Keeler Tavern receives $14,000 grant from 1772 Foundation
The Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center has received a $14,000 grant from 1772 Foundation.
The grant, which is administered in Connecticut for the 1772 Foundation by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, will partially fund the installation of a fire detection and suppression system for the “Brick House” at 152 Main Street, the 1.2-acre property that the Museum acquired in early 2016. 1772 Foundation provides funds for capital projects to preserve historic properties throughout the northeast. KTHC has received several 1772 Foundation grants since 2012 that have enabled it to replace roofs and restore historic building exteriors.
“This generous 1772 Foundation grant enables us to begin implementing our plan, approved by the town’s Planning and Zoning commission, to adapt the Brick House for museum and educational purposes,” says Hilary Micalizzi, the Museum’s board president. “Protecting the Brick House, which will be repurposed as a Visitor Center, ensures that it can safely fulfill its multiple new uses: welcoming the public and school children, housing our irreplaceable archives, and providing office space for staff who now work in cramped hallways and converted closets.”
Keeler Tavern, at 132 Main Street, and the property immediately to the north, at 152 Main Street, belonged to the Hoyt/Keeler family virtually from the town’s settlement in 1708. In 1907, Cass Gilbert, the architect of the U.S. Supreme Court building and Woolworth skyscraper (among many others), bought the then 12-acre property, which he and his wife Julia restored and expanded into a country retreat. After Cass Gilbert’s death, Julia and their son, Cass Gilbert, Jr., also an architect, designed and built a neoclassical brick building to house Gilbert, Sr.’s business papers.
The Gilbert family never used the Brick House for its intended purpose, instead modifying it for residential use. Dr. Robert Mead, who with his family owned 152 Main Street from 1958 until the Museum’s recent purchase, adapted the building’s lower floor for his dental practice but kept its main level largely as Cass Gilbert, Jr., designed it — a gracious large space with high ceilings and big windows, suitable for the visiting public.
Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, presents three centuries of the town’s — and nation’s — history through the lives of the families that occupied the site starting in 1713. It offers docent-led tours of its period-furnished house/tavern museum February through December (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1–4 p.m.; adults, $8; children and seniors, $5). More information, including Museum hours, directions, and details on rental of its Garden House, may be found at keelertavernmuseum.org.