Seven Hearths Revealed Party

Seven Hearths Revealed Party Tickets

The Kent Historical Society invites all to an evening celebrating our beloved 18th century home and museum. Please join us for the Seven Hearths Revealed party Saturday, April 21 at 6 pm.

Reserve your tickets to the Seven Hearths Revealed Party, by filling out the form below and selecting which ticket package you prefer. Tickets will be held at the door.

Tour Seven Hearths, view George Laurence Nelson’s artwork and more!  Enjoy wine, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and celebrate spring with fellow KHS supporters, history buffs and friends.

See our Supporters

There will also be a silent auction of original artwork created by local artists. Proceeds go to the George Laurence Nelson Scholarship.

If you have any questions, email Thank you!

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Thanks to all for their support during 2017!

Thanks to all for their support during 2017!


The Kent Historical Society Board of Trustees welcomes each and every gift in support of the organization’s annual operating costs.

Your support helps protect our past and ensures that future generations will have access to important information about our town.

Take a look at what we’ve accomplished during recent years, thanks to support from people like you:

  • Created a climate-controlled storage area to protect the artwork of 20th century artist George Laurence Nelson
  • Celebrated the founders of Kent with an exhibit that documented the people who started the town and explored life in the 1700s.
  • Explored our town’s historic heritage with a 7-house tour focused on Colonial homes in and around Kent Hollow.
  • Offered educational lectures in our 2017 Sunday Series that explored topics related to the beginning years of the town, including food, religion, land divisions and the first inhabitants of the town.
  • Refurbished the Seven Hearths Museum exterior with new clapboard siding and painting.


In 2018, we are launching a year-long program called A Sense of Community: Kent at mid-20th Centurywhich will explore life in our town, including growing up or moving to Kent, farming and the Village, as described by your neighbors in exhibits, lectures and conversations. We hope you will attend and/or participate.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated or renewed their membership since our fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2017! Your support makes a difference and is deeply appreciated.

For others, please consider supporting the Kent Historical Society through a gift.


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A look at ‘Kent Back Then’ in the mid-20th Century

A look at ‘Kent Back Then’ in the mid-20th Century

The award-winning curator of the Kent Historical Society (as well as the Sharon Historical Society), Marge Smith will take a nostalgic look at Kent life in the mid-20th century, including farming, the village, moving to Kent, and the role that three private schools have played in the town’s life.

“Kent Back Then” will be presented by the Kent Historical Society, as part of its Sunday Series lectures in the Kent Town Hall Sunday, January 21, at 2 p.m.

Advertisement from 1956 Kent Good Times Dispatch

The depth and breadth of Ms. Smith’s knowledge of Kent is the backbone of the Kent Historical Society, and in this interactive discussion with the audience, she will link the past with today using a series of images and old advertisements from Kent’s iconic local newspaper – The Kent Good Times Dispatch, known fondly as The GTD. In its heyday, The GTD had its finger firmly on the pulse of the town, with reporters submitting stories from every corner of town. So, search your memory banks and plan to join us for a fun afternoon.


This Sunday Series lecture inaugurates the theme for the Historical Society’s 2018 events, “Our Town: A Sense of Community in the Mid-20th Century.” One goal for the year will be to celebrate the memories of those who lived through the dramatic changes that took place in Kent before and after World War II.

The Kent Historical Society sponsors the Sunday Series in March, May, July, September, and November. Free admission for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.

For more information please call 860-927-4587.

Holiday House Tour Showcases Historic Homes

Holiday House Tour Showcases Historic Homes

The Kent Historical Society will feature a Historic Holiday House Tour in December to showcase seven historic homes in Kent, CT.

This vintage image of a historic house in South Kent is one of the homes that will be open to the public for the Kent Historical Society’s Holiday Historic House Tour Dec. 10 from noon to 4:30 p.m.

“We are fortunate in Kent to have several Colonial-era buildings (18th Century) that articulate the difference in scale, character and construction that were characteristic of early Connecticut upland vernacular architecture. Many of these houses have been ‘accumulative. as they have seen 19th, 20th and 21st century additions and alterations.  Some retain most of their early fabric and others have evolved over time,” said Bruce Whipple, who is a member of the society’s Board of Trustees and serves as treasurer for the organization.

The tour will take place Sunday, Dec. 10 from noon to 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $45 online and at the Heron Gallery, Kent Wine & Spirit, and the Kent Town Clerk’s Office. The price jumps to $60 on the day of the tour, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Whipple had the idea for this fundraiser in part due to his own interest in historic architecture and he knew that others would also enjoy seeing what Kent has to offer.

“We knew that patrons would be interested in visiting several homes and seeing them in their current uses.  Each house has a distinct sense of their owner’s tastes and we were pleased that seven families agreed to open their homes for a charitable cause,” Whipple said. “These homes will not disappoint realtors, designers, builders, historians or everyday visitors who come.”

Many of the homes are located in the Kent Hollow section of town. One house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The fun will begin that day at the Swift House, located at 12 Maple Street (also known as Route 341), where day-of tickets may be purchased and ticket holders will be able to get a map to the homes with a brief description of them. The Swift House will be open from 11 a.m. through the afternoon.

Afterwards, everyone participating is invited to gather back at Swift House to share festive beverages at the wassail bowl.

“The cocktail punch reception that will follow at the Swift House will allow patrons a chance to meet and compare their reactions to what they saw during their visits,” Whipple said.

Proceeds from the event will be used by the Kent Historical Society for its operating budget. Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent, as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage.  For more information, call 860-927-4587.


Giving thanks for our volunteers

Giving thanks for our volunteers

Volunteer docents Melissa Cherniske and Lisa Weinblatt greet KHS members during the exhibition opening in July 2017.

The Kent Historical Society would like to acknowledge those who generously helped us with their time and services during the 2017 calendar year. As a small non-profit, we depend on those who share their time with the organization because this allows us to continue to provide events, exhibitions and programming to the community of Kent and the region.

Our thanks to all of you!

Seven Hearths Museum Docents

Sue Lopardo, volunteer coordinator

Curator Marge Smith

Guest Curator Susan Shepard

Seven Hearths conservator Jeffrey Morgan

Catherine Bachrach

Darlene Brady

Deb Chabrian

Karen Chase

Melissa Cherniske

Anne and Mike Everett

Heather Forstmann

Fran Goodsell

Lara Hanson

Rick Levy

Charlotte Lindsey

Karina O’Meara

Linda Palmer

Ellen Paul

Jennie Rehnberg

Jann Tanner

Lisa Weinblatt

Bruce Whipple

Lynn Worthington



Austi Brown

Melissa Cherniske

Mike Everett

Deb Chabrian

Kent Freeman

Roger Gonzales

Jeffrey Morgan

Chris Naples

Guy Peterson

Bruce Whipple

Lynn Worthington


Seven Hearths in Bloom volunteers

Deborah Chabrian, co-chair

Jeffrey Morgan, co-chair

Melissa Cherniske

Mike Everett

Kent Freeman

Roger Gonzales

Adriana Martinez

Ed Martinez

Marge Smith

Lyn Stirnweiss
Brian Thomas

Kate Vick

James Vick

Michael Ward
Bruce Whipple
Lynn Worthington

J.P. Gifford Market and Catering Company

Kent Greenhouse and Garden Center

Kent Wine & Spirit

Tepoz Tequila


GLN Art Scholarship contributing artists

Scott Bricher

Deb Chabrian

Mike Everett

Susan Grisell

Bob Lenz

Ed Martinez

Richard Stalter


Other Volunteers and Contributors…

Ky Anderson

Sarah Bacon

Michael Benjamin

Berkshire Taconic Foundation

Diane Blick

Darlene Brady

Christine Branson

Austi Brown

Kevin Capobianco

Patti Case

Michael John Cavallaro

Zanne    Charity

Aiden Cherniske

Darrell Cherniske

Bonnie Jo Cheron

CT Humanities

Bobbie  Davis

Davis IGA

Caroline DeVita

Don DeVita

Paul Everett

Fife ’n Drum

Bill Gawel

George-Ann Gowan

Dan Greenbaum

Linda Hall

Heron Gallery

Alice and Jim Hicks

Housatonic Valley Association

House of Books

Tony Iovino

John Gleason and Gleason Electric

Kent Barns

Kent Center School Wildlife Habitat Committee

Kent Coffee & Chocolate

Kent Greenhouse

Kent Land Trust

Kent Lions Club

Kent Memorial Library

Kent Wine & Spirits

Tom Key

Joan Larned

Kathi Lee

Connie Manes

Adriana Martinez

Alfred W. McCoy

Norm Mosher

Wendy Murphy

National Society Daughters of the Revolution

Northwest CT Community Foundation

Joanne Pappano

Frank Pierzga

Martin Podskoch

Christina Purcell

Catherine Rawson

Marel Rogers

Nancy Schaefer

Ira Smith/ Kent Wine and Spirit

Richard Stalter

Students from the Kent School

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Marvelwood School

The Town of Kent

Paul Tines

Gail Tobin

Town Clerk’s Office

Michael Ward

Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust

Susi Williams

John Worthington


Dwindling Empires “A Housatonic View”

Dwindling Empires
A Housatonic View

By Brian Thomas


Rumors of a possible Kent connection prompted us to get in touch with Alfred W. McCoy, a distinguished historian of US foreign policy and a 1964 graduate of Kent School. His latest book will be out in September 2017. It’s called In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, and it contains several passages highlighting his time in Kent. For example, in the acknowledgements he notes:

“Whenever I write, I am reminded of a deep debt to my high school English teacher, Bob Cluett, who gave a me both a love of this craft and the skills to pursue it.”

McCoy informed us that he returned to Kent for his 50th reunion in 2014, bringing his single shell for three days of rowing on the Housatonic, down to the Bull’s Bridge dam and back, pausing to take in the countryside and think a bit. He said, “Boarding schools in general, and Kent in particular, are transformative experiences. So, yes, Kent has personal meaning for me.”

Indeed, the introduction to his book, “ever-so modestly” titled “US Global Power and Me,” spells out some of that meaning. There, he says, “I was also privileged to attend schools that trained our future leaders, allowing me to observe firsthand the ethos that shaped those at the apex of American power, their character and worldview. For five years in the 1960s, I went to a small boarding school in Kent, Connecticut, that steeled its boys through relentless hazing and rigorous training for service to the state. Admiral Draper Kauffman (class of ’29), founder of the Navy’s underwater demolition teams (forerunner of the SEALs), was the father of a classmate. Cyrus Vance (class of ’35), the future secretary of state, was a commencement speaker. Sir Richard Dearlove (class of ’63), later head of Britain’s MI-6, was a year ahead of me. Countless alumni were known to be in the CIA. Through its defining rituals, this small school tried to socialize us into a grand imperial design of the kind once espoused by East Coast elites back when America was first emerging as a world power.”

Since his time in Kent, his scholarly work has had a significant worldly impact. After earning a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale, he focused on Philippine political history and global opium trafficking. His first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (published in 1972), sparked controversy when the CIA tried to block its publication. But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic.

His more recent work on covert operations, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2006), explores the agency’s half-century history of psychological torture. A film based in part on that book, “Taxi to the Darkside,” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2008. His 2012 study of this topic, Torture and Impunity, explores the political and cultural dynamics of America’s post 9/11 debate over interrogation.

The Philippines remains the major focus of his research. An investigation of President Marcos’s “fake medals,” published on page one of the New York Times (January 23, 1986) just weeks before the country’s presidential elections, contributed to the country’s transition from authoritarian rule. Analyzing the many coup attempts that followed, his 1999 book Closer Than Brothers (Yale) documents the corrosive impact of torture upon the Philippine military.

In Shadows of the American Century, he says, “Both family and school taught me that criticism was not only a right but a responsibility of citizenship. So it has been my role to observe, analyze, and, when I have something worth sharing, to write and sometimes to criticize.”

The KHS hasn’t escaped his critical eye. McCoy also said in his email, “Your message led me to your KHS website where I spent a profitable, pleasant half-hour learning a great deal about the town’s history… If you will forgive a suggestion, there seem to be two major lacunae on your coverage—the Schaghticoke people and the Kent School. Both, of course, have their complexities, but you might find a way to incorporate them into your website….” It’s a fair point, and this article is an attempt to begin filling in the gaps about the Kent School.




Holiday Historic House Tour Dec. 10

Holiday Historic House Tour Dec. 10

Kent, Connecticut, is rich with historic homes and the Kent Historical Society is excited to be able to offer you an opportunity to tour seven private homes that all date to the 18th century in town. The Society is grateful to the homeowners who are sharing their homes so people can appreciate the town’s history in a new way and how people lived in these buildings and how they’ve evolved over the years.

Advance tickets for this Dec. 10 fundraiser are available for $45 per person by clicking here. Tickets will cost $60 on the day of the event. Maps of the homes on the tour and directions to each house will be available at the Swift House, 12 Maple Street, Kent, CT, from 11 a.m. through the afternoon. The tour will be from noon to 4:30 p.m. and an ending party for participants will be held at the Swift House.

“We knew that patrons would be interested in visiting several homes and seeing them in their current uses.” – Bruce Whipple, Trustee

See related post

All proceeds from this event will be directed to the the Kent Historical Society’s operating budget.

Tickets are available at the Kent Town Clerk’s Office at the Kent Town Hall (41 Kent Green Blvd.), the Heron Gallery (16 North Main Street) and Kent Wine & Spirit (24 North Main Street) in Kent.

Colonial religion explored through Sunday Series

Colonial religion explored through Sunday Series

Thomas Key spoke Sept. 17 about religion and the First Great Awakening.

A glimpse into the religious life of colonists in Connecticut prior to the Revolutionary War was provided by Thomas Key of Salisbury during the Sept. 17 Sunday Series. He shared how the First Great Awakening shook up the religious foundation in the 1730s and disrupted the life of those living in Connecticut and other New England states. Traveling “itinerant” preachers stirred up local residents and caused younger generations to question long-held beliefs.

Key is an instructor for the Taconic Learning Center and vice president of the Salisbury Association. He is also a speaker at the Scoville Library and has given over 75 lectures on a number of historical topics.

He led participants through a timeline of history of “British North America,” which is how he referred to the Colonies. Key highlighted the wars that were fought in the 1600s and 1700s and said that this constant state of unrest impacted the colonists.

“Death was right at their door all the time,” Key said.

The Great Awakening began in 1734 and continued until 1745. It was about religion, but it was also about a changing society.

They were operating a “young capitalistic society” and men and women were marrying later, with young men staying at home much longer than before. The lived under a strict moral code in a what Key called a “pressurized society.” There were three generations since the Pilgrims arrived in 1620 and it was getting harder and harder for younger people to accept the strict rules being imposed by religious leaders.

Jonathan Edwards, who was living and working in North Hampton, Mass., stimulated his congregation and started challenging people to think in different ways. A young man died suddenly in town and it got people thinking about life and death.

“Jonathan Edwards was a really devout person,” Key said. “He was a good preacher.”

His sermons got people so worked up that they became hysterical, Key said. Eventually, he was asked to leave the church and took a position in Stockbridge, Mass. He ultimately ended up as the president of Princeton.

Ye Olde Tyme Outhouse



outhouse-croppedThe Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum will sponsor a program Ye Olde Tyme Outhouse on Saturday, August 19th at 10:00 AM.

Historian Georg Papp will bring outhouse models representing separate eras in addition to display boards, photos and articles.  This talk will be informative as well as entertaining with some American history mixed in.  The lecture is free but donations on behalf of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum are welcome. 

Papp says he became an OBPA (Outhouse, Backhouse and Privy Authority) when his daughter bought a 100-year old home in New Hampshire.  She wanted an authentic outhouse to go with the home so dad felt obligated to help.  Since building the first outhouse people started placing orders for outhouses and a new business was developed. 

Papp says old abandoned outhouses are a treasure trove for those who love history and digging.  Muskets, knives, coins, and wallets are among the valuable items found in colonial pits, but the most common items are whiskey bottles. 

The Eric Sloane Museum was built as a collaborative effort between Eric Sloane and Stanley Works of New Britain to commemorate the tool company’s 125th anniversary. Sloane is known to lovers of Americana as an artist and author who brought to life many forgotten customs and skills of past generations. In all, Sloane authored and illustrated over 38 books.

The Eric Sloane Museum is located in Kent, Connecticut on Route 7 (31 Kent-Cornwall Rd.) just north of the village of Kent and the intersections of Route 7 and 341. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Regular admission:  Adults $8.00, Senior Citizens, $6.00, Children 6 to 17 $5.00.