On July 17, 2014 the beam was lifted, put into place and final fastening, closing up and finishing work is in process as I write. The Lee House is most certainly deserving of the treatment by the best hands available. Our original feelings about Early New England Restorations have been confirmed. They are doing a masterful job. The memorial plates are also being fastened just prior to closing up of the walls.
The Day was interested enough to do a nice article in the 7/21/14 publication (here).
It was not surprising that rot was found in a couple of structural posts. This was cured, the corners strapped with steel plating and we can be confident that the house is stronger than before.
This being our 100th Anniversary of the purchase of the Lee House we thought it fitting to schedule this installation this year as a demonstration of our commitment to preserve this Town treasure and window to history. Thank you to all the donators to this project, all those involved in past preservation projects and those ladies that had the foresight to purchase the Lee House for the East Lyme Historical Society 100 years ago
Norman B. Peck III, President
The East Lyme Historical Society
For more photos and information about the beam project, please visit The Beam.
August 30th and 31st, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The grounds of the Thomas Lee House Museum will once again be host to a wide variety of vendors,offering antiques, crafts, collectibles and all manner of flea market finds. Be sure to stop by Saturday or Sunday of Labor Day weekend. You never know what treasures you'll find!
If you would like to be a vendor at our Labor Day Flea Market, you can find an application form here.
The purposes and objectives of the Society shall be:
1. To engage in educational, archival, research and exploration activities and to support such activities that will increase knowledge of and engender appreciation of the history of the Town of East Lyme and its heritage.
2. To encourage the preservation and restoration of the town’s historical assets, such as houses, structures, burying grounds, early artifacts and other things associated with the town’s origin and history.
3. To determine and develop year round historical programs and implementation of same. These programs and activities shall include the period of colonial history and may include all periods of American history and other history.
4. To cooperate and participate with other organizations for similar purposes and objectives, both within and without the town.
5. To establish the Thomas Lee House Preservation Committee to ensure the protection and preservation of the Thomas Lee House as an American heritage, wherein books, documents, pictures, furniture, tools, implements, artifacts and other articles associated with the history of the Thomas Lee House and the family are housed.
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the purchase of the Thomas Lee house by the East Lyme Historical Society in order to protect and preserve it for future generations. The Society will be recognizing this anniversary with several events over the coming months. As details are confirmed, we will be sure to share them with you. Until then, we will be posting photos of the house as it looked at the time of purchase, and as the needed repair work was undertaken. We will also post some news articles that were written about the house at the time of the purchase. The first few of these can be found on our new page:
In her account of the origins of the Thomas Lee House Museum, given on June 9, 1915, Miss Celeste E. Bush, Secretary of the East Lyme Historical Society, also spoke about the fundraising efforts (reported in The Day, June 10, 1915):
"The hoped for help came; we applied to the chairman of the old house committee of the Society of Colonial Dames, who recommended us to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Their secretary, Mr. Appleton, came on and saw the house and pronounced it well worth saving. Mr. Seymour of the Society of Colonial Wars, engaged Norman W. Isham, the great authority on colonial houses, to examine and report on the house, and his report being favorable, these three societies gave us $200 each. Other contributions, largely from Lee descendants, brought the sum in hand up to $1,000, which was ready well within our 90 days' option.
"The $500 in excess of the cost price was so nearly enough for the necessary repairs that it seemed wise to contract a small debt, about $100, which we hope either by our own efforts or the generosity of friends who have not as yet contributed, to meet at an early date. And we are anxious to relay the old well, which has begun to cave in and to build a protecting fence against the destructive forces of the souvenir hunters who dig out the flowers from the lawn.
"We do not call this begging; we are offering a share in the best we have. We have not saved the old house for ourselves, but for the state, the nation and posterity. We do not welcome you to our house, but to your house. Here you may come as freely as we to meditate on the quarter-of-a-thousand years in which this house has been contemporary."
This is an exciting year for the East Lyme Historical Society. To have been able to save such a wonderful building, and to have maintained it in nearly-original condition for 100 years, is an achievement we owe to the support and hard work of our members and the community around us. We look forward to celebrating this remarkable anniversary, and hope that you will join us!
Norwich Historical Society and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Through Friday, August 29th
The Key to Liberty: The Revolutionary War in the Champlain Valley
The Norwich Historical Society and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum present an exhibit featuring historical images, maps, and eyewitness accounts of the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island. This exhibit tells the story of Benedict Arnold's fleet that dared to confront the British Royal Navy on Lake Champlain, and explores the role of Arnold, "an American enigma". Attention is also give to the fate of the historic shipwrecks of that fleet. The exhibit can be viewed at the Slater Memorial Museum, 108 Crescent Street, Norwich. For more information, please visit:
Haddam Historical Society
Sunday, July 27th, 3:00 p.m.
History and Human Rights Perspectives on Connecticut: Sagas, Scandals, Spirits and Slavery
Susan Campbell will talk about her new Wesleyan University Press book on the life of Isabella Beecher Hooker, younger sister to the famous author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a well-known women's rights activist. Campbell is an award-winning former Hartford Courant columnist and reporter. This lecture, which takes place in the Thankful Arnold House Gardens, 14 Hayden Hill Road, Haddam, CT, is one in a series of five lectures by the authors of books that look at Connecticut history from a human rights perspective. The series is free and open to all. The books will be available for purchase and signing at each lecture, there will be opportunities for dialogue, and refreshments will be served. For more information, please visit:
The Friends of Fort Trumbull
Thursday, July 31st, 7:00 p.m.
Eugene O’Neill and Dat ole Davil Sea
Author Robert Richter will continue The Friends of Fort Trumbull’s presentation of “The Whaling City and the Sea”, by discussing Eugene O’Neill, one of New London’s most famous residents. Mr. Richter, a graduate of Connecticut College, is the Director of Arts Programming at the College. In addition, he consults for museums and historical societies on staff training, public program development, and the implementation of performance-based programs. As an author, he has written extensively on Eugene O’Neill,examining the influences on O’Neill of the maritime history of New London, his experiences in sailing and steamships, and his Provincetown experiences. One of his earliest plays, “Ile”, is set on a whaling ship, locked in the immutable ice of the Arctic. In this short play, he explores the pressures on the sea captains to obtain the whale oil, and the effects of the sailing conditions on the women who also went to sea to be near their husbands. There are many other maritime connections to be found in his plays. The presentation will take place in the Fort Trumbull Conference Center on 90 Walbach Street, New London. The public is invited, but seating is limited. New members are always welcome. Refreshments will follow the presentation. For more information, please visit:
Stanley Whitman House
Wednesday, August 6th ,6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Walking Tour: Farmington's Historic Main Street
Through its architecture, Farmington's Main Street tells the story of its 17th-century beginnings to the dawn of the industrial age. Learn about the changing landscape of this beautiful and historic street and how it reflects the activities and challenges of the people who resided here. Admission is $10.00. You will be contacted after you register with information about where to meet your tour guide. For more information, please visit:
Avery-Copp Museum, Friends of Fort Griswold, Bill Memorial Library
Saturday, August 9th, 8:00 p.m.
Ghosts of Groton Bank: A Guided Tour of Haunted Sites
Join us for a guided tour of Fort Griswold, Bill Memorial Library, Ebenezer Avery House, Mother Bailey House, and Avery-Copp House. Docents will be on hand to tell the stories of each location's ghosts! A fee of $10.00 per person benefits the restoration of the Mother Bailey House. For more information, please visit:
The East Lyme Historical Society owns and maintains the Thomas Lee House and Little Boston School House, offers educational programs to the community throughout the year, works to provide access to historical materials through its publications, archives, and website, and is always ready to work with other groups to help foster understanding and appreciation of the history of our town.
And we do it all as volunteers!
The generosity of our town and our members is greatly appreciated. Time, energy, and dollars donated are put immediately to work.
If you are currently a member, THANK YOU! If not, please consider joining us. You may download the Membership Form here, or print the Membership Form page here, and mail either one to us, or you can contact us at:
Donations are always welcome.
And please remember: all of our programs are open to the public, free of charge. We welcome your participation!
BUSINESS OWNERS: Become a Business Member of the East Lyme Historical Society for only $50 a year. Members receive a free listing on our Business Directory page, with a link to their own sites, as well as being mentioned in our newsletters. Our website is currently attracting over 700 unique visitors and 10,000 hits each month, from all over the country, and from around the world. Many of them are in the process of planning trips to our area, and would be interested in the services you provide. Local residents will recognize your generosity, as well.
INTERESTED IN BEING A VOLUNTEER? The Society is busy year-round, with a calendar full of events to plan and execute, and a substantial property to maintain. We are always looking for people to get involved. If you have ideas, would like to help organize future activities, or want to be a more active member of the society, let us know. We'd be thrilled to hear from you!