Litchfield County: Happening in the Hills

Landmarks

From monuments to cemeteries, steeped in history

Barkhamsted

Peoples State Forest Museum

The Civilian Conservation Corps built the Peoples State Forest Nature Museum in 1935. It was open until 1942, when the CCC was decommissioned. The outside of the Museum, and the fireplace, are made from local fieldstone, some of which was taken from nearby stonewalls. The inside is paneled in American chestnut, which was harvested after it was destroyed by the chestnut blight.

Peoples State Forest Museum
106 East River Rd, Barkhamsted
860-379-2469

Bethlehem

Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden

The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden embodies the dramatically different passions of two extraordinary individuals: Rev. Joseph Bellamy (1719-1790) and Miss Caroline Ferriday (1902-1990). Learn their fascinating stories and of their significant contributions to local, national and international history. Explore the beautiful garden’s botanical collection—started 100 years ago—and go for a walk on the nearby Bellamy Preserve. Stop by for tours, the gift shop, plant sales, and art exhibitions in the Visitor Center. The House and family is there inspiration for author Martha Hall Kelly’s book “Lilac Girls”.

Bellamy-Ferriday House Garden
9 Main St North, Bethlehem
203-266-7596

Canaan

Beckley Furnace

Beckley Furnace (also known as “East Canaan #2” during the Barnum and Richardson years, and also known as East Canaan Iron Furnace Industrial Monument) produced pig iron until the winter of 1918-19.  Constructed of locally quarried marble, the furnace was originally thirty-two feet in height and thirty feet square at the base.  Later, after the Barnum Richardson Company acquired it, the height was raised to forty feet making it one of the largest of forty-three blast furnaces in the Salisbury Iron District.

Beckley Furnace
SE of Canaan on Lower Rd
860-837-0270
info@beckleyfurnace.org

Colebrook

Colebrook General Store

According to the original store ledger, the Colebrook General Store was built and opened for business in 1803 by Martin and Solomon Rockwell. The original store, a one room, one story building, is known today as the Woodbine Cottage.  It stands directly behind the Colebrook Store. The need for a larger store to serve the growing population resulted with the Rockwell’s having master builder William Swift construct another building directly in front of the original one in 1812.

559 Colebrook Rd, Colebrook

Rock Hall

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, wealthy New Yorkers established country estates in western Connecticut. One of these was Rock Hall, begun in 1911 for Jerome Alexandre, the heir to a shipping fortune. Alexandre’s architect, Addison Mizner, is best known for luxurious Mediterranean Revival estates in Palm Beach, Florida. For Rock Hall, Mizner employed a simplified version of 16th-century English design, which he called ‘Tudor’ and which reflected the Anglophilia of the American upper class at the time. The exterior is a severe composition of rubble stone and stucco, achieving visual effect from contrasting textures. The interior is more elaborate, and in an eclectic mix of styles—English, French Renaissance, and Georgian—characteristic of Mizner’s work. In the landscape are curving drives, allées of trees, a rustic garden pavilion, and a balustrade terrace, which, before the trees grew up, would have provided scenic views. Rock Hall continued to serve as a summer home until 2007, when it became a bed-and-breakfast.

19 Rock Hall Rd, Colebrook

Cornwall

Cornwall Bridge Railroad Station

The Housatonic Railroad was one of the first railroads to exist in the northeast. Goods flowing from the many industries of Litchfield County could then be transported to Bridgeport on Long Island Sound and then taken to New York markets via ferryboat. Construction on the Housatonic Railroad was actually begun in 1837. By February 1840, rails stretched from Bridgeport to New Milford, Connecticut. Almost two years later, in December of 1841, rails reached Canaan. Ten years later, the railroad had reached into Massachusetts and had forged links with the Western Railroad of Massachusetts, later to become the Boston & Albany Railroad.

Cornwall Bridge Railroad Station
Junction of Poppleswamp Road and Kent Rd, Cornwall
info@stbridgetct.org

West Cornwall Bridge

West Cornwall’s covered bridge is an excellent example of the Town lattice truss, with its red-spruce timbers secured by a pair of treenails (slotted and wedged to hold them in place) at every intersection. For many years it was thought that this bridge was built in 1841 to replace one washed away in the flood of 1837, but recent research by Michael R. Gannett for the Cornwall Historical Society has shown that the correct date is 1864. The center pier supporting the middle of the bridge was probably reused from the earlier structure. One source gives 1887 as the date when a secondary queen-post truss was added, probably to stiffen the bridge, since wooden trusses had a tendency to sag.In 1973 the Connecticut Department of Transportation rehabilitated the bridge by inserting a concealed steel deck to bear the weight of the traffic. The project won the Federal Highway Administration’s outstanding historic preservation award.

West Cornwall Covered Bridge
CT 128 at Housatonic River, Cornwall

Falls Village (Canaan)

Music Mountain

Music Mountain is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for intimate chamber music concerts. Home of the oldest continuing summer chamber music festival in this country, Music Mountain was founded in 1930 as the permanent home for the Gordon String Quartet, one of the leading string quartets of its time.

Music Mountain
255 Music Mountain Rd, Falls Village
860-824-7126

Kent

Bull’s Bridge

Bulls Bridge is one of the few functional covered bridges remaining in Connecticut.  Built in 1842, the bridge was one of the few ways to cross the Housatonic River from New York State, and was intended to bring more traffic into the area. In addition to the scenic wooden bridge, the area features waterfalls, rapids, overviews, a small gorge, and hiking trails which link up to the nearby Appalachian Trail.

About 3 miles SW of Kent on Bull’s Bridge Rd
203-788-7665

Eric Sloane Museum & Kent Iron Furnace

Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator of over 30 books, and an avid collector of Americana. His extensive collection of hand tools is displayed in a building gifted to the State in 1969 by Stanley Works, the Connecticut-based tool manufacturing company, to mark their 125th anniversary. The collection tells a fascinating story about bygone times and the great American heritage of craftsmanship.

Eric Sloane Museum
31 Kent Cornwall Rd
860-927-3849

Kent Barns

Enjoy the shops, galleries, restaurants, and other businesses in the more than dozen buildings. It is the ideal place in any season to spend time browsing shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Kent Barns
6 N Main St
860-866-8066

Kent Iron Furnace

The Kent Iron Furnace, located on the grounds of the Sloane-Stanley Museum, began production of pig iron in 1826 and continued for almost 70 years. The remains of the granite blast furnace with its Gothic arches can be seen just below the museum. A diorama explaining the local iron industry is in the museum lobby.

Kent Iron Furnace
31 Kent Cornwall Rd
860-233-5421

Seven Hearths, Kent Historical Society

Seven Hearths is the prized possession of the Kent Historical Society, an imposing pre-Revolutionary house located in the heart of the Flanders Historic District in Kent.

Seven Hearths
4 Studio Hill Rd
860-927-4587

Litchfield

Captain William Bull Tavern

Also known as Tollgate Tavern, The Captain William Bull Tavern was built around 1745 on a farm on the East Litchfield Road, part of the Hartford to Albany highway. It is not known who built the house, but Capt. Bull was the owner of the farm by the 1790s. He had served at the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. The house passed through various owners until Frederick Fuessenich of Torrington purchased it in 1923. By that time it had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of being dismantled. Fuessenich saved it and moved the building to a new site about two miles away, placing it across from where the old tollhouse on the Torrington Turnpike had once stood. Fuessenich, an avid collector of antiques, restored and furnished the house, which he renamed the Tollgate Hill Tavern.

Tollgate Inn
571 Torrington Rd, Litchfield
860-567-1233

Litchfield Historic District

Litchfield is famous as one of the most beautiful residential communities in America and is considered to be New England’s finest surviving example of a typical late 18th century New England town. Situated in the midst of the Litchfield Hills at an elevation of approximately 1,100 feet above sea level, the village is a show place of elegant white colonial and 19th century private homes overlooking broad green lawns, which border its residential streets.  In 1959, the Borough of Litchfield was designated a Historic District by the Connecticut General Assembly. Ten years later, part of the District was made a National Historic Landmark.

Litchfield Historic District
Route 63, Litchfield

Mount Tom Tower

Located on Mount Tom is a 34-foot stone tower. A hike up to the top of the Mount Tom Tower yields a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and distant landmarks. The original structure was made of wood and in 1921 was rebuilt using stone.

Mount Tom
Route 202, Litchfield
860-424-4070

Topsmead State Forest

Nestled in the Litchfield Hills, Topsmead State Forest remains a precious piece of a past era with fine craftsmanship and understated wealth evident throughout the former summer estate of Miss Edith Morton Chase.

Topsmead State Forest
25 & 45 Chase Rd, Litchfield

Morris

Mount Tom Tower

Located on Mount Tom is a 34-foot stone tower. A hike up to the top of the Mount Tom Tower yields a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and distant landmarks. The original structure was made of wood and in 1921 was rebuilt using stone.

Mount Tom
Route 202, Litchfield
860-424-4070

New Milford

Boardman’s Bridge

Built in 1888 with an overall length of 188 feet, Boardman’s Bridge is the longest of only three lenticular through trusses remaining in the state (as of August 2001). It is also notable for its ornamental detail: floral-motif cresting atop the portals, winged orb finials, and builders plates listing the names of the New Milford selectmen at the time of its construction. The bridge is now bypassed by a modern structure but remains open for pedestrian use. It was one of the first Berlin bridges to be listed on the National Register (May 13, 1976).

Boardman’s Bridge
Boardman Rd at Housatonic River, NW of New Milford

Lovers Leap Bridge and State Park

Lovers Leap Bridge is the one of only three lenticular through trusses remaining in the state (as of August 2001). Located in a scenic setting high above a deep wooded gorge, it is notable for its large size, highly originalcondition, and wealth of ornamental detail: fleur-de-lis cresting atop the portals, orb finials, railings with cast-iron rosettes, and builders plates listing the names of the New Milford selectmen at the time of its construction. The bridge is now bypassed by a modern structure and is closed even for pedestrian access. It was one of the first Berlin bridges to be listed on the National Register (May 13, 1976). According to local legend, this was the spot where a young Native American girl, distraught over love, threw herself into the rushing water below.

Lovers Leap
Grove St, New Milford
203-312-5023

Norfolk

Blackberry River Inn

Also known as Mosley House-Farm, this colonial mansion, constructed in 1763, was renovated in the 1920s. Up until 1939, the property was used as a farm and known as Blackberry River Farm, after which it was transformed into an Inn.  In 1971 the Inn was sold to a local corporation, which modernized the property.  In 1993, an investor from New York bought the Inn. Today Blackberry River Inn is operated as a bed and breakfast.

Blackberry River Inn
538 Greenwoods Rd, Norfolk
860-542-5100

Haystack Mountain Tower

The Haystack Mountain Tower is a 34-foot high stone tower at the summit of Haystack Mountain. Erick Kennsett Rossiter and Rossiter & Muller designed the tower, built in 1929. It cost approximately $50,000 and was made from stone cut from the mountain.  The tower allows visitors to see Long Island Sound, the Berkshires, and peaks in Massachusetts, New York, and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Haystack Mountain Tower
Route 272, Norfolk
860-482-1817

World War I Memorial

Designed by Alfredo S.G. Taylor, the monument honors Norfolk’s World War I veterans and heroes. Dedicated on Armistice Day in 1921, the monument features three archways rising from a triangular base with long benches. A replica of the Liberty Bell hangs in the niche below the intersection of the archways. The monument is topped with a stone design that appears to resemble an eternal flame.

Intersection of North St (Route 272) & Greenwoods Rd. (Route 44), Norfolk

Plymouth

Lock Museum of America

This landmark is a quirky, off-the-beaten-path kind of place that traces the history of locks and lockmaking in America. The Museum houses an extensive lock collection that includes a cannon ball safe, 30 early era time locks, safe escutcheon plates, a large number of British safe locks, door locks, padlocks, handcuffs and keys, and more. Located in Terryville, the museum is directly across from the original site of the Eagle Lock Company, founded in 1854. Major collections are displayed by company or theme. The Eagle Lock Room contains over 1,000 locks and keys manufactured from 1854 to 1954. The Bank Lock Room comprises a selection of bank locks, vault locks, safe locks and time locks. The Corbin-Russwin Room contains a large display of ornate hardware. Several pieces are gold plated and enameled. One of the animated displays shows how a pin tumbler lock works. A large display of mounted door knobs and escutcheons made by Russwin and P & F Corbin during the Victorian era are extensively detailed in styles such as Roman, Greek, French and Italian Renaissance, Gothic, Flemish, and Elizabethan English. The Yale Room accommodates locks manufactured by the company from 1860 to 1950. One of the attractions here is the original patent model of the Mortise Cylinder Pin Tumbler Lock designed by Linus Yale Jr., in 1865. While this device is considered the greatest invention in the history of lockmaking, it is certainly not without historical precedence. Close by is a 4,000 year old Egyptian made pin tumbler lock. There is a large display of locks and hardware made by Sargent and Co. in New Haven, Ct. Several early exit devices and door closers are on display as well. The Antique Lock Room contains a large display of colonial locks and Ornate European locks dating back to the 1500’s.

Lock Museum of America
230 Main St (Route 6)
860-480-4408

The Plymouth Burying Ground

This is where 38 soldiers from the Revolutionary War are buried. There are gravestones dating back to 1749.

Plymouth Land Trust
info@plymouthlandtrust.org

Riverton

Old Riverton Inn

Overlooking the Farmington River and only minutes from the Peoples State Forest, the Old Riverton Inn was opened in 1796 by Jess Ives.  Originally known as Ives Tavern or Ives Hotel, the Inn provided a resting place for stagecoach drivers and their passengers along the route between Hartford and Albany.

Old Riverton Inn
436 East River Rd, Riverton
860-379-8678

Roxbury

Roxbury Mine Hill Preserve

Originally serving as a 19th century Iron making complex, Mine Hill Preserve is now maintained by the Roxbury Land Trust and includes 360 acres of hiking trails, a restored blast furnace, roasting ovens, granite quarries, abandoned mine shafts, and a stone bridge.

Mine Hill Preserve
32 Mine Hill Rd, Roxbury
860-350-4148

Sharon

Gay-Hoyt House

The Gay-Hoyt House, built in 1775, is considered a typical example of a Yankee village home of the better kind, built of brick rather than wood, with its central hall, end chimneys, conventional fenestration and room plan. The use of brick in Connecticut was never very common. The front and south walls are laid in Flemish bond, and the north and rear are so-called American. So strong was the Yankee tradition that instead of running the end walls above the gable end, as in Dutch houses, the overhanging sloping gable was preferred. The fine points are the interesting treatment of the window heads, the simple light over the front door with a slight arching of the brickwork above. The stringcourse was added to break the monotony of the wall surface and to mark the stories. The front porch is an addition, built a few years later than the house.

18 Main St, Sharon
860-364-5688

Terryville

Lock Museum of America

This landmark is a quirky, off-the-beaten-path kind of place that traces the history of locks and lockmaking in America. The Museum houses an extensive lock collection that includes a cannon ball safe, 30 early era time locks, safe escutcheon plates, a large number of British safe locks, door locks, padlocks, handcuffs and keys, and more. Located in Terryville, the museum is directly across from the original site of the Eagle Lock Company, founded in 1854. Major collections are displayed by company or theme. The Eagle Lock Room contains over 1,000 locks and keys manufactured from 1854 to 1954. The Bank Lock Room comprises a selection of bank locks, vault locks, safe locks and time locks. The Corbin-Russwin Room contains a large display of ornate hardware. Several pieces are gold plated and enameled. One of the animated displays shows how a pin tumbler lock works. A large display of mounted door knobs and escutcheons made by Russwin and P & F Corbin during the Victorian era are extensively detailed in styles such as Roman, Greek, French and Italian Renaissance, Gothic, Flemish, and Elizabethan English. The Yale Room accommodates locks manufactured by the company from 1860 to 1950. One of the attractions here is the original patent model of the Mortise Cylinder Pin Tumbler Lock designed by Linus Yale Jr., in 1865. While this device is considered the greatest invention in the history of lockmaking, it is certainly not without historical precedence. Close by is a 4,000 year old Egyptian made pin tumbler lock. There is a large display of locks and hardware made by Sargent and Co. in New Haven, Ct. Several early exit devices and door closers are on display as well. The Antique Lock Room contains a large display of colonial locks and Ornate European locks dating back to the 1500’s.

Lock Museum of America
230 Main St (Route 6)
860-480-4408

Thomaston

Thomaston Opera House

The Thomaston Opera House was built in 1884 and serves as a cultural and recreational center for the town and surrounding communities. The Landmark Community Theatre is a local arts organization and is committed to managing the Thomaston Opera House and producing a high level of theatrical productions.

Thomaston Opera House
158 Main St
860-283-8558

Torrington

Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum

Built by the Hotchkiss Brothers Company in 1900, this queen Anne-style Victorian house features elaborate woodwork, stenciled walls, original furnishings and a decorative art collection. The museum highlights local history and the carriage house features a working machine shop. Upon completion of the home in 1900, the Fylers and Hotchkisses quickly settled in. The residence remained in the family until the last occupant, Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss, died in 1956. In her will, Mrs. Hotchkiss bequeathed her estate to the Torrington Historical Society. This extraordinary gift included the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum and grounds, the adjacent house (now the history museum), and the Carriage House.

192 Main St, Torrington
860-482-8260

Warner Theatre

Built as a first-run movie palace by Warner Bros. Studios, this elaborate art-deco building was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb.  Seating 1,772 patrons, the Warner was a stunning example of state-of-the-art technology and lush, elegant surroundings.

The theatre was purchased by the Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts, helping the structure to evade demolition. The theatre then re-opened on May 22, 1983. Today, the Warner Theatre is the largest performing arts center in Northwest Connecticut – over 100,000 patrons attended 200+ public events last season.  These included concerts, professional touring theatre/dance, movies, opera simulcast, community theatre, debates, dance recitals, high school graduations and dance competitions.

Warner Theatre
68 Main St, Torrington
860-489-7180

Washington

Hollister House Garden

Gideon Hollister, a leading early resident of Washington, built this house about 1765 for his son Preston. In addition to farming, the enterprising Gideon operated a sawmill, a trading post, and a potash works; he also held civic and military posts. Succeeding generations of Hollisters occupied the house until the middle of the 20th century and continued to be important in Washington. Open fields, barns and other outbuildings on the property bear witness to the homesteads ongoing use as a farm. In the latter part of the 20th century, the house became, like many other Litchfield County farmsteads, a weekend home.

Because Washington was still remote in the mid-18th century, the house’s architecture is simple. Its saltbox form is uncommon in the region (only three exist today in Washington), and the finishes are plain. Later additions maintained this overall simplicity. Although it is not old enough to contribute to the homestead’s historic significance, the garden is noteworthy. The gardens were begun in 1979 by George Schoellkopf and planned to compliment the old house and the surrounding landscape. The garden unfolds in a successive series of “rooms” bordered by walls and hedges which create an architectural framework for the romantic abundance of the plantings. The garden is open to the public late April to mid-October.

Hollister House Garden
300 Nettleton Hollow Rd
860-868-2200

Mount Tom Tower

Located on Mount Tom is a 34-foot stone tower. A hike up to the top of the Mount Tom Tower yields a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and distant landmarks. The original structure was made of wood and in 1921 was rebuilt using stone.

Mount Tom
Route 202, Litchfield
860-424-4070

Winsted

Soldier’s Monument and Memorial Park

Completed in 1890, Soldiers’ Monument was erected as a memorial to the men of the surrounding communities who served in the Civil War. The monument is on a crest of Camp Hill on Crown Street overlooking Winsted’s downtown Main Street.  During World War II, the monument served as a watchtower for aerial activity to provide early warning protection for our state and nation.  Today, the Monument and Memorial grounds continue to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by all citizens for freedom and provide a location for reflection and rest.

Crown St, Winsted

Winsted Hosiery Mill

Founded in 1882, the Winsted Hosiery Company was a small manufacturer of men’s hosiery.  By 1936 it had grown to become the largest hosiery manufacturer in Connecticut. The company’s red-brick industrial complex exemplifies the Italianate and Renaissance Revival design influences on manufacturing facilities around the turn of the century. Most of the mill buildings in the Winsted Hosiery complex retain a high degree of architectural integrity.

Winsted Hosiery Mill
101 Whiting St, Winsted
888-831-2107

Woodbury

Glebe House Museum and Gertrude Jekyll Garden

Set in historic Woodbury’s village center, the Glebe House Museum offers the visitor a glimpse of Revolutionary War era Connecticut. The simple but elegant 18th century farmhouse is furnished as the home of the Reverend John Marshall, who lived in here during the American war for Independence. In 1926, famed English horticultural designer and writer, Gertrude Jekyll was commissioned to plan an “old fashioned” garden to enhance the newly created museum.  The Glebe House garden includes 600 feet of classic English style mixed border and foundation plantings, a planted stone terrace, and an intimate rose allée.

Glebe House Museum 
49 Hollow Rd, Woodbury

Hogpen Hill Farms

Hogpen Hill Farms is a 243-acre tree farm and landscape sculpture park in Woodbury with over 100 Edward Tufte artworks. Drive-ins are welcome when the art park is open and admission fee is $80 per car.

Hogpen Hill Farms
100 Weekeepeemee Rd

Jabez Bacon House

The Jabez Bacon House is an architecturally significant three-story Georgian house built circa 1760 for the man reputed to be Connecticut’s first millionaire. Acknowledged as one of the finest 18th century houses in Connecticut, the Jabez Bacon house combines an extraordinary level of fine workmanship with well-preserved and uniquely beautiful features in superb original condition. Jabez Bacon was a self-made merchant who bought the property in Woodbury in 1758 at the age of 28.  He was a partner in the Derby Fishing Company, which owned ships and traded along the eastern seaboard.  Bacon had a store, now a private home next door, and was said to have sold supplies to the yankee peddlers for all of western Connecticut and into New York and Massachusetts.

Jabez Bacon House
30 Hollow Rd, Woodbury

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    Westbury Realty
    Dumais Interior Design