Torrington Historical Society
192 Main Street, Torrington
Within the Downtown National Register Historic District is the Hotchkiss-Fyler Estate, home of the Torrington Historical Society where the town's rich past is preservedand made available to the public. Incorporated in 1944, the Historical Society is a non-profiteducational institution consisting of the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, a late Victorian period home; the History Museum, the Carriage House which features a ca. 1935 machine shop and the John H. Thompson Memorial Library.
The Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum
This historic home offers visitors a glimpse of an elegant, early 20th century lifestyle. In 1897, Mr. Orsamus Fyler, a successful businessman and politician, decided to build a new home. He contracted on of Connecticut's leading architects, William H. Allen, to design a grand Victorian dwelling for a prominent location on Main Street. The house was also home to the Fyler's daughter, Gertrude, and her husband, Edward Hotchkiss. Upon her death in 1956, Mrs. Hotchkiss bequeathed her home and property to the Torrington Historical Society for use as a museum.
Today the house remains as it was when Mrs. Hotchkiss lived there. her extensive collection of furniture and decorative arts lend an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere to the house. Noteworthy is a fine glass and porcelain collection together with paintings by Connecticut artists Ammi Phillips, Winfield Scott Clime and George Laurence Nelson. The interior of the house is trimmed with a variety of fine hardwoods and many of the walls are decorated with murals and hand stenciled designs.
"No Place Like Home" Exhibit at the Torrington History Museum
Torrington, like other communities, is a unique blend of people and place. For Torringtonians, there is quite literally "no place like home." Torrington's story has been outlined by the land and the river. The chapters have been written by the people who have lived here.
The story begins with Native Americans, who lived lightly on the land. It continues with colonial farmers, who cleared the forest. The story quickens with Yankee industrialists, who harnessed the river's power and built mills and factories. The plot thickens, as immigration adds a multitude of new faces from around the world.
The newest chapter finds Torrington a unique and diverse city, still surrounded by the hills that nurtured its agriculture and bisected by the river that gave birth to its industry. Explore this exhibit, and enjoy your journey through Torrington's history.
Torrington History Museum
Adjacent to the Hotchkiss-Fyler House is the History Museum. A modern exhibition gallery provides space for exhibits which examine historical topics and showcase the Society's collection of historical artifacts. One of the strengths of the collection is industrial history and the Carriage House is the site of a permanent industrial exhibit entitled: Pursuit of Precision: The Hendey Machine Co. 1870-1954. This award-winning exhibit is highlighted by a working machine shop featuring a lathe, shaper and milling machine made at the Hendey Machine Company in Torrington. These antique machine tools are powered by overhead shafts, pulleys and leather belts.
John H. Thompson Memorial Library
The John H. Thompson Memorial Library contains a large, varied collection of historical and cultural materials and is open to the public for research purposes. Included in the collection are over 2,000 books and pamphlets on historical topics, as well as periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, architectural drawings and maps. The Society maintains files on thousands of subjects of local historical interest, including persons, places and events. Of particular note is the industrial collection containing information about Torrington's manufacturing history.