Due to extensive winter snow and ice damage, the Daniel Benton Homestead Museum will not open for tours until repairs are complete. The grounds and trails are available to enjoy weekends through October. We will end the season on October 26 with Family Day at the Museum. Look for more information about programs and events in the coming weeks. We look forward to welcoming you to Tolland’s oldest surviving dwelling.
At the Benton this year..
There are three big projects taking place at the museum this year. Boy Scout Jack Yates will be repairing and rebuilding the front fence as his Eagle project. Jack will also build a new well sweep for the museum. Three Girl Scouts from Coventry are creating a new kitchen garden on the west lawn. The girls prepared the site in the fall and built wood frames for some of the raised beds during the winter. These beds will be installed this spring. The remaining raised beds will be constructed of stone. This project is funded by donations from the Garden Club. Our final project is inside the museum. A long unused room off the side entrance is undergoing restoration. Once the kitchen pantry, when it is completed this room will be used to display information about the Benton family and archaeological artifacts.
About the Benton
Six generations of the Benton family lived here and farmed the land. Daniel Benton’s sons served in the French and Indian War; five of his grandsons answered the Lexington Alarm and fought in the Revolutionary War. Purchased from the family in 1932 by Florrie Bishop Bowering, a radio personality and dietician at the University of Connecticut, it was occupied by her until her death in 1968. The house came into the possession of the Tolland Historical Society through the generosity of the next owners, Charles B. Goodstein and William A Shocket, in 1969, and was opened as a museum the following year.
Although minor changes were made to the house over the years, it remains much the same as it was in Daniel Benton’s time. A full cape with an ell, it’s exterior is repainted in the original colors.
The hall, reflecting the earliest construction, boasts a beautifully paneled fireplace wall, stained and grained to simulate walnut, as is the wide-board feather-edged sheathing on the other three walls. Paneling in the parlor has been repainted in the original light Prussian blue. Repairs to both chimneys have returned the five fireplaces to useable condition. Work on the center chimney exposed the original walk-in fireplace with rear bake oven in the kitchen, which has been restored. The cellar, which has another largecooking fireplace, was used to house Hessian and English prisoners for eighteen months during the Revolutionary War.
The Daniel Benton Homestead Museum tells the story of 18th century Tolland through the lives of the first three generations of Bentons to live in it.
For Information call Gail White, Director 860 974-1875