HARWINTON HOUSE IN ITS LAST DAYS
IN NEW CANAAN

This past winter (2010-2011) has proved to be a milestone in the long life of "Harwinton House". The good folks in New Canaan have watched over our house for the last 80 years after it had spent 136 years growing up in Harwinton. Like so many of our pure Harwintonians, sometimes after you've moved away, it becomes time to come home again. It is now time for "Harwinton House", as its called by its New Canaan Foster parents, to return home again.

I have always thought that no one individual really owns a historic house, we are simply the current tenants. In this case, the last tenants moved out on June 25th, 2009. The property at 585 Canoe Hill Road has been sold and a new, modern house has been built on the property leaving no room for our old friend to continue its proud service to the list of impressive tenants it has hosted over the 214 years of its existence as a residential home.

Through the very impressive efforts of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, "Harwinton House" is now on the State Register of Historic Places. The New Canaan Historical Society embraced this house as one of their own years ago. One towns loss is another towns gain. However, in this case it's like an adopted child who has reconnected with its biological parents. The proud legacy of this house belongs to both towns who have played host to its very existence.

As the relocation takes place, it's progress will be tracked here.

Although “Harwinton House” has been saved from the fate of demolition, there is no guarantee that it will be resurrected anytime soon. The town of Harwinton has a piece of land that certainly is a possible location for the eventual relocation, but we need to explore other locations as well. Ideally more than one possible location within the town can be found and then the proper feasibility studies can be performed. It will probably be a few months before a site selection is actually chosen.

The biggest obstacle for the resurrection of Harwinton House is funding. The dismantling, documentation and transportation are all covered with a STEAP grant that is in place now. The grant would also cover some of the site preparation including foundation, septic and a well. Raising the house is a totally different situation as little funding exists right now. Our historical society has a little bit of available funds but, we are probably looking at 300 – 350K needed to complete the resurrection. There are matching grants available that we can apply for but even at best case, we need to raise very significant funding and might be as high as 150k if we are lucky enough to be awarded matching grants.

Although it was a major step forward to save the house, there are many more steps to go before we can walk through that wonderful front door again. Unfortunately, some of those steps loom as very large obstacles.

Our goal is to create a headquarters for our Historical Society as well as a museum where their artifacts and records can be displayed as well as the complete story of the house with its important history in the woods of Harwinton and the community of New Canaan.

Tax deductable Donations can be made directly to the town by mailing a check to:

Town of Harwinton
Harwinton House Restoration
P.O. Box 66
Harwinton, CT. 06791

OR

A tax deductable donation may be made to the Harwinton Historical Society, Inc. with instructions that it is for the Harwinton House Rebuild Project.
Mail to:

Harwinton Historical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 84
Harwinton, CT. 06791

As the eventual tenant of the restored building, the Harwinton Historical Society, Inc. (a 501c3 organization) will make periodic donations to the town, of any money collected for this project via fund raisers and/or donations.


Historical Society Presents a $25,000 donation
on August 10th, 2012
Left to Right: Rog Plaskett-V.P. Historical Society; Mike Criss-1st Selectman; Dick Pacholski-Pres. Historical Society; Harry Schue-Tres. Historical Society.

For progress updates and timelines

For Channel 3 Interview with Dan Kain March 15th