Viewing historical artifacts and reading associated narratives will undoubtedly provide a look hundreds of years into the past, but actually experiencing those years is something quite different. Experiencing Windsor’s history is an opportunity the Windsor Historical Society has worked to provide over the past year and will make a reality Sat., Oct. 5 when it opens a door into the lives of Windsor’s Howard family.
The Historical Society is set to open the parlor and shop in Windsor’s Strong-Howard house as it was in 1810. Not only has the society, with the help dozens of donations amounting to more than $250,000, completely renovated the rooms, it has done so it a way that will bring history to life for visitors of the home on Palisado Avenue.
Complete with reproductions of the furniture and other belongings retired West Indies trader Nathaniel Howard and his family would have used in 1810, the Strong-Howard house and its contents are meant to be touched by visitors, unlike your average museum or historical landmark. As an added bonus, those who attend Saturday’s opening will have the pleasure of trying out a number of games from the Howards’ day, like graces and rolling hoops.
The parlor and shop openings represent the completion of the first of three phases in the full restoration of the Strong-Howard house — a project the Historical Society estimates will cost roughly $700,000.
Phase one of the project included stabilizing the house’s siding, framing and sills, and upgrading electrical utilities.
According to the Historical Society, phase one was made possible through the support of “over one hundred individuals, businesses and granting agencies, including Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Humanities, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Becky and Paul Hendricks, Konica Minolta, Kate and Hugh McLean, Lu and Mike Rabbett, Town of Windsor, Windsor Federal Savings, and the 1772 Foundation.
The project is expected to continue through the next two years, with an anticipated completion date of 2015.
The opening, allowing visitors to be the first to walk into the lives of Windsor’s Howard family, will be held from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 5. Society staff will discuss the restoration and refurnishing at 1:15 p.m., and a ribbon cutting with Windsor Mayor Don Trinks is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
For more information about the Windsor Historical Society, visit www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org or visit 860-688-3813.