The mission of the Farmington Historical Society is to preserve the history of the entire town of Farmington and to educate the public about that history and its significance. The Society collects, preserves and interprets historical resources including the continued preservation of the 1790 Old Stone Schoolhouse and the ca1787/ca1797 Gridley-Case cottages.
Founded in 1954, the Farmington Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the town’s history and educating the public about its significance. We sponsor exhibits, lectures and other events, and we provide tours of the Freedom Trail’s Underground Railroad and Amistad sites.
The society celebrates the diversity of all those who have contributed to the town’s history—the Tunxis Indians who established the first settlement by the Farmington River; the English settlers who traded with the Indians; the fugitive slaves who sought freedom on theUnderground Railroad; the abolitionists who gave them shelter; the 38 Africans who lived here in 1841 after gaining their freedom in the Amistad case; the entrepreneurs who constructed the Farmington Canal in the early 1880s; and the merchants and traders who built the stately homes lining Main Street in the historic village.
The town is what it is today because of educators like Sarah Porter, who started Miss Porter’s School for girls in 1843; architects such as Theodate Pope, a student of Porter’s who built the home that’s now the Hill-Stead Museum; and collectors like Alfred Pope—one of the first Americans to collect the Impressionist paintings of Monet, Manet, Degas and Whistler—and Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis, who founded the Lewis Walpole Library.
Farmington has flourished through the generations because of the work of businesspeople who promoted commerce and brought industries to town; doctors, who led the fight against smallpox at Hospital Rock and worked as pioneers in the field of psychiatry; immigrants, who labored in the mills in Unionville; farmers, whose homesteads have been passed down through as many as nine generations; town leaders; ministers; artists; and many others.
The town has also played an important part in the nation’s history in times of war. From King Philip’s Indian War in 1675 to the present-day war in Iraq, Farmington has provided soldiers and support. In the town’s “Memento Mori” cemetery, there are gravestones inscribed with the names of twelve men who fought in the French and Indian War, thirty-four Revolutionary War patriots, one veteran of both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, and one Civil War soldier. A monument in Riverside Cemetery includes the names of twenty-one Civil War soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, Antietam, Fort Wagner and Winchester.
Like the river flowing through the town, Farmington’s history is always near at hand, seldom far from view, linking past and present. The Historical Society, located at 138 Main Street, is committed to studying, celebrating and preserving that history.