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New Canaan Historical Society Gets New Windows On The World

Windows are being replaced at the Hanford-Silliman House. From left are Janet Lindstrom, Donald Eldon and Steve Gravereaux. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Steve Gravereaux holds up half of a restored window in the Hanford-Silliman House. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Preservationist Donald Eldon takes out a second story storm window, in order to work on a window at the Hanford-Silliman House. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
José Ramos paints a second-story window frame at the Hanford-Silliman House before a restored 250-year-old window was to be reinstalled. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Old windows that have stood the test of time over the last 250 years now have a fresh new look at the New Canaan Historical Society.

Seventeen windows are being installed in the Hanford-Silliman House at the New Canaan Historical Society after they were painstakingly restored by a Middletown-based company.

It's a $30,000 project that is funded 50-50 by the historical society and a state grant, said Janet Lindstrom, historical society executive director. While it may be cheaper to put new windows in, they would lack the authenticity and historical character, she said.

"In historical preservation it is best to preserve what you have than to replace it," she said. 

The windows were removed in the fall and restored at Kronenberger & Sons Restoration Inc. in Middletown.

Steve Gravereaux, a board member at the historical society who is involved in the restoration, said it was painstaking work as each of the small panes, 24 in each window, were removed, cleaned and then reinstalled.

He picks up a window to show the work. 

"The glazing is just perfection," he said. "It's like factory glazing, it's just perfect."  

One window will not be repaired due to the fact that over time as the home settled the rectangular frame and window slightly bent and it was decided to leave it as is, Gravereaux said.

Eight windows remain to be renovated but that will have to be done at a later date as the society didn't have the money available to do all of the windows, Lindstrom said.

The center-chimney saltbox was was built by Stephen Hanford, a weaver and New Canaan’s first licensed tavern keeper, according to the historical society. Several generations of the Silliman family occupied the home until the 1920s.

The Sillimans were also a prominent family in town and served as clergy, lawyers, farmers, businessmen and government officials, according to the historical society.

Lindstrom said they plan on having the windows completed by the time of their ice cream social on June 7.

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