History comes to life in Hartford area

September 5, 2013 by  

The Historical Society of Glastonbury, 10 miles from Hartford, is bringing history back to life and has acquired a tobacco shed built nearly a century and a half ago. The group has restored this exhibit to be showcased at a museum later this month.

One of Glastonbury’s earliest fire engines, a model called an American LaFrance General Motors, was tugged into the shed by volunteers, who placed it in a corner. The historical society’s executive director, Jim Bennett, said it made sense to put the engine in the shed, since tobacco sheds often caught fire in the 1870s. He notes a symbiotic relationship has always existed among tobacco sheds, fire engines and tobacco farming.

This particular structure was retrieved from a field on Oak Street and moved to the Welles Shipman Ward House, located in South Glastonbury, where it was reconstructed. It will remain there to serve as a museum and educational center. The shed will emphasize Glastonbury’s agricultural history, including its orchards and tobacco farms. Several other vehicles, including a horse-drawn hearse, will also be displayed.

The society will hold its annual Farm Festival on September 15, when the shed will be dedicated. That date also marks the first time it will be open to the public. Festival hours are from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with the dedication at 2:00 pm. Events include demonstrations of blacksmithing, rope-making, and straw-braiding. Children’s games, including ring toss and sack races, will also be held.

The historical society could work with brochure printers to create a hand-out describing the history of the shed and the vehicles, the entertainment at the Festival, and the society’s mission.