Weekend Weathervanes: Boothe Eagle over The Clock Tower

Weekend Weathervanes

Boothe Eagle over The Clock Tower

Boothe Memorial Park & Museum

Stratford, Connecticut

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

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While heading to a tag sale today, we rode by Boothe Memorial Park and Museum… and while I have heard the name, I never knew where it was, or anything about it. The buildings at the museum intrigued me so we made a mental note to stop back by; I wanted to take a couple of photos… which turned into many photos, a walk around the buildings and a tour of the Boothe Family Home. If you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest a stop and tour of the buildings and family homestead.

As I shot the clock tower, I had no intention of featuring the eagle weathervane, as I see so many eagles in my travels, but this one stood out to me when I saw the name “Boothe” and the dates featured on the arrow.

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It was The Clock Tower that caught my eye when we rode by!

In 1913, the Boothe family celebrated their 250th anniversary of their presence in North Stratford by building an Anniversary Tower on top of the family hay barn. David Boothe designed it, but both brothers worked on its construction. There were five massive cast iron bells made and inscribed with the Boothe and Nichols genealogy; one lone one sits now alongside The Clock Tower today. While nothing in the history book I purchased mentioned the weathervane as to who first installed it, I’m assuming it was added by the brothers, who added their family name, along with the dates of 1663, signifying the first laying of the foundation of the family homestead and the year of 1914, when final completion on the family home was made. They were very big in preserving the history of the era in which they lived, as well as their family history!

As completion of the Clock Tower neared, the Boothe brothers searched all over New England for a proper clock. Finally, at an abandoned church in Massachusetts, they discovered a cherry hand-made clock, built in 1815; they were able to make an exchange of a Eureka carpet sweeper for the clock. The clock was not in working condition and they never were able to get it to run, but later in the 1980’s, a volunteer with the Friends of Boothe, was finally able to restore the clock to working condition again. The Clock Tower later appeared in Steven Spielberg’s movie Amistad.

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It was later in 1999, that the Friends of the Boothe had the eagle weathervane gilded with gold leaf.

Long before the deaths of the Boothe Brothers in the late 1940’s, they drew up plans to bequeath their buildings and property to the Town of Stratford, but the town had to first agree that they would open the grounds for all to enjoy free, just as the Boothes had, during their lifetime.

 

Brothers, David Beach Boothe and Stephen Nichols Boothe, began creating the Boothe Memorial Museum during their lifetime; they showcased their collection of twenty architecturally and very unique buildings, and often held events inviting the townspeople to attend. Some of the structures on the property include a carriage house, Americana Museum, miniature lighthouse, windmill, a clock tower museum, trolley station, chapel, and a blacksmith shop. It was in 1949, that the property became a public park owned by the town of Stratford.

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The Clock Tower is the most visited building at the museum

Stephen and David Boothe were way before their time in their creativity and knowledge of building these unusual buildings on the Boothe homestead site. Besides their vast knowledge in building and design, they were also very witty and known for giving back to the community. There is much history on these two men and they have certainly peeked my interest to return to the museum to see all I missed and to visit their graves in the family cemetery nearby.

If you, by chance, are a family descendant… I would enjoy hearing from you.

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Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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