Last updated: 12/22/2011
138 Main Street
Farmington, CT 06032
P.O. Box 1645
Farmington, CT 06034
Joanne Lawson, President
If you would like to learn more about the society, become a member or volunteer, please contact us. Volunteers are needed to help with hospitality, lead walking tours of the Freedom Trail, work as docents at the Old Stone Schoolhouse, plan events and programs, research and write articles for our newsletter, raise funds, write grants, and tend the cottage garden at the society's headquarters.
Just a few of our historical wonders include:
Farmington was an important stop along the Underground Railroad. In fact, the town came to be called the "Grand Central Station" of the "railroad" because of its abolitionist activities. Local abolitionists including Horace Cowles, Elijah Lewis, John Treadwell Norton, Samuel and Catherine Deming, and Austin Williams helped shelter fugitive slaves and transport them through town to freedom.
A map of local sites on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1995, shows houses where fugitive slaves were hidden. Farmington abolitionists provided at least eight safe houses on the Underground Railroad.
Old Stone Schoolhouse
The Old Stone Schoolhouse, at Red Oak Hill and Coppermine roads, was a schoolhouse from 1790 to 1872. From 1875 to 1956, it was used as a chapel and community center. The building is now owned by the Farmington Historical Society. It is open for tours each summer on Sundays during July and August.
Founded in 1954, the historical society is dedicated to preserving the town's history and educating the public about its significance. We sponsor exhibits, lectures and other events, and we provide tours of the Freedom Trail's Underground Railroad and Amistad sites.
The society celebrates the diversity of all those who have contributed to the town's history—the Tunxis Indians who established the first settlement by the Farmington River; the English settlers who traded with the Indians; the fugitive slaves who sought freedom on the Underground Railroad; the abolitionists who gave them shelter; the 38 Africans who lived here in 1841 after gaining their freedom in the Amistad case; the entrepreneurs who constructed the Farmington Canal in the early 1880s; and the merchants and traders who built the stately homes lining Main Street in the historic village.
The town is what it is today because of educators like Sarah Porter, who started Miss Porter's School for girls in 1843; architects such as Theodate Pope, a student of Porter's who built the home that's now the Hill-Stead Museum; and collectors like Alfred Pope—one of the first Americans to collect the Impressionist paintings of Monet, Manet, Degas and Whistler—and Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis, who founded the Lewis Walpole Library.
The town has also played an important part in the nation's history in times of war. From King Philip's Indian War in 1675 to the present-day war in Iraq, Farmington has provided soldiers and support. In the town's "Memento Mori" cemetery, there are gravestones inscribed with the names of twelve men who fought in the French and Indian War, thirty-four Revolutionary War patriots, one veteran of both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, and one Civil War soldier. A monument in Riverside Cemetery includes the names of twenty-one Civil War soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, Antietam, Fort Wagner and Winchester.
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