Connecticut: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Connecticut is the third smallest state in area in the Union, after Rhode Island and Delaware. It is also the fourth most densely populated state. Positioned at the southernmost part of New England, Connecticut is bordered by New York on the west, Rhode Island on the east, Massachusetts on the north, and Long Island Sound–an arm of the Atlantic Ocean–on the south.

Cheney Brothers Historic District

Location: Manchester

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: This 175-acre milling community is little changed since the Cheney family achieved supremacy in silk manufacturing here in the nineteenth century with technical innovations in spinning machinery.

Colt Home

Location: Hartford, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Armsmear, a large, rambling Italianate house that features a five-story tower, was built in 1855 by Samuel Colt (1814-1862), inventor of the Colt pistol and developer of mass production techniques. Colt’s pistol became popular during the war with Mexico, when the federal government ordered one thousand of them.

Connecticut Hall, Yale University

Location: New Haven, New Haven County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, colonial America, education

Statement of significance: Constructed from 1750 to 1752, this large Georgian structure was the first of Yale’s brick buildings and for many years probably the handsomest building in the colony. The only pre-Revolutionary War building on the campus, this is the lone survivor of “Brick Row,” a group of Georgian-style buildings built before 1820 and razed after the Civil War.

Deane House

Location: Wethersfield, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, political history

Statement of significance: This large-frame two-story Georgian structure was built in 1766 by Silas Deane (1737-1789), a delegate to the first Continental Congress who in March, 1776, was selected as the first envoy of the United States abroad. His instructions were to secure military and financial assistance and to seek an alliance with the French government; Deane succeeded in sending eight shiploads of military supplies to America and enlisting the aid of European military officers. In September, Congress appointed Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee as the first official commission to France; their negotiations led to two treaties.

Ellsworth Homestead

Location: Windsor, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, political history

Statement of significance: From 1782 to 1807, Elmwood was the Connecticut home of Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807), a framer of the United States Constitution, author of the Judiciary Act of 1789 establishing the federal court system, and the third chief justice of the United States. The house, an eighteenth century two-and-a-half-story clapboarded dwelling, is located a short distance back from the road in a residential area of modern homes in the northern part of Windsor and is owned and administered by the Connecticut chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Fort Shantok

Location: Montville, New London County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: From 1636 to 1682, this was the site of the main Mohegan town and the home of Uncas, the most prominent and influential Mohegan leader and statesman of his era. Uncas was first noted in European records as the leader of a small Indian community at “Munhicke” in 1636; within a few years of this, Uncas had emerged as the most prominent Indian client of the Connecticut authorities at New Haven and Hartford. Attracted by his success and influential connections, substantial numbers of Connecticut Indian people joined his community.

Griswold House

Location: Old Lyme, New London County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: From 1900 to 1915, Florence Griswold’s house was one of the country’s most important art colonies and served as the center for American Impressionism. Among the many painters who stayed at the late-Georgian house were Henry Ward Ranger, Louis Paul Dresser, Carleton Wiggins, William Henry Howe, Bruce Crane, Frank Vincent DuMond, Clark Voorhees, Henry Rankin Poore, Allen B. Talcott, Lewis Cohen, and Henry C. White. Griswold, beginning a new life at age forty-nine, provided shelter and a social center for the painters, who enjoyed living at this boardinghouse famous for its good table and its good times. By use of the attic, accommodation could be provided for as many as fifteen artists at any given time.

Historic Ship Nautilus and the Submarine Force Museum

Location: Groton, New London County

Relevant issues: Naval history, science and technology

Statement of significance: The brainchild of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the USS Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-propelled submarine. Its propulsion system is a landmark in the history of naval engineering and submersible craft. Nautilus’s nuclear plant enabled the boat to remain submerged for weeks, even months. Nautilus demonstrated its capabilities in 1958 when it sailed beneath the Arctic icepack to the North Pole to broadcast the famous message “Nautilus 90 North.”

Huntington Birthplace

Location: Scotland, Windham County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, political history

Statement of significance: From 1731 to 1747, this large two-story frame saltbox structure was the home of Samuel Huntington (1731-1796), signer of the Declaration of Independence for Connecticut, lawyer, politician, jurist, President of the Continental Congress (1779-1781), and later governor of Connecticut.

Kimberly Mansion

Location: Glastonbury, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Social reform, women’s history

Statement of significance: This was the home of Julia and Abby Smith, two elderly sisters who, in 1873, protested vigorously and articulately the inequitable tax assessment of their property, Kimberly Farm. At a time when women were denied the vote, the Smith sisters refused to pay a tax without some voice in the dispositon of their money. The Smiths waged a two-year battle with local authorities, secured a legal decision against the tax collector, and in the process attracted international attention for their stand on women’s rights.

Litchfield Historic District

Location: Litchfield, Litchfield County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, colonial America

Statement of significance: Probably the finest surviving example of a typical late eighteenth century New England town, Litchfield was settled in the 1720’s and named for the cathedral city in Staffordshire, England. For much of the 1700’s, Litchfield was an outpost and trading center for the northwest frontier. The town reflects architectural styles of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as the Colonial Revival.

Mashantucket Pequot Reservation Archaeological District

Location: Ledyard, New London County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: The Mashantucket Pequot Reservation Archaeological District comprises nearly 1,638 acres of archaeologically sensitive land in the northern portion of the uplands historically called Wawarramoreke by the Pequots, and within territory first chronicled as Pequot land in the earliest known surviving map (1614) of the region.

Monte Cristo Cottage

Location: New London, New London County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: For most of his first twenty-one years, this cottage is where Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), one of America’s outstanding dramatists, spent his summers. The house served as inspiration for several of O’Neill’s plays, including Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956).

Morley House

Location: West Hartford, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: From 1906 to 1923, this was the home of the chemist Edward W. Morley (1838-1923), who collaborated with Albert A. Michelson in measuring the speed of light (1887) and determined the atomic weights of hydrogen and oxygen.

New Haven Green Historic District

Location: New Haven, New Haven County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: New Haven Green is significant as the setting for three churches erected between 1812 and 1816, remarkable both for individual architectural merit and as an outstanding urban ensemble of the nineteenth century. Center Church and United Church (fine examples of the Federal Style) and Trinity Church (one of the first large Gothic Revival structures in America) stand on the east side of the Green.

Old Statehouse

Location: Hartford, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture, political history

Statement of significance: Designed in 1792 and erected from 1793 to 1796, this is the first of the great public buildings attributed to Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844). Also, this was the site of the Hartford Convention (1814), which voiced New England’s opposition to the War of 1812.

Prudence Crandall House

Location: Canterbury, Windham County

Relevant issues: African American history, education, social reform

Statement of significance: From 1831 to 1834, this was the residence of Prudence Crandall (1803-1890), American educator and reformer. In 1831, Crandall had been invited by the residents of Canterbury to open a school for young women in their community; however, Crandall immediately lost local support when in the fall of 1832 she admitted Sarah Harris, a young black girl who aspired to be a teacher. Parents were outraged; on September 9, 1834, an angry mob broke into and ransacked the school. The next morning, fearing for the safety of her students, Crandall closed her school.

Reeve House and Law School

Location: Litchfield, Litchfield County

Relevant issues: Legal history

Statement of significance: Founded in 1784 and in operation until 1833, this was the first proprietary law school in the country. Many of the approximately one thousand men who attended became prominent lawyers, judges, and politicians. Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun were among the graduates.

Remington House

Location: Ridgefield, Fairfield County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: For a brief period before his death, this was the home of Frederic Remington (1861-1909), who realistically documented the life of the post-Civil War West in his artwork. Remington designed this fieldstone-and-shingle two-story house himself.

Tarbell House

Location: Easton, Fairfield County

Relevant issues: Literary history, social reform

Statement of significance: From 1906 to 1944, this was the home of Ida Tarbell (1857-1944), one of the pioneers of contemporary journalism and literary biography. Tarbell grew up in Pennsylvania oil towns, witnessing at first hand the corrupt practices of large corporations. As a journalist working for McClure’s Magazine, Tarbell established her reputation through biographical series on Napoleon and Lincoln and sealed it with a series on the development of Standard Oil, which was later published as the two-volume History of the Standard Oil Company (1904). Tarbell and other journalists such as Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair who set aside bland objectivity and focused on grave social problems from a stance of deep moral concern were termed “muckrakers” by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Webster Birthplace

Location: West Hartford, Hartford County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: This is the birthplace of Noah Webster (1758-1843), noted American lexicographer. Webster is most famous for the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

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