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Easton's Historic House Opens for Viewing

EASTON, Conn. – Travel back to a time with no Internet, no electricity and no running water as you walk through the Bradley-Hubbell House. Learn what it was like to live in the early 1800s with the Bradley family and in the early 1900s with the Hubbells.

The Easton Historical Society has set up two kitchens in the house to showcase the life of each family. In the Bradleys' kitchen, the chimney dates to 1750, when John Dimon owned the property. It has a Dutch oven where bread was cooked, and there are kitchen tools to show how stews were boiled and even how waffles were made.

"The focus on the Bradleys shows Easton's connection to farming," said Lisa Burghardt, president of the historical society. "The Hubbells show how Easton changed when the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company came in."

The house was first opened to the public in 2010. There are tours available twice each month from June to September. For more information, call Burghardt at 203-581-0850.

The Historical Society began working on the house in 1999 and started to restore the first floor and the exterior in 2006. Since then, the main focus has been the barn, which houses Henry Audley's collection of farm tools that were once used in the area.

Only the two families have lived in this house. Franklin Hubbell, a worker for Bridgeport Hydraulic Company, moved in when BHC took over the property in the early 1900s. Most of the land surrounding what was then the Aspetuck River was taken so the river could be flooded to become a reservoir and provide water supply to the town. Franklin Hubbell was responsible for planting the pine trees that now surround the Aspetuck Reservoir.

The Historical Society recently received a $5,000 grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historical Preservation. With this money, the society will be able to start restoring the barn, including excavation of the back. The society is now able to apply for more grants, through the 1772 Foundation, which, if successful, could enable them to replace the barn's wood siding, the doors, paint the frames and fix a part of the roof that was damaged by a falling tree last year.

"The barn is just as important as the house," said  Burghardt. "All activities and the history of what was going on on the land is in the barn."

Viewers are also able to see a replica of the flower garden that Helen Hubbell would have had in the 1920s. There is also an original sink and cupboard in the Hubbell kitchen.

The Bradleys’ parlor, or "Best Room," shows roping around the doorway, which "is unusual in a historic house," said Burghardt. It had been a wedding gift to Elizabeth Bradley.

What the Bradley-Hubbell House has that other historic houses don't is a manuscript. It was written in 1899 by John Dimon Bradley and details the life at the house at the time, and even the neighbors' activities in that part of Easton, which was Weston before 1845.

In June, the Connecticut General Assembly awarded the historical society a preservation award for its work on the Bradley-Hubbell House, as a "catalyst for community involvement." On June 26, local artists came to the house and painted different scenes.

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