Tuesday, June 28, 2011

64th Annual House Tour To Feature Historic Litchfield Homes

The 64th Annual Open House Day Tour of Litchfield to benefit the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) will be held Saturday, July 9, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, rain or shine.  Conducted by the Litchfield Aid of CJR, an auxiliary, volunteer organization, the 2011 event features six well-appointed homes and historic buildings, many of which are within walking distance to the center of town and Litchfield's famous historic district.  Additional historic points of interest are also included in the Tour.  The 2011 event celebrates the Centennial of the Litchfield Aid which was established in 1911,for the sole purpose of supporting the Connecticut Junior Republic.

One of the oldest events of its kind in the country, the self-guided, walking tour begins at the Information Booth on the Litchfield Green.  Ticket sales, information and the "lost and found" will be located here.

A Preview Tour will be offered the evening of Friday, July 8, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM, followed by a cocktail reception from 7:00 - 9:30 PM in a magnificent private garden located in the heart of Litchfield's historic district.  This year's party will be catered by the The Pantry of Washington Depot.  Tickets are $90 per person and attendance is limited.  Highlights of the 2011 tour are as follows:

The Farmer's House

Built in 1840, this house was purchased by Joseph W. Goddard in 1883, when developing his estate.  The house was used initially by the Goddards' farmer, and as a caretaker's cottage by subsequent owners of the estate.  The house fell into a state of disrepair before it was rebuilt and renovated by subsequent owners.  Set on 3.7 acres, this home features beautiful landscaping, a family room with radiant floor tiles and many other modern conveniences, while retaining the charm and traditional aesthetics of the 1800's.

The Thompson - Di Giorgio House

Designed in 1935 by architect Albert Hopkins Pierce (1899-1974), this home was built for Walter C. Thompson, a former chief executive of the Torrington Company, and his wife, Margaret.  The home is representative of the high-quality estates built in Litchfield during the first three decades of the Twentieth Century, and the structure ranks as one of the significant Colonial Revival residences on the south side of the Borough.  Set on four acres, the home's original features and lovely grounds have been painstakingly maintained and restored by the current owners.  This gracious residence features five working fireplaces and epitomizes the elegance and superb detailing for which the academic Colonial Revival style is noted.  Notable highlights include 83 original doors and windows and more than 1,600 triple-glazed window panes; a concealed rear elevator that runs from the basement to the second floor; mature landscaping that includes orchards, gardens, meadows and extensive stonework; and a spacious entry hall featuring a gracious turned staircase.

MacLaren Walcott House

Built in 1894 by William and Louisa MacLaren on land formerly owned by dairy farmer Ratchford Starr, this property features a carriage house that has been remodeled as a guest house.  The original barn belonging to the property is now a residence on Meadow Street.  The Wolcott Street residence transitions from Victorian to Colonial Revival and was a seasonal country house with many guest rooms for the MacLarens.  The complex rooflines and the use of the clapboards on the first floor and shingles on the second floor are late Victorian, but the symmetry of the north façade and the Palladian window in the gable end typify Colonial Revival.  Features include a pineapple doorknocker on the central entrance door, a symbol of hospitality; French doors from the living and dining room to the porch; and fireplaces in the living room, dining room and library.

The Peacocke House


Built in 1868 by John and Mary Peacocke, this gracious Victorian home remained in the Peacocke family until 1920.  The current owners reconstructed the two-story front porch that was removed during the Colonial Revival period.  Extensive renovations include the addition of a family room to the rear of the house, featuring a brick floor, fireplace, beamed ceilings, skylights and French doors to the bluestone patio.  A side breakfast room was also added and the kitchen was completely renovated to include stainless steel appliances, glass-paned cabinetry, stone countertops and raised relief tiled backsplash.  The original servants' staircase remains.  Highlights include the coffered ceiling, corner china cabinets, plate rail and leaded glass windows, which accentuate the elegance of the dining room.

The Joshua Mason House

Built in 1800 by Joshua Mason, this Colonial farmhouse is set on spacious grounds, simply and beautifully landscaped.  The deed to the land dates to the "Reign of Our Sovereign Lord George the Second of Great Britain."  Said to have been a sheep farm, the original house became a summer cottage known as the Palmer House until 1960, when it became home to a young family.  At some point in its history, small rooms were combined to create larger rooms but the fireplaces with new surrounds and some original floors remain.

The present owners made structural upgrades, expanded the kitchen, moved a garage building and opened the grounds to more expansive views of the gardens, apple trees and the new saltwater swimming pool.  Highlights include the stunning, enlarged kitchen and the "birthing room" with unusually wide floor boards.

French doors lead to an old patio with a pergola facing the original perennial bed and to two new patios in the back with views of the pool.  The old barn has been rehabilitated and contains a guest room/in-law apartment.  A breezeway connects the newly located garage to the house in the manner of old farmhouses with attached "out buildings."

Phineas Miner's Law Office


Built in 1820 in the Greek Revival Style, this tidy building at 35 South Street was the law office of Attorney Phineas Minor.  It is one of five such buildings in Litchfield intended for commercial use and was later occupied by Silas N. Bronson, who enlarged it for use as the Bronson Family Store.  The sale of the property in 1905 resulted in its purchase by a civic-minded group that has owned and lovingly maintained it for more than a hundred years.

The façade owes its elegance and symmetry to the influence of the ancient Green temples and their imposing columned exteriors.  Its fluted square posts, tall front door, and very large windows topped by an expressed frieze board, are all typical Greek Revival features.  In the 1930's, an exterior building was moved and attached to the house for use as a kitchen and a fireplace was added to the first floor.  A 1930's interior redecoration, which covered the original stained oak trim with harsh green paint, was modified in 2006 to create a softer, lighter appearance.

Preview Party – Oliver Wolcott, Sr. House
The Preview Party will be held in the beautiful gardens of the Oliver Wolcott, Sr. House, located in the heart of Litchfield's Historic District.  This classic post and beam, center chimney Colonial house was built in 1754, by Oliver Wolcott, Sr., on land bequeathed to him by his father, Roger, who was Colonial High Sheriff of Litchfield, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Governor of the state of Connecticut from 1796 until his death in 1797.  The earliest extant Georgian house in the area, the home has many historic features as well as an orchard where the women and children of Litchfield gathered to melt down a statue of George III, to make bullets for use against the British in the Revolutionary War.  Please note: The Oliver Wolcott, Sr. House property is the site of the Preview Party only and not part of the Saturday House Tour.

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the Litchfield Aid of CJR, which was founded in 1911 by twelve Litchfield women for the sole purpose of supporting the Connecticut Junior Republic.  In celebration of its 100th year, the Aid is featuring an exhibit of clothing from the early Twentieth Century at the Oliver Wolcott Library.  The clothing exhibit will feature attire from the era of the Aid's founding in 1911.

In addition to the clothing exhibit at the Oliver Wolcott Library, points of interest on the 2011 Tour include the churches of Litchfield and Lourdes of Litchfield, a shrine built in 1954 by the Montfort Missionaries as a replica of the famous Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.  The Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Law School, recognized as the first law school in America, will also be included in the admission price of the Tour.  The History Museum will feature an exhibition, Goods for Sale!  Cash, Credit and Trade in Litchfield 1790 – 1850, which will focus on Litchfield's economic history during the first half of the nineteenth century.

 General Information About The Litchfield House Tour
Advance tickets are non-refundable and may be obtained for $30.00 by contacting the Litchfield Aid of CJR, P.O. Box 214, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759.  Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your check or money order.  All checks should be made payable to: Litchfield Aid of CJR.  VISA and MasterCard (MC) are also accepted.  Credit card orders should include type of card (VISA or MC), card number, expiration date, name on credit card, billing address and signature.  Please note that debit cards are not accepted.  Orders must be received no later than Friday, June 24.  Requests for tickets after this date will be held for pick-up on the day of the Tour at the ticket booth on the Green.  Advance tickets are also available at KitchenWorks, Murphy's Pharmacy, and Talbots, all located in the center of Litchfield.  Tickets for both the Saturday Tour and Preview Tour and Party may also be purchased on-line: www.litchfieldct.com/cjr/tour.html. Tickets will be sold on the Green on the day of the tour for $35.00 each for adults and children.  (No charge for infants.) General information about the Open House Tour may be obtained by contacting the Connecticut Junior Republic at (860) 567-9423 between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM.  A special group rate of $25.00 per person is offered for tour groups that reserve a minimum of 20 tickets by Friday, June 24.

Visitors may enjoy lunch at the Connecticut Junior Republic for $7.00 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  A choice of a seafood salad or smoked turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich plate, including pasta salad, brownie, and iced tea, will be offered.  The luncheon may be viewed on the House Tour website:  www.litchfieldct.com/cjr.tour.html. Students will provide tours of CJR's beautiful rural campus and student crafts will be exhibited and sold.

The Litchfield Aid's popular and unique cookbook will be sold at the luncheon ticket tent on the Litchfield Green for $19.00, including tax.  Each copy of The Cook Book comes with its own handmade gift-wrapping and makes a wonderful "ready-to-give" present for family, friends and professional associates.

Founded in 1904, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) provides care, treatment, education and family support for at-risk, special needs and troubled young people so they can become productive and fulfilled members of their homes, schools and communities.
The Junior Republic conducts a residential program for court-referred young men on its Litchfield campus.  Special, vocational and alternative education programs are provided for boys from communities throughout Connecticut at CJR's Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center, which is also located on its Litchfield campus.  Transition and related services are also provided.
CJR provides a further dimension of residential care for boys at its group homes in East Hartford and Winchester, as well as short-term, residential crisis intervention for girls at its Center for Assessment, Respite and Enrichment (CARE) in Waterbury.  A broad spectrum of prevention, early intervention, family support, and intensive home-based services, and aftercare, are provided for boys and girls through CJR's offices in Danbury, Meriden, New Britain, Torrington and Waterbury (two sites).

A private charitable organization, the Connecticut Junior Republic is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  CJR is supported by gifts from individuals, businesses and organizations, and through service contracts funded by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS), and by Connecticut's public schools.
For further information, or to obtain photos of the 2011 Tour Houses, please contact Hedy Barton, Director of Development and Public Relations (860) 567-9423, extension 252; or by email: hbarton@cjryouth.org.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Danbury CT's Ives Concert Park Gets Ready to Rock, Roll … and Reminisce All Summer Long!

Award-winning artists with decades of influential music-making will perform this summer in the Union Savings Bank Summer Concert Series at Ives Concert Park in Danbury.

Multi-platinum recording artists Michael Franti & Spearhead and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals will perform at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 27, at the outdoor venue on the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Tickets, which range from $26 to $37, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events

According to his website, “The Sound Of Sunshine” — the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti & Spearhead — is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world. Potter’s bio proclaims: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are like a modern-day version of Tina Turner stroking the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers. The proof is there for all to hear on the band’s third album for Hollywood Records, hitting this spring, and marks an artistic breakthrough for a vital young band caught in the act of fulfilling its immense promise.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, July 1, Grammy Award winner Peter Frampton will take the Ives Concert Park stage to perform “Frampton Comes Alive!” in its entirety for his 35th Anniversary Tour. Gates will open at 7 p.m. Tickets, which range from $27 to $77, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. The three-hour show will feature a complete performance of “Frampton Comes Alive!” along with highlights from Frampton’s catalog, including his Grammy Award-winning 2006 instrumental album, “Fingerprints.”

Popular Ives artists Earth,Wind & Fire will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, which range from $32 to $97, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events.  The Earth, Wind & Fire 40th Anniversary Tour will launch April 30 and continue to July 3, taking the legendary group to more than 30 cities. A celebrated legacy of four decades has produced 20 Grammy nominations with eight wins, an induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and bountiful musical and cultural achievements. 

Legendary duo Steely Dan will perform at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 25. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events and range from $37 to $152, plus service charges. Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Steely Dan dazzled both the public and the critics in 2009 with their classic-albums-in-full Rent Party Tour. Responding to overwhelming popular demand, Steely Dan masterminds Walter Becker and Donald Fagen bring on more action with the Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven summer tour.  The tour, which kicks off in Seattle on July 2 and concludes in Boston on Sept. 30, will showcase greatest hits and deep cuts alike.

Alison Kraus and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas will take the stage at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets, which range from $30 to $75, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. According to Krauss’ publicity, her most recent triumph, the certified-platinum “Raising Sand,” a 2007 collaboration with Robert Plant and producer T Bone Burnett, notched a total of six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year, bringing her unsurpassed total to 26. That mesmerizing modern-day masterpiece sets the stage for another stunner: “Paper Airplane,” the artist’s first album of all-new recordings in partnership with her remarkably skillful and renowned band Union Station since 2004’s “Lonely Runs Both Ways.”

Alternative rockers from Boston, Mass., Guster, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, which range from $25 to $35, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. Formed in 1991 at Tufts University, Guster is known for its live performances and humor. Opening will be Ra Ra Riot, an American indie rock band from Syracuse, N.Y.

The J. Geils Band and special guests The Chris Robinson Brotherhood will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets, which range from $37 to $77, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. The J. Geils Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., best known for its 1981 single, “Centerfold,” which charted No. 1 in the U.S. in early 1982. The band played R&B-influenced blues-rock in the 1970s before moving towards a more pop-influenced sound in the 1980s. Since its initial break-up in 1985, the band has reunited several times. Special guest Robinson tells fans on his website, “We'll be playing a bunch of new songs I have been working on and will be digging deep into what is happening at that musical moment. There will be old stuff that I’ve done and a handful of covers that just feel right.”

It wouldn’t be summer without a live performance by The Beach Boys. They will perform at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets, which range from $27 to $57, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. You can summarize most pop music acts by reciting how many hits they’ve had and how many millions of albums they’ve sold. But, according to the band’s website, these conventional measurements fall short when you’re assessing the impact of The Beach Boys. To be sure, this band has birthed a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. But its greater significance lies in the fact that it changed the musical landscape so profoundly ... that every pop act since has been in its debt.

Closing out this summer’s Celebrity Concert Series are Texas rockers ZZ Top, who will perform at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Tickets, which range from $37 to $67, plus service charges, are on sale at http://www.premierboxoffice.com/events. The band lays undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and in 2004 the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For more information, visit the Ives Concert Park website at http://www.ivesconcertpark.com,
the Ives Concert Park Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ivesconcertpark or follow the venue on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IvesConcertPark.

Columbus Replica Ships Pinta And Nina To Land In Bridgeport CT Over Fourth Of July Weekend

On Friday July 1st, the 'Pinta and the 'Nina', replicas of Columbus' ships will open in Bridgeport.  The ships will be docked at Captains Cove, 1 Bostwick Ave., until their departure early Tuesday morning July 5th.

The 'Nina' was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools.  Archaeology magazine called the ship "the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built."  The "Pinta" was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels.  She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel.  Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced 'sailing museum' for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the 'caravel', a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers used to discover the world.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour.  Admission charges are $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students 5 - 16.   Children 4 and under are Free.  The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m.  to 6:00 p.m.    No reservations necessary.

Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30 minute guided tour with a crewmember should call 1 787 672 2152.  Minimum of 15.  $4.00 per person.  No Maximum.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shelton CT Historical Society's Vintage Vehicles Antique & Classic Car Show June 19

Enjoy a day with Dad and Granddad peeking under the hoods of the cars they remember from their youth at the Shelton Historical Society's Vintage Vehicles Antique and Classic Car Show on Father's Day, June 19.  Two wheels or four, from Model T's to muscle cars, there's bound to be something that will trigger a memory or maybe a chuckle from every visitor.  The event will take place at Shelton History Center, 70 Ripton Rd. from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

There is still time for owners of antique and classic vehicles of all kinds to register to participate in this special event. Entry forms may be found at www.sheltonhistoricalsociety.org or by calling (203) 925-1803. Pre-registration costs $8.00 but will be $10.00 on the day of the event.

Awards in five categories will be presented to crowd favorites. Visitors will enjoy tours of the buildings at Shelton History Center, refreshments, and voting for their favorite vehicles. Admission is $1 for dads, $5/adults and $10/family. Proceeds will benefit the educational programs of the Shelton Historical Society. For additional information including directions, please call (203) 925-1803 or visit www.sheltonhistoricalsociety.org.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Taste of History: Civil War Food Challenge

On Saturday, June 11 at Mill Hill Historic Park, 2 East Wall Street in Norwalk from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m visitors to this event will have the opportunity to taste diverse dishes from the Civil War era.  Dishes will be interpreted by 12 local eateries vying to be judged "the best" in different food categories for A Taste of History: Civil War.  Participants include American Steakhouse, Ash Creek Saloon, Bacchus, Barcelona, B.J. Ryan's, Dry Dock, Hummel Brothers, Jeff's Cuisine, New York Bakery, O'Neill's, Sweet Ashley's (all in Norwalk) and Nick's Pizza (Stamford).  The winners will be chosen by attendees during the event on Saturday, June 11, at Mill Hill Historic Park, 2 East Wall Street.  Between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., attendees will purchase ballots ($20 - adults/teens; $15 - 12 or younger) and sample dishes prepared by the participants, then vote for their favorites.

During the event, attendees can visit a Civil War encampment to see demonstrations and talk with re-enactors from Company A of the 11th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Displays will focus on Civil War cooking, weapons and the life of soldiers.  Attendees at A Taste of History also can explore an exhibition of quilts from before the Civil War to the present organized by the Historical Society as part of the six-month Norwalk Quilt Trail.  In addition, WEBE-108 will broadcast live from the event.

A Taste of History: Civil War is presented by the Norwalk Historical Society as a fund-raiser for restoration of the Civil War Soldiers Monument in Riverside Cemetery.  The statue was erected in 1889 by Buckingham Post No. 12 of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization made up of Union Army veterans, to serve as a memorial for more than 32 Civil War soldiers whose families could not afford a "proper" burial. Over the years, this monument has deteriorated and the zinc Civil War soldier was pulled the off its granite base in 2002. Currently, the pieces of the statue are on display at the Norwalk Historical Society Town House at Mill Hill.

As one of its projects in honor of the Sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War, the Norwalk Historical Society has mounted a campaign to repair the statue, christened "Chester," and return it to its rightful place. Through a grant from the Historic Preservation division of the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, monuments conservator Francis Miller of ConservArt, Inc. is preparing a treatment report that will outline the steps needed to restore the monument.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Goshen Stampede Promises Rodeo Thrills A Fathers’ Day Treat in the Litchfield Hills

No need to travel far for Wild West excitement.  Broncos and bulls and daring bareback riders will bring Western-style rodeo thrills close to home for the 6th Annual Goshen Stampede in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills, a three-day event June 17-19, perfectly timed for a Fathers Day treat.

The fun starts Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m., when the fastest horses in Connecticut and their riders will race for cash prizes and a title in Barrel Racing, an event that demands speed, timing and accuracy to bring home the money.  Two big rodeo competitions will be held on Saturday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. and on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th at 2 p.m. To add to the fun, a kid's rodeo will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m. for entrants up to age 12.

Rodeos aren't the only competitions on the agenda for this gala occasion. There will be added excitement galore from two wild Demolition Derbies and the Tri-State Truck and Tractor Pulls competitions.
Midway rides, free bands every night, great food and fireworks plus a petting zoo just for the kids will add to the festivities.

The Stampede will take place at the Goshen Fair Grounds, 116 Old Middle St. (Rte. 63) in Goshen.  Stampede hours are Friday, June 17th  2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m; Saturday, June 18th 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, June 19th 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: Adults: $12, Ages 10-18: $6 and under 10 free with a paying adult and a coupon that is available on the Stampede website.  For complete schedule of events and discount tickets visit www.goshenstampede.com.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Magnificent Millinery: Three Centuries of Women's Hats in Danbury CT

Join First Lady of Danbury, Phyllis Boughton at the Danbury Museum & Historical Society Authority on Saturday, June 4, 2011 for the opening of the Society's newest exhibit, "Magnificent Millinery: Three Centuries of Women's Hats in Danbury."  The ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. and will be followed by refreshments.

Twenty display cases, filled to the brim, will feature over 300 ladies hats from the museum collection – caps, bonnets, felts, furs whimsies, pillboxes and more.  The exhibit showcases hat design from the colonial period through the mid-20th century along with hat related accessories.  Visitors to the exhibit will be amazed by the artistry of the hats on view.

An entire wall in Huntington Hall will be dedicated to articles of ephemera including historic newspaper advertisements and city directory listings related to the millinery trade in Danbury. Vintage photos and antique postcards from the archives of the Society illustrate styles and trends.

The exhibit was inspired by the work of Catherine Vanaria, Western CT State University photography professor and Danbury small business owner, who spent time during the summer of 2010 photographing the hat collection. Erika Askin, guest curator and museum volunteer, spent countless hours cataloging each hat, writing the scripts and staging the exhibit.

Joretta Kilcourse, museum docent and volunteer crafted a special 'Magnificent Millinery Quilt' featuring Vanaria's photos of some of the finest hats in the collection.  The winning ticket for this fundraising raffle will be drawn at the close of the exhibit on October 15, 2011.

The Magnificent Millinery: Three Centuries of Women's Hats in Danbury' exhibit will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m from June 4, 2011 through October 15, 2011.  Suggested donation for viewing the exhibit is $5.00.

Danbury was once known as the "hatting capital" of the country. An abundance of water and marshes that attracted beavers were the key elements essential to hat making and at that time Danbury had both. The industry has been traced back to Zadoc Benedict who began a shop in Danbury in 1780. By the early 19th century there were over 40 shops making hats in Danbury.

By 1909 Danbury was making 36 million hats a year from cowboy hats to fedoras to top hats and became known as Hatting Capital of the World. The decline of the "hat culture" is attributed to the automobile industry because hats became cumbersome to wear in cars. In 1987, Stetson was the last hat factory to leave Danbury marking the end of an era.

Special Note: June 4th is also National Trails Day.  The DMHSA is happy be joining in by distributing maps for our "Museum In the Streets" walk that winds through CityCenter Danbury.  Park your car, put on your hat, refill your water bottle and take a stroll downtown.  Stop along the way at each of twenty-one history panels and learn about our wonderful city!

About the DMHSA: The Danbury Museum & Historical Society was formed in 1947 to acquire, preserve, exhibit and interpret New England's past; focusing particularly on the heritage of Danbury.  Situated in downtown Danbury, the museum preserves the John and Mary Rider House (c.1785), the Dodd Hat Shop (c. 1790), the Marian Anderson Studio and the Charles Ives Birthplace.  Huntington Hall, a modern exhibit building houses the museum offices and research library.