Historical Society of Glastonbury CT

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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 Glastonburys 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 1:00p.m.-4:00p.m., the Historical Society of Glastonbury invites you to tour the historic Welles-Shipman-Ward House at 972 Main Street, South Glastonbury.

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.





The House will be open Tuesdays from 1-4p.m.

between June and August 2014.
Admission is $5.00 unless otherwise noted. 

There is no admission for HSG or Glastonbury Garden Club members.

Sunday, March 15 1:00-4:00p.m.


Maple Sugar Madness

Watch the sap boil over a fire in a 2'x4' pan on concrete blocks. Check out the sugar bush on the hill where we tap the trees, view the sap as it boils down, and taste last year’s batch of syrup over freshly cooked pancakes made to an 18th century “receipt.” 

Rain date:  Sunday, March 16  Admission: $5.00, Members Free


Saturday, March 28, 6:00-8:00p.m.

Supper at the Welles Tavern

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

‘Tis the year 1796 and once again the Welles Hotel will be open to the townspeople of Glastenbury for the eve. There is a limited amount of seats available for this event.  $35 per person.  Make your reservation today and get ready to enjoy a unique night of living history and a taste of early American times.


Tuesday, April 14, 10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Kids in Jerusha’s Kitchen: Colonial Cooking for Kids

Hearth cooking class for kids 8 to 12, who prepare and enjoy a simple meal together.  Reservations required.  $15.00


Sunday, April 19, 1:00 – 4:00p.m.

Textile Arts Day    

Our colonial ancestors made it by hand.  Watch spinning, weaving, quilting, and more.  Have your silhouette cut.  Take part in workshops to learn new skills.  Admission: $5.00, Members Free (Workshops require additional fee)


Sunday, June 13, 1:00 – 4:00p.m.

Planning the Kitchen Garden/Connecticut Open House Day  

It’s time to plant the vegetables that will nourish the family through the coming year, and the herbs that will season their food and heal them.  Glastonbury Garden Club will be on hand to discuss our Colonial Revival Herb Garden. Admission: $5.00, Members Free


Sunday, June 28, 1:00 – 4:00p.m.

Militia Day    

All men between the ages of 16 and 60 are summoned to drill in preparation for attack! Step back in time to watch as our militia unit drills on our property. House and Barn tours, cooking demonstration. Admission: $5.00 for all, with $20 max. for family.


Sunday, October 18, 11:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. 

Dinner in Jerusha’s Kitchen

Help prepare dinner from 18th century “receipts”, then enjoy it with Glastenbury cyder and new friends.  Reservations required.  $55.00


Sunday, November 15, 1:00 – 4:00p.m. 

Thanksgiving is Here!

The harvest is in, the house has been made ready. We are ready for the biggest holiday of the year. Admission: $5.00, Members Free

Calendar subject to change. 
For updates or information visit us on Facebook


Directions to

Welles-Shipman-Ward House

972 Main St., (Route 17) South Glastonbury


Coming from Rte. 84

Rte. 84 East

Rte. 2 East

Rte. 17 South (a left exit)

Go through 2 lights

972 S. Glastonbury, Rte. 17 (also known as Main Street) is on the left. 

The house is a white Center Chimney Colonial. If you go through a third

light you have gone too far and just missed it. There are two entrances to

the property and there is a sign out front that says: Welles Shipman Ward House.


Coming 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. 


Coming from Rte. 91

Rte. 91 North & South: Ex. 25 to Rte. 3

Rte. 2 East

Rte. 17 South (a left exit)

Go through 2 lights

972 S. Glastonbury, Rte. 17 (also known as Main Street) is on the left.  The house is a white Center Chimney Colonial. If you go through a third light you have gone too far and just missed it. There are two entrances to the property and there is a sign out front that says: Welles Shipman Ward House.

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