The Middletown Garden Club is hosting a free talk on the restoration of the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate, Thursday, April 18, at 1:00 p.m. at the Mansion, 421 Wadsworth St. Award winning architect David Scott Parker will join Joyce Kirkpatrick, chairman of the Long Hill Estate Building Committee, arborist Jane Harris, and Elaine Bank in a panel discussion on the project which took place beginning in 1994 and culminating in an open house on New Year’s Day, 2000.
The 1908 Beaux Artes mansion surrounded by 500 acres of land, was built for Colonel Clarence and Katherine Fearing Hubbard Wadsworth on land given to them as a wedding gift. It was a social mecca for the family and their friends for almost 40 years. In 1947, following the Colonel’s death, the house and 103 acres were sold to the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle, who conducted weekend religious retreats. The sisters sold the house and acreage to a developer in 1986.
What followed was a period of failed development plans, bankruptcy, absentee bank ownership, squatters on the premises, and finally a devastating fire. The City of Middletown took ownership of the estate in 1994 and began a $5.8 million restoration project. Parker, a Principal of David Scott Parker Associates in Southbury, CT.. will talk about his role in both the restoration and in the interior design of the building. Joyce Kirkpatrick chaired the building committee, served on the Long Hill Estate Authority, and currently chairs the docent committee, a group of volunteers who share the history of the estate with visitors. Jane Harris is an arborist and Middletown Garden Club member who developed the brochure: Notable Trees at Long Hill Estate. Elaine Bank co-chaired the Middletown Garden Club vernal pool project. Club members uncovered a vernal pool that was smothered in vines. The club has planted the area around the pool with native plants and developed a trail around the pool.
A question and answer period and refreshments will follow the presentation.