Culture Connect Featured Event
Wethersfield Historical Society will present a house tour on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 10-4 that will feature nine unique historic homes as well as one barn. With the theme “Renovation and Restoration,” this popular fund raiser will offer something for every taste. All of the featured homes, ranging from 1720-1890, will highlight some significant restoration or renovation. United Paint and Wallpaper, a Wethersfield business since the 1960s, is the event’s Corporate Sponsor. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 on the internet (www.wethhist.org) and on tour day, and may be purchased by mail or in person at the historical society’s headquarters at 150 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109, open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Additionally, tickets may be purchased at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, 200 Main Street, open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, Sunday, 1-4pm. On tour day, tickets will be available only at Tour Central at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, 200 Main Street, Wethersfield.
All the homes on the tour are located in the historic district of Old Wethersfield, some within walking distance of each other, making it possible to see more than one home at each stop. One of the homes is a turreted brick Victorian on Hartford Avenue, built in 1887, that retains many of its original interior features including colorful fireplaces, built-in cabinets, preserved canvas ceilings and flooring. Its kitchen has been renovated, but retains the original tin ceiling and pantry.
Another home is a late 18th century colonial home on Main Street, originally the home of Capt. Francis Bulkley, his wife Elizabeth and their sons. The off-center colonial features asymmetrical windows and chimney, with later additions of a front porch and back ell. The present owners have furnished the home with antiques such as an original Peter Blinn sunflower chest, two Wethersfield highboys and a sideboard that once belonged to Wethersfield’s Colonel John Chester of Revolutionary War fame.
The oldest home on the tour is the Appleton Robbins House, ca 1720. Built into the side of a hill, the home looks like a classic Colonial style house from the front, but a single story gambrel roof Cape from the back. It features three bake ovens, including one of the earliest types located in the back of the fireplace. The kitchen was redone in 2010, and, while it is a modern space, its style is in keeping with the feel of a Colonial home.
The House Tour Committee, chaired by Dorene Ciarcia, has been at work since last fall selecting homes for the tour, researching the history of each home and working with the homeowners on details for tour day. The tour book, which all visitors will receive as their ticket, will have brief backgrounds on the houses and insight into the renovations and restorations they have undergone. In addition, guides in each of the rooms on display may provide specific information on the home’s special features. There will be a Tour Boutique in the restored carriage house of the historic Silas Robbins House at 185 Broad Street from 10am-4pm on tour day. The boutique will also be open from Friday-Sunday that weekend. The Wethersfield Academy of the Arts at 413 Hartford Avenue will be open for visitors that day as well.
The house tour will be held rain or shine and is not recommended for children under 12. For more information on ticket purchase, call the Wethersfield Historical Society at 860.529.7656 or visit the web site: www.wethhist.org.
Saturday, June 8, is also Connecticut Open House day and a number of the historical society’s properties will be open free of charge from 11am-2pm. These include the Capt. James Francis House, 120 Hartford Avenue, the Hurlbut-Dunham House, 212 Main Street, adjacent to the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, and the Cove Warehouse at the north end of Main Street on the Wethersfield Cove. The Griswoldville Chapel is celebrating its 140th birthday by opening for tours from 10am-2pm that day. The Chapel is located on Griswold Road, next to the firehouse.
Wethersfield Historical Society is a membership-supported private non-profit organization offering year-round educational and preservation programs to the public.