EDITORIAL: No interest in historic Connecticut home

EDITORIAL: No interest in historic Connecticut home


There’s a lot of American history in New England, and a lot of interest in preserving history. But though there is usually interest, it doesn’t always work out. The Hartford home where the poet Wallace Stevens lived was up for sale a few years ago, for example, and while there was interest in purchasing it and turning it into a museum, the home eventually went to owners for use as a private residence.

Then there is the strange story of the Harriet Beecher Stowe house. Not the Brunswick, Maine, home where she wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” or the Hartford house where she spent her final days — those are well preserved — but the house in Litchfield where she was born and lived until she was 13.

That house, built in 1774 and purchased by the writer’s father in 1810, is in pieces, disassembled and in storage lockers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. An antiques dealer and co-owner of the home, Art Pappas, has been listing it on eBay with an asking price of $400,000. “Our goal is for someone to do a proper restoration job,” he told The New York Times. Having attracted no bids, Pappas relisted the property on Monday.

After it was preacher Lyman Beecher’s property, and the childhood home of his 11 children, the house was a sanitarium and a private school dormitory. The folk singer Pete Seeger lived there in the 1920s. The Forman School sold it for a dollar to a buyer who intended to move it and turn it into a museum, but that never worked out. Pappas, who aquired the pieces two years ago, had advertised the home to organizations specializing in historic homes and museums, also with no luck.

If Pappas gets no interest from his online efforts, his plans may include selling off the pieces, which would obviously be a shame.

It would be a sad fate for a piece, or pieces, of history.

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