Buckingham-Hall House

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Buckingham Hall HouseLife in this coastal farmhouse was filled from dawn to dusk, season to season, with hard work, business transactions, and the voices of visiting friends and relatives. Here, the family of William Hall Sr., a New York import merchant, made their home in the 1830s.

Originally situated in Saybrook, Connecticut, near the only ferry crossing at the mouth of the Connecticut River, the house was purchased in 1833 by Hall’s son, William Hall Jr., from the estate of Samuel Buckingham. From their windows the Halls witnessed 19th-century life in all its variety: farmers moving goods to market, coastal and foreign trading ships sailing up and down the river, and travelers as they passed down the road to the ferry. Though access to the river made goods from New York readily available, most of the foods and the fabrics needed for daily life were produced on the farm.

An open-hearth cooking demonstration in the Buckingham Hall House kitchen.When construction of a new highway bridge across the Connecticut River threatened this structure with demolition in1951, Mystic Seaport agreed to preserve it. The house was shipped to its present location by barge. Though reconstructed and furnished at that time, a second major restoration and re-interpretation of the house was just completed in 1994, with the Buckingham family moving out and the Hall family moving in.

The kitchen ell with its huge hearth is still the site for open-hearth cooking demonstrations, and the kitchen garden in the back is the source for much of the fresh produce. Quilting and weaving are also practiced in the house, and 19th-century dressmaking classes are also hosted here.