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Local Groups Hosting Series on Town History

Friends of the Library, Farmington Heritage Alliance bringing local experts to talk about antique and artifacts, a mastodon, old Unionville and more.

The Friends of the Library have joined forces with the Farmington Heritage Alliance to co-sponsor a series of six programs on local history entitled "Our Town."

The programs will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoons in the Farmington Library's Community Room during January and February. Each of five local historical organizations will produce a program aimed at families, and there will be one big joint program and exhibit.  

The series will kick off on Sunday, January 6, with a talk by Paul Kramer on "Treasures: Library Books from 18th and 19th Century Farmington," sponsored by the Library. 

The program offers an opportunity to learn about Farmington’s oldest books – critically important tangible and unique treasures that are part of the fabric of the town’s historic community, including leather books covered by sheepskin dust jackets over 200 years ago; books dating back to 1702, many owned and inscribed by members of Farmington’s most revered families; rare and beautifully-illustrated children’s books; and more. This program will be followed by a scavenger hunt in the library, for items related to local history.  Teams will be either families or pairs of adults, and prizes will be awarded.

On Jan. 20, the Hill-Stead Museum will present a program about the property’s ancient history.

Though many are familiar with the museum’s architecture, French Impressionist art, Poetry Festival, and Farmer’s Market, not many know of the museum’s prehistoric connections of the “Mammut” kind. Learn about the 1913 unearthing of an American Mastodon skeleton on the Pope estate, view reproduction photographs of the original find, and discover the differences between a mastodon and its distant cousin the Woolly Mammoth.

The Unionville Museum will present "Growing Up in Unionville, 1920-1960" on Jan. 27.

The program will include a panel discussion by six Unionville natives who have great memories of growing up in this village when it was quite different from its current appearance. Hear about Hawley Hill, the canal basin, the Luxor Theater, the rotary, the Green Picket, and other places that have disappeared; and listen to their memories of events like World War II and the flood of ’55.

Feb. 3 the Farmington Historical Society will present "Local Native American Artifacts.”

See selected artifacts collected in the 1880’s by Dr. Frederick Williams of Bristol. Items include arrowheads found in Farmington, Bristol, and Plainville. Bob Palazzo will explain the history.

On Feb. 10, speakers Betty Coykendall and Cliff Alderman will give a joint program, entitled “Farmington in the Civil War,” presented by all of the historical organizations in town. The speakers will describe the local connections to the war, its effects on our town, and tell stories of several individuals with remarkable experiences during the war. This program will be accompanied by a one-afternoon exhibit of Civil War artifacts from the collections of all the groups plus some private collectors.

Feb. 17: "All About Julia Roper, Civil War Widow and Resident of the Stanley-Whitman House," presented by the Stanley-Whitman House.

The story of a young Irish immigrant, who found employment at Miss Porter’s School, married Hugh Roper, lost him in the Civil War, then raised her daughter as a single parent, living for some time in “the old Whitman house” on High Street. Joann Zeisner will be the speaker.

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