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Historic Homes

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The Mark Twain House & Museum

Samuel Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, moved to Hartford with his wife in 1871. Two years later, the couple sought out New York City architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design this house: a 25-room Victorian mansion. Though the home has been through several occupants since the Clemens family vacated the property, it has been restored to look how it did when they lived there. Several pieces of furniture, a chandelier, and personal items owned by the Clemens family are displayed in the home, including their hand-carved master bed and billiards table.

In 2003, a museum was completed on the grounds just a short walk from the home. Here, visitors can learn more about the life and career of Samuel Clemens in the permanent exhibit, “I Have Lived this Life” and watch a mini-documentary about him in the museum’s theatre.

351 Farmington Ave.
Hartford
860-247-0998
M-Sa. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Su. noon-5:30 p.m., Closed Tuesdays January-March
Adults: $15, Seniors (65+): $13, Children (6-16): $9, Children under 6: Free

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

See the home where Harriet Beecher Stowe, famed author of anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lived from 1873 until her death in 1896. Using photographs of the home when Stowe lived there as a guide, her Victorian Gothic Revival cottage has been restored and most of the furnishings and artifacts belonged to Stowe herself or other family members.

Along with the home, visitors to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center can enjoy beautiful gardens and purchase books and merchandise at the Museum Shop. The adjacent home of Stowe’s grandniece, Katherine Seymour Day, is also open for viewing and serves as the Stowe Center Research Library, which houses more than 200,000 books, manuscripts, pamphlets and images and approximately 6,000 objects relating to the extended families of Beecher and Stowe and important themes of 19th-centruy United States history.

77 Forest St.
Hartford
860-522-9258
Tu. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (June-Oct. only), W-Sa. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Su. noon-4:30 p.m.
Adults: $9, Seniors (65+) and Students: $8, Children (5-16): $6, Children under 5: Free

The Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society

The childhood home of Noah Webster—the man best known for authoring Blue Back Speller and the American Dictionary—stands as West Hartford’s only National Historic Landmark. Guides clad in period-appropriate costumes take visitors through the house where they can see artifacts owned by Webster and early editions of his written works. The building is also home to the West Hartford Historical Society, which features rotating exhibits of the city’s residents and history.

227 S. Main St.
West Hartford
860-521-5362
Th.-M 1-4 p.m.
Adults: $7, Seniors: $5, Children (6-18) and College Students with ID: $4, Children under 6: Free

Nathan Hale Homestead

Located about a half hour east of Hartford is homestead the Nathan Hale, an active, heroic patriot in the early years of the United States who was hanged by the British in 1776 for being a spy. Guests can tour this Georgian-style farm homestead, fully furnished with family artifacts—including Hale’s bible and gun—and other period-appropriate antiques. The home also hosts various special events throughout the year, such as colonial cooking classes, kid’s activities, and farmers markets just to name a few.

2299 South St.
Coventry
860-742-6917
Sep-Oct.: F-Sa. noon-4 p.m., Su. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Jun-Aug: W-Sa. noon-4 p.m., Su. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Adults: $7, Seniors (65+), Teachers and College Students with ID: $6, Children (6-18): $4, Children under 6: Free, Family of two adults and any number of children: $15
Prices and hours subject to change, check their website before you visit.

Butler-McCook House & Garden

Built in 1782, this charming home housed four generations of the Butler-McCook family and is the only remaining 18th-century home on Hartford’s Main St. Most of the items in the home are from the various generations of the family and give visitors a feel for how life—and their neighborhood—changed over time. Behind the home is a Victorian garden filled with beautiful ornamentation, similar to the original one laid out in 1865.

396 Main St.
Hartford
860-522-1806
Apr.: Sa.-Su. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; May-Sept.: Th-Su. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Oct.-Dec.: Sa.-Su. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Adults: $7, Seniors (65+), Teachers and College Students with ID: $6, Children (6-18): $4, Children under 6: Free, Family of two adults and any number of children: $15
Prices and hours subject to change, check their website before you visit.

Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden

Several artifacts and treasures from the two families who lived here—Phelps and Hathaway—offers visitors of this beautiful home a glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy in the Connecticut Valley during the 18th century. One of the best highlights: The walls of the home’s wing, which was added in the 1790’s, still adorn the original intricate, lively Parisian wallpaper.

55 S. Main St.
Suffield
860-668-0055
Open Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend Sa.-Su. 1-4 p.m.
Adults: $7, Seniors (65+), Teachers and College Students with ID: $6, Children (6-18): $4, Children under 6: Free, Family of two adults and any number of children: $15
Prices and hours subject to change, check their website before you visit.

The greater Hartford area is filled with rich history reaching back to colonial times. Though skyscrapers and modern architecture have become the norm, there are still many beautifully restored homes with filled stories to tell of the years past. Here are six historic homes in Hartford County worth checking out.—Kristina Anderson

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