Strong-Howard House reopens as ‘time capsule’

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Thu., Oct. 10, 2013
Windsor Historical Society Executive Director Christine Ermenc and Windsor Mayor Don Trinks cut the ribbon to open the refurbished doors of the Strong-Howard House. Photos by Jennifer Coe.
Windsor Historical Society Executive Director Christine Ermenc and Windsor Mayor Don Trinks cut the ribbon to open the refurbished doors of the Strong-Howard House. Photos by Jennifer Coe.

The Strong-Howard House has been reopened to the public on the campus of the Windsor Historical Society, with a newly-restored and refurnished drawing room and store.

It was built in 1758 by John and Sarah Strong, but the family only lived in the home for five years. As part of the original center of Windsor, the house firmly implanted itself in the town’s history. Later, the house was purchased by Captain Nathaniel Howard.

Until recently, this historic home was left closed to the public, as it needed major renovations to make it safe.

Phase I of the restoration has been completed and the home has been reopened as a living museum, complete with reproduction furnishing and staged living spaces. The Windsor Historical Society is encouraging visitors to explore and sit in the main rooms.

“We wanted to make this house just a little different,” said Windsor Historical Society Executive Director Christine Ermenc. “The inside of the house is a time capsule.”

Frozen in the year 1810, the staging of the home shows how the Howard family would have lived. It also attempts to show some of what they might have owned.  The process to get this house restored took a remarkably short time.

Thanks to a huge list of individual donors, corporate donations and the town of Windsor, the society was able to raise a half a million dollars in just over a year.  Work was done all summer long, including an archeological dig in what was the general store at the back of the building, painting and more to bring it up to code and to make it look period-accurate.

But there is more work to do for the Windsor Historical Society. “By the end of 2015, if I am successful raising the $200,000 that remains, it will all be hands-on,” said Ermenc. “We’re expecting the project to come in at about $700,000,” she said.

Phases II and III of the restoration of the Strong-Howard House are forthcoming. The society will be collecting more period-appropriate objects to fill in the houses shelves, removing a chimney which was added in the 1940s and replacing the hearth completely.

“We’re kind of going at this piece by piece,” said curator Christina Vida. “There’s a real feel for this house – it’s been a symbol of history [in Windsor].”

Ermenc hopes that when the house is completed, the society will be able to employ the talents of local re-enactors to play the roles of 1810 characters, perhaps even the Strong or Howard families.


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