For 189 years, the Butler-McCook House and Garden was inhabited by four generations of family members who took part, watched and documented the development of Main Street between the American Revolution and the middle of the 20th century. The building’s exterior looks the same as when it was constructed in 1782. Outside the house is a renovated Victorian decorative garden, initially founded in 1865. Inside is unique furniture, from colored furniture made in Connecticut, to Victorian toys and artwork, to samurai armor bought during a visit to Japan. The objects were collected for nearly two hundred years by members of this unusual clan, which included doctors, industry, missionaries, artists, globetrotters, as well as pioneers and community reformers.
The “Witnesses on Main Street” show, organized by the Center for Street History, takes advantage of the insights and words of the Butler and McCook families to capture the conversion of their quarter from a masonry of apartment buildings, taverns and craft workshops to a contemporary city-wide enclave of high-rise structures of steel, brick and stone that house large financial, industrial, government and cultural institutions.
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