LITCHFIELD — While this will be the 67th annual house tour event sponsored by the Connecticut Junior Republic, it has been six years since one was held. What better time to bring it back than as Litchfield celebrates its 300th anniversary? Thanks to the efforts of the Litchfield Aid of the CJR it is shaping up to be one of the major events of the summer season.
“Two years ago the Aid sensed the community’s excitement and desire to celebrate and commemorate Litchfield’s special place in history, and to once again have the opportunity to step inside the beautiful homes that represent the uniqueness of our special town,” says Patricia Hearn, president of the Aid. “The tour will offer attendees a walking experience that includes eight notable houses and gardens located in Litchfield’s Historic Borough as well as three locations of historic interest.”
The bucolic town of Litchfield brings to life one’s image of the perfect New England town. In actuality the town encompasses the boroughs of Litchfield, Bantam, Milton and Northfield, all with their own exceptional offerings. Litchfield is the largest village and within the town is the historic borough, which encompasses a five-mile area and is under the aegis of a historic district commission. It is here that some of the oldest and most impressive houses are to be found, many on North and South Streets, which are the main streets of the borough. While the facades and exterior architectural elements of these residences have been maintained, the interiors have been altered to suit modern needs, since many of these houses were once summer residences and lacked some modern conveniences.
The house tour weekend kicks off on Friday, July 12, with the walking tour of the houses, the oldest of which was built in 1682. Following the tour there is a preview cocktail party at the Ozias Seymour House on South Street. The tour continues on Saturday for those with general admission tickets.
Each of the houses is distinctive and several of them have not been open to the public before. Docents will be there to greet visitors and to answer any questions. For those who are curious to see what is behind the front door, this is the perfect opportunity.
The Litchfield Aid has pulled out all the stops to make this a spectacular tour, thanks to Marla Patterson, chairperson of the event, and her committee. Thus far, the event has made an impressive amount of money to support the CJR.
“None of this would be possible without the willingness and generosity of our homeowners and the commitment and dedication of our Honorary Chairpersons Deborah and Declan Murphy. Declan is the past president of the CJR Board of Directors and continues as a board member. He and his wife, Deborah, have resided in Litchfield for over 20 years and continue to be significant contributors to our local community. They have engaged Litchfield residents and businesses that share their passion for the young people of our community and the programs and services that CJR provides.”
Founded in 1904, the Connecticut Junior Republic provides residential and community-based care, treatment, education, and family support for vulnerable at-risk, special needs and troubled young people so they may become productive and fulfilled members of their homes, schools and communities. Today, the organization’s combined programs serve approximately 2,000 boys and girls annually in 13 locations throughout Connecticut.
The Litchfield Aid, established in 1911 by a group of local women, is a volunteer group with approximately 100 members, dedicated to improving the programs, services, and faculties of the CJR. For more information and to purchase tickets to the home tour, visit www.litchfieldaid.org or call 860-567-9423, ext. 278.