Sarah Whitman Hooker Homestead, Connecticut

The Sarah Whitman Hooker Homestead, built in 1715, is the oldest surviving structure in West Hartford, Connecticut. The house, originally two-story structure with one room on each floor, was expanded several times during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Sarah Whitman Hooker lived in the house with her husband Thomas in the 1770’s. After Thomas died of disease at the siege of Boston in 1775, “the widow Hooker” was asked to lodge two Tory prisoners during the winter of 1775-76. During the winter, Sarah was forced to dissuade some of the townspeople from tarring and feathering her two guests. Sarah Hooker lived until 1830, but sold the house to her children in 1800. (The children later sold it to cousins.) The house is now open to the public on a limited schedule. The interior is furnished as it was during Sarah Whitman Hooker’s residence.

Sarah Whitman Hooker Homestead is located at 1237 New Britain Avenue West Hartford, Connecticut 06107, off Interstate 84 at exit 41.

Mark Twain House, Connecticut

In 1871, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (known to legions of high school English students as Mark Twain) relocated from Buffalo, New York, to Hartford, Connecticut, to be near his publisher, Elisha Bliss, whose American Publishing Company was located in Connecticut’s capital. Twain, with his wife Olivia and infant son Langdon, first rented a house on Forest Street in Nook Farm, on the western side of Hartford. In 1873, the family had a house built in a Nook Farm neighborhood that included Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Stowe’s restored home is located across the lawn from the Twain House and is also open to the public as a museum.) Twain published Life on The Mississippi (1883), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) during the period when the family lived in this home. In 1891, they moved to Europe. The Mark Twain House opened as a museum in the 1960s under the auspices of the Mark Twain Memorial, a private, non-profit organization that still owns and operates the museum. The house contains many pieces of Clemens family furniture, including Twain’s Venetian bed and his billiard table.

Location information and directions

Links: Mark Twain House

Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

The Mystic River in southeastern Connecticut has been the scene of shipbuilding since the 1600s, and more than 600 vessels are known to have been constructed there between 1784 and 1919. The town of Mystic became a prominent shipbuilding port after 1840, with almost 100 vessels launched from Mystic between then and 1880. Wooden shipbuilding in small communities like Mystic declined in the late nineteenth century, although local yards turned out a modest number of large coasting schooners, yachts, and small fishing vessels until 1920. In 1929, three Mystic residents established the Marine Historical Association to preserve the rapidly disappearing remnants of the town’s maritime past. Mystic Seaport is now an active living history museum with 17 acres of exhibits portraying coastal life in New England during the nineteenth century. Four major vessels lie at Mystic Seaport wharves and docks where they may be boarded by visitors. The highlight is the wooden whaleship “Charles W. Morgan,” which was built in 1841 and was active until 1921. Mystic Seaport also has a number of exhibit galleries which display a wide-ranging collection of art and artifacts, along with a schedule of changing exhibitions.

Location map and directions click here.

Links: Mystic Seaport Museum by the Sea