The Old Town Hall Museum
1294 Enfield Street (Route 5)
Enfield, CT USA
Phone (860) 745-1729
Open Sundays 2:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. May through October and other times by appointment. Admission is free.
The Old Town Hall has been a part of Enfield history for over 200 years. Opened on January 1, 1775, the Old Town Hall begin its service to the community as the third meetinghouse of the First Ecclesiastical Society. Only a year later Enfield's Minutemen were attending services in the building when Captain Abbey used his famous drum to announce the outbreak of war at Concord and Lexington. By 1848 overcrowding led to plans to abandon the building. Fortunately, a local businessman, Orrin Thompson, provided funds to save the building and convert it into a town hall. The building was greatly modified at this time; the steeple was removed, a front portico was added, and the balcony was converted into a second floor. In the years that followed, the Old Town Hall was the site of many political rallies, elections, town meetings, and social events. In 1892 a new town hall was opened and the Old Town Hall began to suffer from neglect. Many lean years passed before the Enfield Town Hall Community Association came to the aid of the Old Town Hall in 1923. Through the efforts of that civic group and the Penelope Terry Abbey Chapter of the D.A.R. the building was renovated and opened as a community house. For three decades the Old Town Hall was alive with club meetings, movies, dances, and parties of all kinds. However, during this period maintenance was poor and the building fell into serious disrepair. In 1964 the building was condemned. The end was very near.
Several years of marginally successful attempts to save the building served only to delay demolition. Finally, in 1972, the Enfield Historical Society was able to begin complete restoration of the Old Town Hall. In 1974 the Old Town Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eight years of hard work and meticulous attention to detail went into the restoration effort. On September 27, 1980, the building was opened for public inspection. The following year the Old Town Hall Museum opened for regular business.
Today the Old Town Hall is again a center of activity. Three floors of exhibits illustrate the many facets of Enfield's history. Thousands of artifacts, ranging from dinosaur tracks to household items to farming implements to industrial machinery represent life in Enfield - both before and after the arrival of humans. Exhibits include:
- The Hazard Powder Company Our collection includes numerous
gunpowder kegs, tins, photos, and other artifacts of Colonel Hazard's
- The Carpet Mills of Thompsonville The thousand foot long
Tapestry Mill was only one of several buildings in the Hartford Carpet
Company complex in Thompsonville. The industry, founded in Enfield
by Orrin Thompson, has moved out of Enfield, but not before leaving an
indelible mark on our history - and a huge number of mementos and
artifacts, including an Axminster loom with the carpet still in it -
just as it was left the last time it was shut down
- The Enfield, Connecticut Shaker settlement The Shakers are
gone from Enfield, but their presence is still felt. Many items
from the Enfield Shakers are displayed at the Old Town Hall, including
boxes, clothes, furniture, and even a gravestone and horse-drawn
- Agriculture The agriculture display includes scores of
implements; hand tools, plows, even a foot-powered milking machine from
- Home life A number of exhibits show what life was like at
various times over the last three centuries in Enfield.
- Other Local Businesses, Landmarks, and Events Hundreds of
items from Enfield, including hundreds of postcards, scores of milk and
soda bottles, photos, and countless other pieces of ephemera are on
display or are available in our reference collections.
- Numerous changing exhibits In addition to the many permanent exhibits, changing exhibits highlight some part of life in Enfield's past.
Whether you enjoy history, antiques, or just a relaxing Sunday afternoon, there is always something to see or do at the Old Town Hall.
This page last updated 9/9/2014. The contents of this site are copyright © 2014 by the Enfield Historical Society, Inc. Please contact us if you have any comments or questions about this site, or if you wish to use or distribute any of the materials found on this site. Thank you.