Built in 1977, the Harwinton Historical Society’s barn museum is a 20’ x 30’ replica of a typical 1800s barn used on family farms to house cows, horses, equipment, and hay. A 12’ x 42’ addition was added in 1989 to provide more space for display of Harwinton-related artifacts.
As you enter the barn through the south double doors, you will see the large ox shoeing frame on the right. Overhead is a big hay fork on a track. The large bellows on display were used at the blacksmith shop on Center Hill. Many of the tools on display are typical of or were actually used in the 1800s and early 1900s on Harwinton farms, including laundry and cooking equipment.
Other items on display include a corn stalk cutter, root grinder, winnowing machine, corn sheller, a sleigh, farm wagon, butter churns, milk pails, and a bobsled.
The Harwinton Congregational Church
In colonial Connecticut, the establishment of a town was based on the ability of the community to support a Congregational church. In October of 1738, the residents of Harwinton voted in a town meeting to construct a church/meeting house. Thus, the Harwinton Congregational Church has a long history in our town beginning with that first meeting house built in 1745. The original building stood near the current town green. After years of use and with a growing Harwinton population, the first church proved to be too small. Subsequently, a larger church was built in 1808 in the Federal style at the current church location. In 1949 that church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The present Harwinton Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) was constructed and reopened in 1952. It now sits in a visible and prominent place within the Town of Harwinton Center Historic District.
Theodore A. Hungerford Memorial Museum
The Theodore A. Hungerford Memorial Museum, originally known as the Theodore Alfred Hungerford Memorial, was built as both a free public library and a memorial to Mr. Theodore Hungerford who requested that his remains be placed in a granite vault in the basement. Newman Hungerford, Theodore’s nephew, was responsible to find the site and oversee the construction of the building. Frank Fuller of Torrington, CT was the general contractor who began construction in the spring of 1909. The building was completed in January of 1912. On March 30, 1912, a grand opening was held and the library was opened for business. Ms. Ada Webster, who attended the opening, wrote in a letter to Newman Hungerford that “It was a great epoch in the history of Harwinton and means more than any of us can realize for the present generations and for those following.”
The building served the public as a library from its inception in 1912 until the late 1900s when a new library was erected on Bentley Drive. Today, the building serves as a museum for items collected by Newman Hungerford and donated by local residents.
First District Schoolhouse
This building was built in 1840 at the foot of Center Hill on the south side of the road and east of Leadmine Brook. After the Harwinton Consolidated School was built in the late 1940s the old school building stood empty for a number of years and was badly vandalized. In 1972 the Lions Club of Harwinton paid the cost of moving the school building to its current location on the grounds of the Consolidated School and the Historical Society restored it to its original style. The building now is as it was when it was built years ago in 1840.
South Cemetery - South Road
At a town meeting in 1807, the citizens of Harwinton voted to procure an acre of land for the purpose of establishing a “burying ground” for the community. Land along South Road was selected, and the acre of land was purchased from Rev. Joshua Williams for the sum of $130. The cemetery was prepared and opened in the fall of 1808 with the first burial, that of Cyprion Webster, held the following spring. Many of Harwinton’s earliest citizens were laid to rest in the cemetery, and a self-guided tour provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about these notable Harwintonians.