2009 Summer

Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
Ph: 800-663-1273
Email: lhcvbnwct@aol.com
For Immediate Release

One of New England's most beautiful Colonial neighborhoods will be featured for the 62nd Annual Open House Day Tour of Litchfield on Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Guests will have the rare opportunity to see five homes of historic and architectural significance on Litchfield's famous North and South Streets, highlights of the town's Historic District. The two streets are lined with fine eighteenth and early nineteenth century homes.

One of the oldest events of its kind in the country, the self-guided, walking tour begins at the Information Booth on the classic Litchfield Green, where tickets are available. Proceeds benefit Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR), an organization dedicated to helping troubled youths. All the homes are within walking distance of the Green or guests may choose to ride a trolley along the tour route. Many other historic sites in Litchfield are included in the tour.

Stops include the earliest extant Georgian house in the area, the classic post and beam, center chimney Connecticut Colonial built in 1754, by Oliver Wolcott, Sr. on land bequeathed to him by his father, Roger, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington stayed here overnight in 1780. The house is a National Historic Landmark.

The Julius Deming home, built in High Federal style between 1790 and 1793, has many original features, including a front door with imported English hardware and glass light; hardwood woodwork and paneling carved by local craftsmen in the parlor and library; the bay window in the dining room; the Rossiter Great Room with two fireplaces; and the original Deming store building in the backyard.

The Dr. Reuben Smith House, completed in 1770 for the marriage of Dr. Smith to Abigail Hubbard of Middletown, is a five-bay, central chimney Colonial. Highlights include the intact facade, including clapboards, window trim detail; original sash weights and pulleys in all four rooms; the restored original 18th century buttery and a new kitchen with adjacent sitting room and decorative 1852 cast iron cooking stove original to the wing.

The Ozias Lewis home, a Federal-style residence built in 1806 for the county Justice of the Peace also boasts original features such as the curved staircase, wood paneling in the parlor and library and two fireplaces. It is set on seven acres with lovely gardens.

The one contemporary dwelling on the tour is Tomorrow's Ranch, an airy, ranch-style home built in 1957 by a local doctor, prior to the establishment of the Historic District. Though the house is notable for its design, it was controversial at the time and led to the creation of Litchfield's Historic Commission to preserve the town's architectural heritage.

The Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Law School, recognized as the first law school in America, will also be included in the admission price of the Tour. The History Museum's current exhibition, To Please Any Taste: Litchfield County Furniture and Furniture Makers, 1780 - 1830, shows over 30 examples of Litchfield County furniture. The Oliver Wolcott Library, the churches in Litchfield and Lourdes of Litchfield, a shrine built in 1954 by the Montfort Missionaries as a replica of the famous Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France are other points of interest on the 2009 Tour.

Open House Day, conducted by the Litchfield Aid of CJR, an auxiliary volunteer organization, goes on rain or shine. Tickets will be available on the day of the tour at the Ticket Tent on the Litchfield Green for $30. Advance tickets may be obtained for $25.00 by mail or on-line at www.litchfieldct.com/cjr/tour.html. A special benefit preview party will be held the night before the tour at the three acre garden and grounds of the 1771 Lynde Lord House. For information contact the CJR at (860) 567-9423 between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

For information on additional summer house tours and other events and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 112-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.