Glas­ton­bury set to host house tour

Hartford Courant - - Connecticut - By Peter Marteka [email protected]

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.

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