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Boothe Memorial Park & Museum

By November 22, 2023January 31st, 2024No Comments

Boothe Memorial Park & Museum, Stratford, Connecticut:

On 32 acres in the Putney section of Stratford is a collection of 28 unique buildings within Boothe Memorial Park and Museum. These include a carriage house, a miniature windmill, a clock tower museum, a trolley station, a chapel, two bunkers, a 44-sided blacksmith shop and a preserved toll booth from Sikorsky Bridge. A farmhouse on the property is claimed to be the oldest house in America because it was built over a foundation laid in 1663 by Richard Boothe. The Boothe farmhouse has been continuously occupied, though it was rebuilt in 1840 and remodeled in 1914.

Two Boothe descendants, David Beach Boothe and Stephen Nichols Boothe, began creating a series of buildings in 1929. According to Friends of Boothe Park:

“Each of the brothers was ‘eccentric’ in his own way. They were a…version of the Odd Couple. David, the older son, was the creative, charming, extrovert who marched in colorful Uncle Sam costumes in local parades, while designing and building many of the curiosities on display today. Stephen loved music, cooking and the arts. He traveled across the globe, to bring back an assortment of exotic artifacts that are found in the Museum today. David and Stephen led colorful and active lives and yet remain, for the most part, unknown to the general public.”

When the Boothe brothers died in the 1940s, they bequeathed their land to the Town of Stratford to establish a park (opened in 1955). Their buildings range in date from circa 1840 to 1961. The earliest houses are in the Greek Revival Style. Others are examples of Queen Anne and Shingle Style architecture developed by the Boothe Brothers. The eye-catching Technocratic Cathedral was constructed using interlocking redwood beams.

Organizations based at Boothe Park include Putney Chapel, the Stratford Veterans Museum, the Stratford Amateur Radio Club, the Boothe Memorial Railway Society and the Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society. This recreational and historic location was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.