Historic House Museum
federal house and outbuildings containing five
generations of family furnishings, silver, china, glass,
toys, period clothing, books, furniture and portraits.
The house was in the hands of the same family for more
than 150 years.
15 Millerton Road
Lakeville, Connecticut o6068
860.435.3878 & 860.435.0566
Memorial Day 12-5, Independence Day through Labor
Day Saturday and Sunday 12-5, remainder of the year
suggested donation $5
available at this time
Directions to get to the Museum:
Located on Route 44 in northwestern CT
Historic federal house and outbuildings containing five generations
of family furnishings, silver, china, glass, toys, period clothing,
books, furniture and portraits.
Through membership in The Salisbury Association, PO Box 553, Salisbury,
CT 06068, 860 435 0566, hours: Monday to Friday 9:30-12:30.
Various local history publications are offered
The Holley-Williams House Museum is unique in that the house was in
the hands of the same family for more than 150 years. It consists
of the original Salisbury Ironmaster's 1768 house, and the connected
Federal period home of the Holley and Williams families, built in
1808 as an addition by John Milton Holley, a leading Lakeville businessman.
His daughter, Maria Holley Williams, lived in the house, and after
that her son Hubert and daughter-in-Law Clare "Duxie" Coffing
Williams, and then their daughter Margaret Williams who bequeathed
the house to The Salisbury Association at her death in 1971.
The museum contains five generations of family furnishings.
These include silver, glass and china, toys, period clothing, and
a library of 400 volumes including many 19th century school books.
Several family portraits by noted early American painters, along
with donated works, hang on the walls. There are donated antique
musical instruments. The Museum's collections include a treasure
trove of more than 6,000 letters, diaries of family members,
and other original documents such as sheet music, which together
provide an unrivaled view of life in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut
between 1775 and 1971.
The Holley family, one of the most prominent in the area, was involved
in the iron industry, engineering and politics. Family members
include a governor of Connecticut; the engineer who brought
the Bessemer steel process to the United States; the treasurer of
the Erie Canal project; the first publisher of "A Visit from
St. Nicholas;" the founder of a school for Blacks; and a university
The Holley-Williams House, a fine example of Federal architecture,
stands with its outbuildings--an ice house, a barn, a carriage house,
gardens, and a seven-hole outhouse--on a knoll overlooking the site
of the Holley Manufacturing Company. The front portico, with
its Ionic columns, leads into a wide entrance hall, curving staircase,
and downstairs parlor, furnished much as they were when the Holley
and Williams families lived there. The dining room, overlooking
an old-fashioned walled garden, holds many family heirlooms, including
a tall butler's desk and a set of china given to Alexander Hamilton
Holley on his inauguration as Governor of Connecticut in 1857.
On permanent exhibit is a showcase of Holley Manufacturing Company
pocket knives, originally shown at the Centennial Exposition in
Philadelphia in 1876.
On the second floor of the 1808 wing, the north bedroom is decorated
in the style of the 1830s, all white and light colors. Through
a connected area is Maria Holley's bedroom, where she scratched
"Home Sweet Home June 1847" into a pane of glass with
her diamond engagement ring. A third bedroom is a small child's
The Salisbury Cannon Museum, founded in 1994, is in the adjoining
carriage house, It emphasizes the central role of the Lakeville
Furnace during the Revolutionary War. The furnace was built
by Ethan Allen and his partners, and the museum describes the processes
employed during the early years of iron-making in North America.
The museum tells the story of the Revolution through seven individuals
who were part of the struggle for independence, including Salisbury
native Elisha Sheldon. It features interactive installations
of interest to children and adults alike, and a souvenir shop.
the Holley-Williams House Museum for providing the information.