Women's History of Connecticut Heritage Trail
This trail is a work in progress that will grow throughout our celebration of Women's History Month.
Prudence Crandall House and Museum commemorates the life of abolitionist Prudence Crandall and the school for African American girls which she ran from 1832 until 1834 when it was closed by mob violence. For her brave actions at this home and school, Prudence Crandall is Connecticut's official state heroine. The home was the site of a girls school run by Prudence Crandall during 1832–1834 that first had all-white students, then Crandall admitted one black girl, which made the school into what is believed to be the first integrated school in the United States. That led to immediate protest and withdrawal of the white girl students. The school was then was closed and reopened as an all-black school, first with three then eventually 24 students, mostly boarding students from out-of-state. The school was challenged locally and in court rulings up to the state supreme court level. The case became a "cause celebre" nation-wide, and was subject of William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator and other newspaper coverage. The Connecticut legislature passed a law, the "Black Law" in 1833, which prohibited blacks from out-of-state to receive education unless the school's town specifically allowed it. Undaunted, Crandall proceeded. She was arrested and put in jail over one night in August 1833. Later, after receiving a court ruling in favor of the school, a mob attacked the school with clubs and iron bars, breaking 90 windows on September 9, 1834. Crandall closed the school the next day.
The Windham Textile & History Museum is a private, nonprofit, educational institution, incorporated in 1989 in the State of Connecticut. Located in the historic former headquarters of the American Thread Company in Willimantic, Connecticut, the Windham Textile and History Museum houses a museum, a library, and an archive. Through its exhibits, programs, and collections, the Windham Textile and History Museum preserves and interprets the history of textiles, the textile arts, and the textile industry, with special emphasis on the experiences of craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, inventors, designers, and consumers. The Windham Textile and History Museum also promotes a greater understanding of the major trends and changes in technology, the economy, immigration, society, the environment, and culture that shaped the history of textiles, the textile arts, and the textile industry in Connecticut, New England, and the United States from the colonial period to the present.
ArtSpace Windham, a residential apartment building for artists, is located in a mill complex that was the largest in the world at the time of its completion in 1880. This building was part of the Willimantic Linen Company and the complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the American Thread Company, the firm that acquired Willimantic Linen in 1898. The first mill at this site was called Jillson Mills and was established in 1824 by brothers William, Seth, and Asa Jillson. Their mill grew into a true powerhouse, driving the local economy for decades and providing employment until the 1980s.
Built sometime in the first third of the 18th century, the Kimberly Mansion is an historic house in Glastonbury, Connecticut. It has served as a home for about 300 years and its most famous residents were sisters Abby and Julia Smith, both of whom were fierce political activists involved in causes including abolitionism but especially women's suffrage. It was listed to the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was the best-selling author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the wildly popular 19th-century anti-slavery story. The novel made Stowe a household name in the era and garnered her an audience with then President Abraham Lincoln. Stowe was a writer, publishing more than 30 books, and an ardent abolitionist. She was also a mother and a Christian, which strongly informed her views on slavery. Stowe’s novel is widely read and commonly taught even today.
Keney Memorial Tower was built in 1898 as a memorial to Rebecca Turner Keney, the mother of Hartford business leaders Walter and Henry Keney. The unique tower stands at the location of the Keney home and the grocery store that was operated by Rebecca Turner and her two boys after the loss of their father. The land for the tower and park was donated to the city by the Keney brothers as a memorial to their mother, and the tower was designed by architect Charles C. Haight and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For a time in the 1800s, Hartford’s Nook Farm neighborhood was a hive of literary and reform activity. The neighborhood attracted well-educated and open-minded people from around the country, most notably Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The neighborhood began when John Hooker and Francis Gillette bought the 100-acre Imlay Farm, they named Nook Farm because of its location along a bend in the Park River. The home that Hooker built for himself and his wife, Isabella Beecher Hooker, was the first home in the new neighborhood. Both the neighborhood and the Hooker home are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This National Historic Landmark was the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, for the last 23 years of her life. The house is part of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center which preserves the house and center's collections. The research library includes letters and documents from the family. The house includes original items from the family. In addition to the Stowe House, the historic site includes an 1873 carriage house (the visitor's center) and the Katharine Seymour Day House (1884).
The Connecticut Historical Society is the state's primary historical repository. Founded in 1825, it is one of the oldest state historical societies in the country. It is located in an old house just to the west of Saint Francis Hospital. The Society operates a museum, library and gift shop at this location. It contains an enormous collection of Connecticut-related materials dating from the 17th century to today including four million manuscripts, over 265,000 artifacts, and125,000 books and pamphlets. There are many notable highlights of the collection such as one of the American flags that was hung in the Presidential box at Ford's Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and a rare 18th century "round hat" worn by a man named Phineas Meigs, who was perhaps the last American killed in the Revolutionary War (there are two bullet holes in the hat). The museum presents changing exhibits throughout the year and the society also offers many educational programs for children.
Elizabeth Park is home to the nation’s first public rose garden. the rose garden dates back to 1903 while Elizabeth Park traces its origin to 1894,. In that year, prominent Hartford businessman Charles H. Pond passed away. Pond's last will and testament bequeathed his home, along with the surrounding 90 acres of land, to the city, with the stipulation that the land would become a public park named in honor of his late wife Elizabeth.
This Colonial Revival house was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946), one of the earliest registered female architects in the United States. Hill-Stead is now a museum offering visitors insight into life on an early 20th-century country estate. It retains many original furnishings and works of art, including pieces by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, James M. Whistler, and Mary Cassatt.
The Farmington Freedom Trail, and specifically the town of Farmington, Connecticut, was home to a bevy of abolitionist history, notably being a hub among the Underground Railroad in Connecticut and the safe-house of the well-known La Amistad escaped Africans. The trail consists of various buildings around the town that were used as abolitionist meeting houses and in helping the Mendi people who took over the La Amistad ship. Many of the locations of note are directly related to the assistance that was granted by the inhabitants towards the Mendi people who were deemed free by the Supreme Court in 1841. The town also contains many buildings that were in assistance with the Underground Railroad, such as safe-houses, schools, and churches.
The Florence Griswold Museum is an art museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut centered around the home of Florence Griswold. It is noted for its collection of American Impressionist paintings.
Calhoun College is a residential affiliate school to Yale University, and is owned and controlled by the Yale Corporation and its board of trustees. Nestled away in a bustling community in Connecticut, the main complex sits on the street corners of College and Elm in New Haven. It was founded in 1641 by John Brockton and grew steadily over the next two and a half centuries until it's rights were purchased by Yale. Named after John C. Calhoun, a known Confederate and white supremacist, recent pushes to rename the college found to be successful as the Board of Trustees elected to rename the school after alumni Grace Murray Hopper, a measure that will take act in late 2017.
The Women's Table was commissioned in 1989 to commemorate 20 years of coeducation in Yale College. It was designed by Maya Lin (BA 1981, M.Arch 1986). The numbers on the Table represent the female students enrolled at Yale, beginning in 1873, then believed to be the date of the earliest women to register in the School of Fine Arts (we now know that Alice and Susan Silliman enrolled in the Yale School of Fine Arts upon its establishment in 1869). The Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences opened to women in 1892, but Yale College did not have female undergraduates until 1969. The dates on the Table go up to 1993, when Lin completed work on the sculpture.
The Ida Tarbell House in Easton, Connecticut, is a farmhouse that was the home of muckraker journalist Ida Tarbell. She purchased the property in 1906 with proceeds from her two-volume book on the Standard Oil Company and lived in the home, which she called Twin Oaks until her death in 1944.