The History Behind the 1820 House

Entrance to Simsbury 1820 House
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Our History

A Historical New England Country Manor

A Historical New England Country Manor

The land where Simsbury 1820 House stands was originally owned by Revolutionary War hero Noah Phelps who gave it to his son Elijah. In addition to the land, he also passed on a legacy of patriotism and public service. The family's pride in his heroism nurtured a strong sense of patriotism and motivated much of the family's interests and even the architecture of the home.

Built in 1820, the house was an imposing building for its rural location. Set on a rise on the main road through town, an American eagle was placed above the front door, a symbol of the patriotic family who lived there. Subsequent generations carried on the tradition of patriotic duty, serving as U.S. Senators and Governors.

In 1890, Elijah's son-in-law, Amos Eno, built a large extension onto the house. Bedrooms were added on the second and third floors of the new wing bringing the total number of rooms to 30. At this point, the house looked very much as it does today.

The house was then passed on the Amos' daughter, Anoinette Eno Wood. Wanting to honor the family's heritage, she added Colonial Revival architectural details throughout and gave it the name "Eaglewood" a further symbol of her family's patriotism. She also contracted the landscaping firm begun by Frederick Olmstead - who designed New York City's Central Park - to develop the plan for the grounds.

Mrs. Wood's most important legacy in terms of patriotism was the ritual of the Fourth of July Ice Cream Social. Each year she entertained the entire town of Simsbury with a party celebrating our country's birthday. It was the social event of the season.

The house stayed in the family until 1948, when it was bought by a group of local businessmen and leased to a restaurateur, who named it The Simsbury House. The town of Simsbury purchased the house in the 1960's and in 1985 Simsbury House Associates was successful in its bid to buy and renovate the building. Since the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, all work had to comply with the exacting standards for listed properties. Craftsmen painstakingly duplicated missing architectural woodwork and restored the decorative glass.

Today guests can sip a complimentary glass of sherry in the parlor of the elegant New England Country Inn while admiring the finely carved woodwork, leaded glass windows and working fireplaces all restored to their original grandeur. Simsbury 1820 House retains the integrity of its original design while offering the modern amenities and personal service of a first class hotel