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PO Box 256
New York NY 10028-0003
Tel.: 212.327.0401

Connecticut Museums: Alphabetical List | Historic Houses: Alphabetical List |

Holley-Williams House Museum
, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Historic House Museum

Historic 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

Tel.: 860.435.3878 & 860.435.0566
E-mail: lbucceri@yahoo.com

Memorial Day 12-5, Independence Day through Labor Day Saturday and Sunday 12-5, remainder of the year Friday 12-5 

suggested donation $5

photograph not
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.

Gift Shop

Various local history publications are offered

About the Museum
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 Collections

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 president.
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 room.
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. 

We thank the Holley-Williams House Museum for providing the information.