The Nellie E. McKnight Museum is a historic house owned by the Ellington Historical Society. Located at 70 Main Street, the brick Federal house was built in 1812 for Charles Sexton, a farmer and store owner. Howard McKnight, the father of Nellie E. McKnight, bought the house in 1922. Nellie McKnight had been born on her father’s farm in Ellington in 1894. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1917 and taught school until 1929, when she return to Ellington and became the librarian of the Hall Memorial Library, a position she held until her retirement in 1967. She continued to live in the Sexton/McKnight house until her death in 1981, when the house and its contents were bequeathed to the Historical Society to become a museum.
Capt. Elisha White was born in Windsor in 1706. As recorded in the Memorials of Elder John White (1760), by Allyn S. Kellogg, “He settled early in Bolton, but removed to East Guilford, (now Madison,) Conn., about 1744, and thence to the adjoining town of Killingworth, about 1749. He lived in that part of Killingworth which is now Clinton, and was for a while engaged in mercantile business. He died there, probably about the year 1778.” In 1750 he purchased the land in Clinton on which he soon built a house, constructed of brick thought to have been brought from England by ship as ballast. Known as “Old Brick,” the house is now a museum, owned by the Clinton Historical Society.
John Rogers, known as “the people’s sculptor,” was the most popular sculptor in America in the later nineteenth century, proucing relatively inexpensive works that filled the parlors of many Victorian-era homes. Rogers built his studio in New Canaan in 1878. His house in New Canaan, which was his residence until his death in 1904, was demolished in 1960. Rogers’ studio, which resembles a Victorian cottage, was saved and moved one lot away from its original location by the New Canaan Historical Society. It is now a museum displaying a large collection of Rogers‘ famous groups of plaster statuary.
The Marks-Brownson House in Huntington (part of Shelton) was built between 1820 and 1825 for Hezekiah Marks, a merchant who served in the Connecticut General Assembly in 1828 and 1830. After his death in 1835, at the age of 54, the house was sold to the Bennett family, who sold it in 1866 to Henry Israel Brownson. The house eventually passed to his son, Harry Booth Brownson, who married Gertrude Buckingham in 1904. Making their living as farmers, the couple lived in the house for over sixty years. In 1960, the Brownson Country Club opened on land gifted for one dollar by the Brownsons, who wanted to save it from development. The Shelton Historical Society acquired the Brownson House in 1971, also for a dollar, and moved it from its original location, at the corner of Old Shelton Road and Shelton Avenue, to the corner of Ripton and Cloverdale Roads, where today it is open to the public as part of the Shelton History Center. The house is presented as it would have been during the early years of the marriage of Harry and Gertrude Brownson.
The Little Boston School in East Lyme was first established in 1734. There is a surviving Little Boston School House that was built around 1805 and originally stood on the north side of West Main Street. The school was run by the Second Ecclesiastical Society of Lyme until 1856 and from then until 1922 by the Town of East Lyme. After closing as a school, the building was donated to the East Lyme Historical Society in 1926 and moved to a new location, adjacent to the Thomas Lee House. Restored to an early twentieth-century appearance in 1973, the school house is now a museum.
The Old Town Hall of Enfield was originally built in 1775 as the Enfield Congregational Church’s third meeting house. By 1848, the building had become overcrowded and the current church was built the following year. With funds from businessman businessman, Orrin Thompson, the old meeting house was converted into the town hall. The building was altered with the removal of the steeple and the addition of a Greek Revival-style front portico. A new town hall was built in 1892 and the old building was neglected until 1923, when it became a community house. The building was later threatened with demolition, but between 1972 and 1980 it was restored by the Enfield Historical Society and then opened as the Old Town Hall Museum.
The Ebenezer Avery House, built around 1750, originally stood at the corner of Latham Street and Thames Street in Groton. On September 6, 1781, American soldiers, including Ebenezer Avery, who had been wounded at the Battle of Groton Heights, were being transported in a cart to become British prisoners. The rolling cart went out-of-control and collided with a tree. The wounded, in agony, were taken to the Ebenezer Avery House. The Averys were a prominent family of early settlers in Groton. Captain James Avery was the first of the family to settle in Groton in the seventeenth century. His son, also named James, occupied a house, built in 1671, known as the Hive of the Averys, which burned down in 1894. The Avery Memorial Association was formed the following year and erected a memorial at the site of the Hive. In 1971, Stanton Avery of California purchased the Ebenezer Avery House and donated it to the Association. The house was moved from its original location to the the grounds of Fort Griswold State Park, where today it is open to the public as a house museum.