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The Day - Sound & Country - - 11TH ANNUAL KICKS OFF -

800 Deni­son de­scen­dants. Dur­ing that gath­er­ing, Gates an­nounced her plans to cre­ate the Deni­son So­ci­ety to con­trol her fam­ily’s land and home, which would be turned into a mu­seum upon her death. Gates died in 1941.

By 1948, the homestead had been re­stored and opened as a mu­seum, a process led by J. Fred­er­ick Kelly. A Con­necti­cut ar­chi­tec­tural his­to­rian, Kelly “wrote the Bi­ble on Colo­nial restora­tion,” says Julie Soto, of­fice co­or­di­na­tor and tour guide at the Deni­son Homestead.

“Each of the five rooms re­flects a dif­fer­ent time pe­riod, which shows what life was like for the early Amer­i­cans,” she says.

The first room vis­i­tors see on the tour is the Colo­nial kitchen. A long ta­ble has a bench run­ning the length of one side, with chairs fac­ing it and at the head and foot. The fo­cal point is a large hearth, which has a steel beam stretched across one sec­tion to hang sev­eral pots. A spin­ning wheel sits in one corner; herbs are dry­ing from the rafters.

A tiny cham­ber sits right off the kitchen.

“This was the birthing room, or a room the sick or el­derly would use,” ex­plains Soto.

Up­stairs is a Vic­to­rian room where a wooden chest still holds a slight scent of cam­phor and a sleigh bed sits in one corner.

“The story goes that the bed be­longed to a Deni­son man whose wife re­fused to sleep in it. So the man went to his lawyer’s of­fice to get a divorce,” says Soto. While there, the daugh­ter of the lawyer agreed to marry the Deni­son, say­ing she would sleep in the bed. The pair mar­ried.

Al­though the mu­seum is open June to Oc­to­ber, tours are avail­able year­round by ap­point­ment by con­tact­ing the mu­seum of­fice.

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