Castle On the Cove: the Connecticut State Prison and Wethersfield

The Connecticut State Prison located on State Street overlooking the Connecticut River opened for operation on October 1, 1827 with 121 inmates under the care of Warden Moses Pillsbury. This new Prison replaced the outdated Newgate Prison in Simsbury (presently East Granby) that had operated from 1773 to 1827 in the subterranean copper mines. The […]

Who is the First Town in Connecticut Anyway?

Who is first? It is the question that people of Wethersfield and Windsor love to ask and answer. Recently Mike Townsend, a videographer for Fox News Connecticut explored this topic on his segment “Hidden History.” (Windsor Weights In and Wethersfield is First!) Wethersfield, Windsor, Hartford all weighed in to claim the title of first in […]

A Cell from Wethersfield Prison

Among the remarkable objects in Wethersfield Historical Society’s museum collection are cells from the Connecticut State Prison. Many visitors may have previously viewed sections of a cell on display in 2007 following its donation from the Town of Coventry. The cell walls will once again be on display in the upcoming Connecticut State Prison exhibition […]

What Kind of Bars?: Memoir of Francis L. Ippolito, Officer at CT State Prison

A Note From Wethersfield Historical Society In preparation for our newest exhibition Connecticut State Prison Open Storage, staff at Wethersfield Historical Society encountered MaryAnn Ippolito Pilotte. Mrs. Pilotte kindly shared her father’s memoir along with objects and photographs. Francis L. Ippolito’s  memoir left a lasting impression of the difficulty of being a prison guard. Below […]

Purple Heart: The Badge of Military Merit

In preparation for our next case exhibition at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center that will honor Wethersfield servicemen and women from all American wars, we reached out to Post Commander Larry Spellacy of the Bourne-Keeney American Legion CT Post 23, and he was kind enough to loan a few of the objects to Wethersfield Historical […]

Uncle Sam Wants To Thank You Ralph Nelson For Your Art!

Hanging in the Rotary Room and nearby hallway of the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center are four murals painted by Ralph Nelson. Ralph Lewis Nelson (1885 -1967) painted these four murals of the founding of Wethersfield for the public schools in town as a commission by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. Ralph Nelson, the […]

Lt. Jonathan Church, Sideboard and Tavern

To read the first blog entry on Lt. Jonathan Church and his portrait please click here:Lt. Jonathan Church, A Wethersfield Marine. In 2007, Wethersfield Historical Society received word from a descendent of Wethersfield’s Jonathan Church (1763-1804), one of the first members of the United States Marine Corps, who was considering donating two very special Church-related […]

Snapshot of Photographic History

Researchers often visit the Old Academy Research and Genealogical Library looking for photographs of certain events or individuals from the 17th and 18th centuries. On more than one occasion, I have had to pause and explain the evolution of photography and the idea that capturing a detailed still image is relatively new.  Ambrotypes, Daguerreotypes, tintypes, […]

Lt. Jonathan Church, A Wethersfield Marine

One of Wethersfield’s favorite sons quietly returned to town recently. Lt. Jonathan Church represented the United States as one of its first Marines in the closing years of the 18th century.  He retired from active service to start a new life in Wethersfield with his young family, keeping a tavern on Broad Street.  Before leaving […]

History of the Deming-Standish House (1787)

The Deming-Standish House has a prominent place in the center of Wethersfield’s old village, on a piece of land at the corner of Main and Marsh Streets, near the Meetinghouse. The town land records show David Webb selling this one half acre corner to Joseph Webb for 96 pounds “lawful money” on April 8, 1757, […]