Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden
55 South Main Street
Suffield, CT 06078 | 860.668.0055
Open for tours May through October
Saturday & Sunday, 1-4 pm.
The Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden highlights the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by two wealthy 18th-century Connecticut Valley families until their fortunes collapsed. Suffield native Shem Burbank built the center chimney structure in 1761 where he and his wife Anna Fitch Burbank raised nine children. A merchant of British goods, Burbank’s business suffered during the American Revolution. In 1788, he sold the house to Oliver Phelps originally of Windsor, who served as Deputy Commissary under George Washington and later a successful land speculator. In 1794, Phelps commissioned the addition of a substantial wing decorated with imported Parisian wallpaper. A depressed real estate market forced Phelps to foreclose on the property in 1802 and move to Canandaigua, NY where he died in 1809. The Hatheway family took possession of the house from the early 1800s to 1914, accumulating an attic full of artifacts that document life from that time. Sumner Fuller and his mother Emma carefully preserved the property which was donated to the Antiquarian & Landmarks Society (now CTL) upon Mrs. Fuller’s death in 1956. Today, the museum boasts an extensive collection of 18th-century antiques while the grounds feature a formal parterre garden designed by landscape architect Mary Wells Edwards, a large herb bed, and scattered flowering shrubs, all lovingly maintained by the Suffield Garden Club.
Visitors to the Phelps-Hatheway House are encouraged to engage in dialogue on the central theme of “Two Families, Two Stories, One New Nation”. The life stories of the Burbank and Phelps families offer a glimpse into the deceptively simple nature of 18th-century life and work. Topics for discourse and contemplation include the role of Connecticut in the American Revolution, trade and commercial exchange, land and real estate speculation, and the display of wealth and status.
For information on admission, tours, and more, visit https://www.ctlandmarks.org/phelps-hatheway.