Historic House Tour in Kent

A special November tour is taking place in the charming town of Kent that is hosted by the Kent Historical Society on November 9 from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. Houses on the Kent Historical Society’s House tour will feature the architecture of Sherwood Mills and Smith AIA. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 on the day of the tour. For your tickets click here.

This tour features six of Kent’s architectural gems that have been preserved with great care. This house tour will give residents and visitors an inside look at homes and structures built in the first decade of the 18th century through a modernist mid-century and help them understand how people lived and are living in this bucolic community.

There is an interesting variety of home on the tour. Some were grand dwellings in their day, others were much more modest. The highlight is that the variety of homes offer a number of curiosities and beauty that tour-goers will appreciate on this journey into the past.

The tour starts at Seven Hearths Museum on 4 Studio Hill Road in Kent, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Ticket holders will get a map and a description of the houses and are free to go on a self-guided tour of the homes. Tickets may also be purchased that day at the Seven Hearths from 11 a.m. through the afternoon. It promises to be a fun event — who doesn’t like peering back in time in old houses?

Hidden History of Litchfield Hills at Kent Historical Society

The Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library will present local author and prominent educator Peter Vermilyea as he discusses and signs his new book “Hidden History of Litchfield County” on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. In the event of inclement weather, the snow date is Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.


In his book and presentations, Vermilyea uncovers abundant clues all around us, and shares them with audiences and readers throughout the region. His curiosity takes him all over the local landscape, and he constantly turns up instances of history that still linger, if you open your eyes to see them.

Stonewalls and graveyards summon numerous stories from Vermilyea. He points out weed-choked railroad tracks that crisscross the county, in Kent and beyond, and brings our attention to a ruined cinderblock bunker in Warren that was once a crucial radar station during the Cold War. He reminds us of a catastrophic fire that devastated Winsted in 1908, forcing residents to flee the Odd Fellows boardinghouse in fear of their lives. In Bantam, art deco chairs made by the Warren McArthur Corporation were so appealing and comfortable that the War Department ordered bomber seats from the company during World War II. Vermilyea explores these and other juicy tales from the history of Litchfield County, Connecticut.

A resident of Litchfield, Mr. Vermilyea teaches history at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Connecticut, and at Western Connecticut State University. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he is the director of the student scholarship program at his alma mater’s Civil War Institute. He is a member of the Litchfield Historical Society Board of Directors. He is the author or editor of three books and more than a dozen articles and maintains the Hidden in Plain Sight blog. In fact, the book grew from Vermilyea’s fascinating blog, which can be found at http://www.hiddeninplainsightblog.com. “Hidden History of Litchfield County” boasts five-star reviews on Amazon, with such comments as, “extremely well-written and impressively researched,” and “it is amazing how many remnants of the nation’s past the author has uncovered…”

Vermilyea’s lecture will be particularly geared to Kent and its citizens, but everyone will want to attend. A long-time friend of both the Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library, Vermilyea made ample use of the society’s archives in researching this book. Readers will find a handsome acknowledgement to the Kent Historical Society’s Curator, Marge Smith, on page 8.

His book, “Hidden History of Litchfield County” will be available for purchase at the lecture by local bookstore House of Books. There will be a reception following the presentation. The program is free and open to the public. Donations are suggested and welcome. To register, please call 860-927-4587 or 860-927-3761, email assistant@kenthistoricalsociety.org or kmlinfo@biblio.org or register at the Library at www.kentmemoriallibrary.org and click on the events calendar.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Kent Historical Society presents art of George Laurence Nelson

Portrait of the Hirschberg/Nelson family by George Laurence Nelson
Portrait of the Hirschberg/Nelson family by George Laurence Nelson

The Seven Hearths, the Kent Historical Society Museum, will re-open this summer after being closed for two years with a series of new art exhibits focusing on the life and work of George Laurence Nelson. The Seven Hearths Museum is located on Rte. 7 north of Kent center on the corner of Studio Hill Road in Kent in the historic Flanders area that was once the original center of Kent.

George Laurence Nelson, trained at the Art Students League and the National Academy, and began teaching at the Art Students League in his early 20s. Nelson was among the founders of the Litchfield Hills Art Colony, and later one of the nine founders of the Kent Art Association.

The Litchfield Hills Art Colony played a meaningful role on a national scale in twentieth century American art. George Laurence Nelson’s studio in Seven Hearths is the only remnant of the colony that is open to the public today.

Set within Nelson’s beloved pre-Revolutionary Seven Hearths, which he donated to the Historical Society located on Rte. 7 in Kent Connecticut in the heart of the Litchfield Hills, the Historical Society is presenting three changing exhibits of Nelson’s work in August, September and October.

Nelson portrait of Arturo Toscanini Credit: Kent Historical Society
Nelson portrait of Arturo Toscanini Credit: Kent Historical Society

The August exhibit beginning on the 3rd and running through the 25th will feature large and interesting selection of Nelson portraits. He made his money by doing portraits, and the subjects range from well-known celebrities such as Arturo Toscanini, to NYC society dames, to familiar local faces such as Frank Goodsell as a child.

In September from the 1st to the 29th Nelson’s floral paintings will be on display. While he made money-painting portraits, his heart was devoted to stunning renditions of the lovely flowers that he and his wife Helen grew in their gardens at Seven Hearths. Some are exquisitely colored oil paintings and some are perfectly detailed pencil drawings. Some even are featured on the cover of matchboxes!

Floral painting by Nelson, Kent Historical Society
Floral painting by Nelson, Kent Historical Society

A show that will fill the Seven Hearths Museum with works by Nelson that are borrowed from private collections will be the final exhibit of the season and will take place from October 5 – 27.

The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the month.

Call the Historical Society office, 860-927-4587 or visit the web site for more information www.kenthistoricalsociety.org.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com