Directions from Rte. 17 from the South
Going North on 17 from Portland
Take 17 North to S. Glastonbury Center, Rte. 17
(Rte. 17 is also known as Main Street)
Go through a light at the corner of Main & Hopewell/High Street in the
town of South Glastonbury
The house is the first driveway on your right
The house is a white Center Chimney Colonial with a sigh out front that
says: Welles Shipman Ward House.
972 Main Street - South Glastonbury
This mansion house, as it was known in the 18th century, is traditionally believed to have been built by Col. Thomas Welles as a gift to his son, John, on the occasion of his marriage in 1753 to Jerusha Edwards of Hartford, a niece of Gov. William Pitkin III. John Welles owned the John Welles and Co. shipyard and merchant trading business located on the Connecticut River in the Nayaug section of Glastonbury. In 1764, Welles became ill on a trip to Philadelphia and died, 34 years old, leaving his widow, Jerusha, and 5 children. Among her dower rights, she received land and a share of household furnishings, including a silver tankard valued at £9.
George Welles, second son of John and Jerusha, inherited the property and sold the “house, barn, cowhouse, and other buildings”, plus the remaining 1 1/3 acre of the homelot, to Stephen Shipman, Jr. in 1789. Shipman, a shipbuilder, merchant trader, and storeowner, added neoclassical features to the house, such as the Palladian type crown moldings on the first floor, popular among the merchant elites in the Connecticut River Valley. The Shipman family owned and occupied the house for over 125 years.
In 1929, Mrs. Berdena Hart Ward, wife of Dr. James Ward, purchased the property, decorating and furnishing the house in an English country style.
Today, this House is in the care of the Historical Society of Glastonbury. The Glastonbury Garden Club tends the Colonial Revival herb garden. The Glastonbury Weavers turn out textiles on our 300 year old loom. Young children play 18th century games on the lawn. Young people participate in archaeological digs to find what has been left behind by past residents. Our kitchen fireplace turns out meals made to “receipts” of past families. Our barns are filled with antique farming equipment and horse-drawn vehicles.
One of Glastonbury's Best Kept Secrets
Take a step back in time as you tour a Connecticut River Valley Mansion built in 1755. Every Tuesday, throughout the summer months, from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., the Historical Society of Glastonbury invites you to tour the historic Welles-Shipman-Ward House at 972 Main Street, South Glastonbury. Admission to the house during the Summer is $5.00.
As a guest, you’ll be greeted by a costumed docent and given a tour of what was considered a mansion in its day. The house originally owned by John Welles, a Glastonbury Shipyard owner, features the largest known period kitchen fire place in Connecticut, gorgeous unique antiques including one of two High Back Queen Anne Corner Chairs known to exist, a loom, weaving and spinning equipment.
You’ll walk thru the kitchen garden in the backyard on your way to tour the newly reconstructed Oak Street Tobacco Shed Education Center, white and red barns from the 1800’s, and the 200 year old English style bank barn. Inside the barn you’ll find an array or treasures and tools including several horse drawn buggy’s and wagons, including an R.F.D. postal wagon that was used in South Glastonbury, a Buckingham Cemetery hearse, a meat wagon, and sleigh. The Welles-Shipman-Ward house awaits your arrival.