Located at 1907 Litchfield Turnpike, Woodbridge, Connecticut
Built for Thomas Darling (1720-1789) between 1772 and 1774, this highly significant Colonial Cape is historically important for its extended association with the Darling family and its preservation as a house museum by the Amity and Woodbridge Historical Society.* Added significance is derived from its well-preserved historic agrarian setting, which contains fine barns and other outbuildings.
Museum Hours and Directions
The Darling House Museum is open several times during the year by way of significant events. It is available for tours anytime! School and group tours are encouraged and may be booked by special arrangement by e-mail or phone 203-768-1029. The archives are currently unavailable while we begin a long range plan of organization. As soon as some order is achieved, they will be available by appointment! Special exhibits are on display in the Woodbridge Public Library and in the Darling Museum during the summer season.
From either direction on the Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15) take Exit 59 for the Litchfield Turnpike (Route 69). At the end of the ramp take a left, and stay on Route 69 for 2.7 miles. The Darling House will be on the right (see the picture on the main page for an idea of what it looks like). After passing the house and shed, there is an entrance for a large parking lot on the right. The Museum entrance is located at the back of the Darling House.
History of the Thomas Darling House
Thomas Darling, a New Haven merchant and a member of the colonial elite, was a chief magistrate and a deputy to the General Assembly, as well as Judge of the County Probate Court. A graduate of Yale and licensed to preach (but never ordained), he was a tutor to the class of 1746. As an agent of Benjamin Franklin, Darling is credited with bringing the first printing press to New Haven. He married Abigail Noyes, the daughter of the Reverend Joseph Noyes, the “Old Light” preacher of First Church in New Haven, where Darling was a member until he joined the Amity parish church in 1782, two years before the town was incorporated.
The property passed down through a number of generations of the family and several were prominent in more local civic affairs including his son, Thomas, Jr., (1752-1815), who served as a town selectman and magistrate, and Thomas IV, who represented the town in the state legislature in the 1890s. In 1973 the contents of the house was left to the historical society by Miss Berenice Baldwin, the stepdaughter in the last family owner, and the 118-acre property is now owned by the Town of Woodbridge.
* Though not substantiated by family papers, some sources believe that the house once served as a tavern or inn, where cattle drovers stayed and found pasturage and water for their herds only one day from the major New Haven market. Bruce Clouette, “Thomas Darling House and Tavern,” National Register of Historic Places, 1979; Andrew W. German, Thomas Darling (1720-1789): A Man of Integrity and Uprightness, 1988; Henry S. Kelly, “Darling Tavern,” MS, Colonial Dames, State Library; A History of Woodbridge, Bicentennial Commission, 1976; Marion Terry, ed., Old Inns of Connecticut, 1937.
For more information about Thomas Darling, read the post “Who was Thomas Darling?”