Haddam Historical Society
Thankful Arnold House Museum
April 29, 2020
The Window Project
We continue to plug along here at the Thankful Arnold House Museum, cataloging collections item and doing a little spring cleaning.

Last week we put up 240 paper hearts to thank all the essential workers who are helping us through this Covid-19 pandemic. We appreciate all their hard work and sacrifice from medical staff to retail workers.
As part of the “heart project” we washed windows, which reminded me of my least favorite chore as a child……..washing 12 X 12 double-hung sash.

I grew up in an early 18 th century home and every spring one of us was delegated to wash the many little panes of glass in our historic windows. I love how they look, but was not a big fan of washing them. I am proud to say the windows remain (house still in the family) and I now realize it was a small price to pay to maintaining the integrity and historic value of the house. 
Programs and Events Update

  • Connecticut Spring Antiques Show- Cancelled
  • Haddam Shad Museum Opening- Postponed
  • Annual Town Wide Tag Sale- Postponed until June 13
  • Haddam Historical Society Annual Meeting in May- Postponed TBD
It appears highly unlikely that we will be able to conduct any of school programs this spring and we have not made a decision about our summer camp program-“A Week in the Life of an Early American Child”.
June events and programs are up in the air at this point but stay tuned.
On-Line Exhibit
Outhouse, Privy, Loo!
Privy on line exhibit
We have added a small privy exhibit to our blog at

If you have a local privy you would like to share please send along photo and information and we will add it to the blog.

This and That

For those of you who do not follow us on social media, here are a few posts from the past month. For those who do follow, sorry for repetition.

We have both Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/haddamhistory/

Instagram Account: Thankful Arnold House

April 14, 2020

Killingworth Road, Higganum looking towards Swan Hill.

April 17. 2020

Cataloging today. Here is the sweet "autograph album" of Ursula "Lula" Shailer dating from 1879 to 1883. She turned 15 in December of 1879 when she received the album as a gift. Not only did schoolmates sign it, but so did her parents and friends from Chester, Lyme, Higganum and Tylerville.

Ursula never married and became a school teacher in both Chester and Deep River, as well as, assistant postmaster in Higganum. She was "confined to an invalid's chair" in her late 30s and forced to give up teaching due to rheumatism. She was remembered as "bright, witty and cheerful".
"Few words are best, I wish thee well"
Ever Your Friend, Annie
December 5, 1880
Dear Sula,
"Forgive and remember me as your true friend"
M.J. H. Chapman
Brainerd Academy, Decmeber 14, 1880
Cover of the Autograph Album
"This is the New Year's morn, and I'll Write unto my dear,
Taking this way to wish her a happy bright New Year"
Your moma, H. Ann Shailer, January 1, 1880
As Your Friend, Carleton J. Ventres, Haddam, Feb. 17, 1880, Conn. Your schoolmate
Presented by the M.Y.A.
December 24, 1879
Merry Christmas
Norman Smith House
April 28, 2020

The Norman Smith House, 216 Saybrook Road, Higganum. One of Haddam's best examples of the Carpenter-Gothic style. Features board and batten vertical siding and steeply pitched gable roof with decorative vergeboarding. The porch also features elaborate trim and the windows are highlighted by wooden hood moldings. Photo taken in 1950s. Note the lack of trees. Norman Smith was a blacksmith by trade and the house remained in his family until mid-20th century.

A Hartford Courant article from 1958 states that the Norman Smith House which had remained vacant for almost 100 years was sold to Mr. William Maynard of Higganum. Interest was high surrounding the property due to the story that the owners left the house completely furnished and dining room table set for dinner and it stood undisturbed for many years while tied up in probate.
The house was locally known as the gingerbread house.
Thankful says "Stay Home, Stay Safe"