Oliver Wolcott Library (1799)

June 25th, 2011 Posted in Federal Style, Houses, Libraries, Litchfield

The building at 160 South Street in Litchfield was built in 1799 as a house by Elijah Wadsworth. In 1814, it was purchased by Oliver Wolcott, Jr. The house was just across the street from the former home of his father, Oliver Wolcott, Sr., later occupied by his brother. Oliver, Sr. was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Connecticut from 1796 to 1797. Oliver, Jr., who attended Yale and Tapping Reeve’s Litchfield Law School, served as Secretary of the Treasury under Washington and Adams, from 1795 to 1800, and as Governor of Connecticut, from 1817 to 1827. Wolcott added the two-story south wing to the Wadsworth House a few years after purchasing it. The house was given to the Litchfield Historical Society in 1963. The Society and the town library at that time shared the Noyes Memorial Building on the Green. The Society gave the Wolcott House to the library as its new home, in return for retaining the Noyes Building. The library hired Eliot Noyes and Associates of New Canaan to design a new modern wing at the rear of the Wolcott House, which began construction in 1965. The following year, the library moved into its new home and took the name Oliver Wolcott Library in honor of both Oliver Wolcott, Sr. and Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

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