Simsbury Historical Society

Simsbury Historical Society The SHS offers tours of our historical buildings, special events, and a variety of cultural programming on the museum grounds.
The Simsbury Historical Society occupies a beautiful and convenient two-acre site located in the center of Simsbury. Tour any of the buildings, attend a special event in our newly established concert series or visit the archives year-round. Enjoy the grounds and gardens in full color, spring through fall. Established in 1911, the Simsbury Historical Society continues its stewardship of Simsbury’s past, present and future.

The Simsbury Historical Society is a non-profit educational corporation founded in 1911 through a bequest of Abbie Sexton Barber to begin a "Historical Room" in Simsbury. Our first and current permanent home was acquired in 1962, through the gift of the Phelps family homestead. \ The Simsbury Historical Society collections now include more than one dozen structures, significant regional artifacts and important period and thematic collections. The archives include an impressive collection of primary source materials that relate to early settlements in Connecticut, the founding of Simsbury, and the development of the surrounding region. Secondary sources are particularly strong in Connecticut, family and regional history, but also include published works on historic interiors, political processes, and social and military history. Today the Simsbury Historical Society continues its stewardship of period and modern buildings, artifact and manuscript collections, and special events and workshops, which afford the general and professional public the opportunity to research and enjoy Simsbury’s past and present.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Tonight I'm happy to present "The Simsbury Show-Kids," an episode of TSS that's designed for kids, although I think adults will find it fun too. Big Machines, a little magic, some music and art, and the opportunity for kids to submit drawings for upcoming's all there. And definitely be sure to check out the very special FROZEN photo challenge!

All episodes of "The Simsbury Show" are available on YouTube as they are posted, so if you missed our first show last week, you can view it any time. TSS has been created for everyone's enjoyment, so please feel free to share any episodes you'd like to on your page.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This day serves as a reminder to continually take stock of our own effect on the planet - the only planet we have - and commit to having a strong positive impact on the environment. Our current situation reminds us that we must be forward-thinking, proactive, and sustainable in our interaction with nature. If we care for the planet as much as we care for ourselves and our loved ones, we will be rewarded with clean air and water, abundant food; a thriving insect, bird and wildlife population, and healthy ecosystem.

I encourage you to make every day "Earth Day" - plant native plants, use organic products, welcome birds to your yard by planting food sources, create wildlife gardens, embrace native insects, and plant pollinator gardens to encourage these populations to grow. Simsbury's garden centers remain open, and are conducting business appropriate to guidelines. They offer native trees, bushes and plants, and can help you with pollinator gardens, so no time like the present create your Earth-friendly yard!

In celebration of Earth Day, I am sharing some photos (graciously provided by members of the Simsbury Camera Club) of pollinators, wildlife and native plants found in pollinator-friendly gardens and open space in Simsbury.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

The Hartford Courant publishes op-ed pieces from younger people under the title "Fresh Voices."

The Courant has published a very thoughtful piece by Simsbury resident and NYU student Kevin Kurian encouraging young people to rise to the moment and respond as global citizens. He sees this moment in time as giving young people the opportunity to become a "Greatest Generation."

I think Kevin's piece is also clarion call to all of us. We ALL can be "the greatest generation." Individually, we make up greater whole, and we are stronger when we work together to care for each other.

America's motto calls us to bring our best selves and unite to accomplish anything we put our minds to: E pluribus unum, "Out of many, one."

From The Hartford Courant Fresh Talk:
A Call To The Next Greatest Generation
By Kevin Kurian

The Twin Towers were leveled just seven months after I was born, ushering in a new era of global instability. My seventh birthday was marked by the burst of the housing bubble and the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. I am now old enough to wear my country’s uniform and serve in conflicts that began before I could read.

As I enter adulthood and as America enters another recession, the world is wracked with a global pandemic. This will be a story of my generation’s coming of age in a time of historic instability. In the coming days, our nation will enter a full-scale war with COVID-19. My generation must answer the call to greatness, as our forebears did in the wake of World War II and the Great Depression, in order to combat this global pandemic.

In the 1940s, American teenagers were called to bear arms for their country in foreign lands. Our generation is being called to their couches to fight the spread of the Coronavirus, and some people cannot handle the task at hand.

Shame on the spring breakers in Florida, one of whom declared “I’m not gonna let [the virus] stop me from partying.” Not only does this virus pose a very serious threat for the immuno-compromised and the elderly, CDC data show that about 40 percent of those hospitalized are ages 20 to 54. Every single American citizen is seriously endangered by this virus; going out could hospitalize or kill a loved one. For the sake of national health, we must socially-distance as much as possible. FaceTime a friend to watch a show on Netflix or play a board game with your loved ones. Go for a walk or order take-out. All of our lives depend on it.

Not enough attention is devoted to the loneliness epidemic that America’s older citizens will face as a result of nursing homes locking down. Millions of citizens will be indefinitely prohibited from seeing their loved ones, attending religious services and participating in social events. Young Americans who have a relative living in such a home should contact them regularly and let them know that they are loved. Those who don’t should consider calling a local assisted living facility and ask to be connected with a pen pal. If electronic correspondence is inaccessible for your pen pal, communicate through physical mail — just remember to wash your hands before sending letters. With the closure of all Connecticut public schools, this is a meaningful way to use our new-found free time.
When the U.S faced critical shortages in the midst of World War II, hoarding was considered a deeply unpatriotic act. Nothing has changed. We must buy what we need, nothing more and nothing less. If current consumption patterns do not change, food shortages could leave millions of pantries empty. Already, medical professionals who are working around the clock are finding it difficult to access essential protective gear. When young Americans make a run to the store, we should be mindful of those who are in need. This virus will not be defeated with selfishness or an extra carton of milk in the fridge. As with every other national crisis, it is essential to act with the understanding that America will only get through this if everyone acts selflessly.

The history of America has been forged by young people. From the beaches of Normandy to the streets of Selma, young people have served and sacrificed for the good of the nation. Our generation is being called to task, and it is time to rise to the moment. Like those who came before, we can create an ethos of selflessness that will endure long past our time. Our leadership can augment the patriotic work of medical professionals combating COVID-19 but only if we act.

It is up to our generation to play a part in leaving America and the world a better place for the generations to come. Let’s get to work.

The Courant invites writers younger than 30 to write essays of about 650 words containing strong views. Please email your submission to [email protected], with your full name, hometown, daytime phone number, age and occupation (or your school’s name and your level in school).

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Update: sharing CDC guidelines for how to wear and care for cloth DIY face masks.

I’ve gotten some questions about where residents can obtain face masks. Seniors are welcome to call our senior center 860-658-3273, which is distributing them. We also have two businesses that are selling non-medical grade masks: Meral’s Tailoring in the Simsbury Town Shops and Lighthouse Design-Concept Store on Jim Gallagher Way. They are using the proceeds to provide face masks to medical personnel. If there are other businesses you’re aware of or other places to obtain face masks, feel free to add to the comments on this post. Stay safe everyone.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

As promised, there's a wonderful, uplifting treat coming your way, Simsbury! More information, date, time and line-up for the premiere episode will be posted soon!

Important Announcement
Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Important Announcement

I wanted to share an important update from Town Hall. To ensure you are receiving the most up to date information, you can go to the Town home page, clock on Subscribe to News, and provide your email address:

To our Simsbury residents,

Town Manager Maria Capriola and First Selectman Eric Wellman have signed an Emergency Declaration in response to COVID-19. It is intended to allow the Town of Simsbury to take full advantage of the Governor’s Emergency Declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Declaration is intended to allow Simsbury to be prepared for the possible effects of the pandemic on our community and to address the significant potential danger to public health posed by the spread of COVID-19 and possible shortages of supplies and equipment necessary to protect the public health and safety. The Declaration will allow the Town Manager to take necessary action for the purpose of ensuring civil preparedness and mitigating the effects of this public health emergency situation for the residents of the Town of Simsbury.

Town and Board of Education staff, along with our local emergency management officials, have been keeping in regular contact with the Farmington Valley Health District regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As this issue is rapidly evolving, residents are encouraged to visit for up-to-date information regarding cancellation of programs, suspension or modification of services, meeting cancellations, building closures, or changes to our facility schedules. To keep our residents and employees safe, we are asking our patrons to please refrain from visiting our public buildings for non-urgent matters. We have created a brochure that highlights many of our online services.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we move forward in these very difficult circumstances.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Don't forget to make your reservation! This is happening next week!

Don't forget to make your reservation! This is happening next week!

We had a great time sharing the exciting things happening at the Simsbury Historical Society with our Simsbury Celebrate...

We had a great time sharing the exciting things happening at the Simsbury Historical Society with our Simsbury Celebrates visitors!

Visitors learned about "days of yore" in the Phelps kitchen, took in lovely dance performances in the Meetinghouse, checked out exhibits - including our wigwam - and saw the progress our woodworkers are making carving an eagle that will be a part of Simsbury's 2020 350th Anniversary celebration!

SHS is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Come visit us to see more of these exhibits and projects, and while you're there, be sure to spend some time in the museum store. We have hand-crafted items by local artisans, beautiful "Simsbury-themed" products and much more!

Don't forget, the Historical Society has a wonderful museum store filled with craft items made locally, as well as Simsb...

Don't forget, the Historical Society has a wonderful museum store filled with craft items made locally, as well as Simsbury theme items such as tee-shirts, glasses, ornaments and much more!

We are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov 28-30) but are open during the holiday season from every Thursday through Saturday from12- 4 p.m.

Somebody’s getting ready to Shop Local, are you?

Use your Simsbury Shop Local Passport while holiday shopping this Friday and Saturday and you’ll be entered to win great prizes. And we all win when we support local businesses not just during the holiday season, but every day!

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

I am pleased to let you know that Simsbury's newest park - Hop Brook Landing at the Flower Bridge - is almost completed, and will be open to the public beginning November 23rd.

There are items on the park checklist that must wait until spring, so your patience and understanding is appreciated. In the spring, when the park is completed, the adjacent The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge will again have baskets and boxes filled with flowers for all to enjoy. Currently decked out in holiday finery by the ODHFB volunteers, the bridge is also now open to public access.

I would like to thank the public for their input on the name of the bridge, which recognizes the brook, which figures prominently in Simsbury's history and flows next to the park into the Farmington River. Hop Brook will provide direct access for recreational use of the river, providing a wonderful asset for kayaking and canoeing.

Thanks too, to our town staff for their assistance to construction crews, and for the work done to plant the roadside swale. Also well-deserving of thanks are the ODHFB volunteers for their ongoing support of the project and the accommodations they graciously made during the construction process.

For updated photos of the park, please visit the ODHFB page:

And please be sure to save these dates (more information is forthcoming!):

May 17, 2020: Simsbury's 350th Anniversary Opening Ceremony (at the First Church of Christ) and reception, with music, birthday cake, music, historical figures live and in person, and 350th tree dedication at Hop Brook Landing Park.

June 26, 2020: River Day, a 350th celebration of the Farmington River, with food trucks, river activities, dry land activities, music and much more at Hop Brook Landing Park.

More information about, and ways to volunteer for, Simsbury's 350th celebration can be found on this website:

Free Program: Life in the Eastern Woodlands, Pre-contact to 1620Sunday, November 17, at 2:30 p.m.Preceded by SHS Annual ...

Free Program: Life in the Eastern Woodlands, Pre-contact to 1620

Sunday, November 17, at 2:30 p.m.
Preceded by SHS Annual Business Meeting at 2:00 pm
Ellsworth Visitor Center, 10 Phelps Lane.

Drew Shuptar-Rayvis will speak about Native American life before permanent European contact. Drew will bring items of daily life such as bark baskets, cups, bowls, stone axes, bows and arrows along with an assortment of animal pelts and leather.

Drew is a tribal member and historian for the Schaghticoke First Nations and is of Accomac/ Pocomoke descent (VA/ MD Algonkian). He is an Anthropologist with a minor degree in Archaeology.

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT
Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

Eric Wellman - First Selectman, Simsbury CT

On October 25, 2019, Simsbury’s Belden Forest will be inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network. Forests inducted into this network have exceptional ecological integrity and are among the oldest known native forests in the country. Belden Forest in Simsbury is the first forest in Connecticut to be included in the Old Growth Forest Network.

The Old-Growth Forest Network designation ceremony will take place on Friday, October 25, 2019 at 12:00pm at Boy Scout Hall, 695 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury. Refreshments and a walk through Belden Forest will follow the presentation of the designation.

Belden Forest is a 42-acre, Town-owned property that consists of a loop of flat, secluded, and easy-to-walk trails dominated by the 100-foot tall white pines. It is forever protected from commercial logging and is open to the public. Belden Forest is accessed from the east side of Beldenwood Road, approximately 500 feet east of the intersection with Firetown Road. It can also be accessed off of Hopmeadow Street through the parking lot between Boy Scout Hall and the Simsbury Public Library.

Only very few tickets left for the walking tours, so be sure to get yours ASAP!For those who would prefer not to take th...

Only very few tickets left for the walking tours, so be sure to get yours ASAP!

For those who would prefer not to take the 75-minute walking tour (or if you were unable to get walking tour tickets), at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Ghosts and Gossips will be performed in the Historical Society Meetinghouse. Approximately 35 tickets are still available for the seated performance.

Each tour has a limited number of slots, so be sure you purchase your ticket(s) ahead of time to guarantee your place! C...

Each tour has a limited number of slots, so be sure you purchase your ticket(s) ahead of time to guarantee your place! Cash, check and credit cards accepted.

The tour is appropriate for third grade and up, but please factor in the 75 minute length and your child’s attention span.


From the Simsbury Historical Society Board of Directors:

We appreciate the contributions of The 1772 Foundation and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation toward the design and installation of a new site-wide security system.

Nearly twenty different varieties of roses bloom here beginning in June and continuing throughout the summer.  In 2002, ...

Nearly twenty different varieties of roses bloom here beginning in June and continuing throughout the summer. In 2002, the original bed was expanded to the current rose walk with the addition of New Dawn climbing roses and the latticework trellis in honor of Lina Wagner and her horticultural service to the Historical Society. As a result, the Town of Simsbury was recognized with a Rose City designation.


800 Hopmeadow St
Simsbury, CT

General information

HOURS AND ADMISSION Guided Tours of our Buildings: 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday– Saturday Mid-April to Mid-October Tours start at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15 and 3:15 p.m. Tours take about 45 minutes. $6 for adults, $4 for children aged 6 and older, free for children under 6 Tours can also be scheduled by arrangement from Mid-October to Mid-April. Email [email protected] or call 860.658.2500 to arrange a tour Also check us out on: HistoryPin:|photos/list/ Pinterest: Twitter: @SimsburyHistory Concert series, Art shows, and special events held periodically throughout the year. Any musicians interested in performing should contact Jaclyn Jones, volunteer music director ([email protected]). GARDENS AND GROUNDS You are welcome to walk our grounds and enjoy our gardens throughout the year during daylight hours. Each building has an identifying sign with a brief description. ARCHIVES Open by appointment only. Call 860 658-2500 or email [email protected] to arrange an appointment Ellsworth Visitor Center and Museum Store: 10 Phelps Lane off Hopmeadow Street (Routes 10 & 202) 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday– Saturday Year-Round

Opening Hours

Thursday 12:00 - 16:00
Friday 12:00 - 16:00
Saturday 12:00 - 16:00


(860) 658-2500


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A cast photos
The cast for the weekend
The cast for the weekend
We are so excited for this weekend's festival!!! Check out the brochure for festival details!
Make sure to come by the Simsbury Arts & Crafts Festival on September 14 & 15 on Iron Horse Blvd., between Wilcox and Railroad (not at the Meadows). There will be food trucks and a bake sale, entertainment and over 100 vendors of crafts, photography, fine arts, jewelry, food, etc. For more information, go to
Third and final jurying deadline of August 6 is quickly approaching to become a vendor at this year's very special 50th Anniversary Arts & Crafts Festival on September 14 & 15. Categories include fine arts, photography, craft, jewelry and "other" (i.e. facial products, food, etc.) Go to our website to apply:
There's still time to become a vendor at this year's very special 50th Anniversary Arts & Crafts Festival on September 14 & 15. Next jurying session is Tuesday, July 9. Go to our website to apply:
Garden Party this Saturday and Sunday June 8 & 9. Come dressed in white for that smmer vibe and get a free gift at the door🤩😍🥰
The Spring Thing was so fun this weekend!! There were all kinds of prizes given away--one family won a $175 shopping spree to the artisan booths just by joining the scavenger hunt😜😜😜and the giveaways from the Sponsor Staples plus goodie bags from the other sponsor Countryside Woodcraft were #generous$$ I had a complete blast even out in the rain on Sunday! Looking forward to more of these mini festivals at The Historical Society
So happy I stopped by Simsbury Historical Society spur-of-the-moment today. Ran into some old friends, met some new ones and was surprised to learn interesting tidbits about the town I love.
The Simsbury Arts & Crafts Festival is this weekend (Sept. 15 & 16) on Hopmeadow Road from 10am - 4pm each day. Stop by and visit one of our 100 vendors! Food trucks, face painting and entertainment will also be available. See attached post card.
Thank you Barbara for helping me today to find out more info on the Abbey School. Appreciate the time you took and Simsbury has very interesting history. - Karen Bogue/James McGrath