Glastonbury set to host house tour
GLASTONBURY – Glastonbury has 150 original 18th-century homes, second in the United States only to Marblehead, Mass. Some of those will be among the 10 houses on display Saturday f or t he Historical Society of Glastonbury’s “Home For The Holidays” house tour.
“There’s always a lot of interest in house tours, especially during the holiday season,” society Executive Director James Bennett said of the group’s major fundraiser. “It really enlivens the entire town. You have people walking up and down Main Street and everything comes alive at the holidays.”
During the event carolers from Glastonbury High School will perform along the route as well as a quartet at the new Micah House Chapel at First Church, one of the 10 stops. Every attendee receives a keepsake house tour booklet with map, house descriptions and pictures.
Here’s a look at a few of the houses on the tour:
Dr. Lee J. Whittles, the founder of the historical society and its first president, once called this 1850 house his home.
Whittles, who owned the house from 1923 to 1964, had his medical office on the north side of the house. A small barn with a cupola — known as a carriage house — sits behind the house.
“These remind us that for most of its history, vehicles traveling along Main Street were powered by animals, usually horses and that horses require more than a garage. Room was needed to keep hay as well as for stalls and storage of a buggy, wagon and possibly a sleigh,” the booklet notes.
The brick home was built by Benjamin Hale in 1754. According to the society, the house may have been a part of the underground railway that helped slaves escape.
“The Reverend Samuel Rankin, who owned this house in the late 1800s, was the son of John Rankin, one of the founders of the abolitionist movement,” the booklet notes. “As a child, Samuel personally witnessed slaves escaping to freedom across ice on the Ohio River, a scene immortalized in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s immensely influential 1852 novel, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’”
This Federal-Greek Revival style house was built about 1820 for Julius Hale. It was later sold to Dr. Ralph Carter.
“Dr. Carter was instrumental in having state legislation passed requiring the licensing of physicians and he became the f i rst doctor l i censed in Connecticut. He also joined those who successfully urged Yale University to offer medical courses,” the booklet notes.
The home has five fireplaces, five bedrooms, three full and two half baths, two kitchens and several living areas.
1 to 5 p.m. in the Glastonbury Historic District along Main Street near the town center.
Tickets are $40 on the day of the event and are available at Katz’s Hardware; Emmy Lou’s; Gardiner’s Market; or the Museum on the Green. They are also available online by visiting www.hsgct.org/ and using PayPal.