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‘Big Houses, Big Architects, Big Stories’ Will Focus on West Hartford Neighborhood

110 Norwood Rd. Photo credit: Patty Swanson/Patty Swanson Photography

A free lecture on the architecture of the Hartford Golf Club Historic District will be provided Thursday in advance of Sunday’s West Hartford House Tour through the neighborhood.

110 Norwood Rd. Photo credit: Patty Swanson/Patty Swanson Photography

110 Norwood Rd. Photo credit: Patty Swanson/Patty Swanson Photography

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On Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 at 7 p.m., the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will offer to the public a free lecture on the architecture of the Hartford Golf Club Historic District.

Architectural Historian Mary M. Donohue will reprise her lecture on “Big Houses, Big Architects, Big Stories” in advance of the West Hartford House Tour that takes place on Sunday, Nov. 6, from noon – 4 p.m.

The Hartford Golf Club Historic District straddles Hartford and West Hartford with an array of residences, an astonishing 70 percent of which were architect-designed. The roots of the district’s special character lie in the formation of the Hartford Golf Club in 1896.

The founders and first board of directors were all pillars of the Hartford establishment. The impressive credentials of its organizers assured the club prestige and influence in the community. At the beginning of the 20th century, the golf club moved to West Hartford, building its golf course just west of Prospect Avenue and north of Asylum Avenue. The pillars of the Hartford establishment followed, building impressive houses that were designed by the region’s best architects.

The club’s 1914 purchase of land north of Albany Avenue was a social magnet that spurred the subdivision of adjoining property into large lots with commanding vistas of the golf course, still maintained today. The Hartford Golf Club course was designed by premier golf course architect Donald Ross, known for his “park lands” layout and rolling green landscapes.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the entire district is virtually intact. Stockbroker Tudors and Colonial Revivals, designed by the region’s most talented architects and built using the best of materials, typify the architecture of the neighborhood.

Donohue’s illustrated lecture will provide a glimpse into the history and architecture of one of West Hartford’s most prestigious neighborhoods. She will also offer a preview of what to expect and look for during the West Hartford HouseTour, when six private homes in the neighborhood will open their doors.

Almost all of the homes on the tour were designed in the Tudor and Colonial Revival styles by architects Lester B. Scheide and Walter P. Crabtree, Jr. Residences on the tour include: 33 and 39 Colony Rd., 24 and 110 Norwood Rd., 4 Mohawk Dr., and 91 Ledyard Rd.

Mary M. Donohue has more than 30 years of experience as an award-winning historic preservationist, architectural historian, and author. She worked in the State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development from 1981-2012. Donohue currently serves as the Assistant Publisher of Connecticut Explored magazine. She is also on the Board of Directors of both the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

The “Big Houses, Big Architects, Big Stories” lecture will take place at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, 227 South Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The West Hartford House Tour will take place on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, from noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Advance ticket holders can commence their tour at any of the residences and visit them in any order they wish. A limited number of tickets may be available the day of the event between 33 and 39 Colony Road. 

The museum is also offering a reception at the Hartford Golf Club following the House Tour at 4 p.m. Guests of the reception will have the opportunity to learn more about the Golf Club and its history, as well as enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks from a cash bar. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase, either in addition to the House Tour or on their own. Advance purchase is required.

Tickets for the West Hartford House Tour are $25 for museum members, $30 in advance, and $35 at the door. Tickets to the reception at the Hartford Golf Club are $20, or $15 if purchased in addition to the House Tour. For tickets and additional information visit noahwebster.yapsody.com.

 

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