Keeler Tavern receives M&T Bank grant for battle commemoration

Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center Executive Director Hildi Grob (left) accepts a facsimile check from Colleen Caranfa, M&T Bank’s Ridgefield branch manager, for a grant from M&T Charitable Foundation.

Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center recently received a $2,500 grant from M&T Bank. The Museum competed for the grant, which the M&T Charitable Foundation awards to “strengthen our communities by providing support for a diverse range of civic, cultural, health and human service organizations.” The funds will be used to enable Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center to participate in the town-wide commemoration of the Battle of Ridgefield, which took place 240 years ago, on April 27, 1777.

The commemoration will take place in Ridgefield on the weekend of April 28-30, 2017, with a re-enactment of the battle, encampments of “British” and “Patriot” forces, and a variety of activities coordinated among several local groups including the local Freemasons (Jerusalem Lodge #49), Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield Historical Society, Lounsbury House and Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center.

“We know that a lot goes into making an event like this successful,” comments Colleen Caranfa, manager of the Ridgefield branch of M&T Bank. “I am proud that our bank, like many businesses in this town, invests in our community’s rich cultural life.”

The Commemoration collaborators will offer related lectures, demonstrations, and activities throughout April, culminating with the battle re-enactment on Saturday, April 29th. The Museum will host the Fifth Connecticut Regiment, a Revolutionary War re-enactment group, with tours of the tavern building and kid-friendly activities that complement the Regiment’s portrayal of a Continental soldier’s daily life.

In 1777, Keeler Tavern was a center of Patriot activities to support local militia and the Continental Army in the fight to win independence from British rule. On April 27, 1777, hundreds of area militia converged on Ridgefield to attack the British soldiers—about 1,500 strong—as they made their way back to the Connecticut coast after burning Danbury, where, as British officer Archibald Robertson reported, “the Rebels had collected a Great Magazine of Stores and Provisions.” Engagements in Ridgefield resulted in scores dead on both sides and a very “close call” for Keeler Tavern, which was the target of British cannon fire. The Museum’s tours always include time outside, looking at the British cannonball that is still embedded in one of the tavern building’s corner posts.

Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, presents three centuries of the town’s history through the lives of the families that occupied the site starting in 1713. It offers docent-led tours of its period-furnished building February through December (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1:00–4:00 p.m.; adults, $8; children and seniors, $5). More information may be found at www.keelertavernmuseum.org and at Facebook.com/KeelerTavernMuseum, or by calling the office at 203-438-5485. Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center is located at 132 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.

M&T Bank’s Ridgefield branch is located at 2 Prospect Street.

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