs studied architecture at Columbia University and opened his first office in Waterbury in 1891. A few months later he entered into a partnership with the much older Robert W. Hill, with the stated aim of taking over Hill’s office at his retirement. This occurred in about 1892.
Griggs practiced alone until 1900, when he associated with William E. Hunt, as Griggs & Hunt. Griggs & Hunt grew into Waterbury’s leading architectural firm and lasted until Hunt moved to Torrington in late 1914. After that, Griggs practiced alone until his death on June 24, 1918.