Visit this impressive 13-room, Georgian-style mansion, built for Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee around 1767. The home was among the finest in Windsor at the time, and was situated at what was then the bustling center of town. In 2021, we reinterpreted the entire house to more deeply reflect Windsor’s diverse history alongside a more inclusive interpretation of the home’s first residents.

Bound Together: Complexities of Black-White Relations in Early Windsor

Beginning as early as 1680, the lives of Windsor’s Black and white residents were inextricably linked, initially through a system of chattel slavery, and over time through complex personal and structural relationships involving both enslaved and free Black people.

When visiting this house, you will learn how the wealthy Chaffee family lived, and you’ll view the fine furnishings that would have graced their large home, including high chests, desks with bookcases, silk-on-silk embroidered scenes, and fine dishware.

Who kept these furnishings gleaming? Who kept the Chaffee’s household running? You’ll also discover more about the lives of Sarah, Elizabeth Stevenson, Jack Japhet Pell, and Nancy Toney, enslaved people who served the Chaffee family, and the chores they were tasked with each day.

Rotating Exhibit Space

Along with the reinterpretation, we also created space for changing exhibitions that illuminate the region’s Black experience.

Currently on exhibit is Inspiring Equal Participation: Windsor Afro American Civic Association. The exhibit tells the story of WAACA and how it impacted the lives of hundreds of Windsor people. From sponsoring Black Shad Derby Queen contestants and offering scholarships to hosting several events to celebrate Black history, WAACA made it their mission to increase the visibility of Black Windsor residents.

Dr. Fiona Vernal’s A Home Away from Home: Greater Hartford’s West Indian Diaspora, was on display from 2021-2022.

Medical History

Dr. Chaffee’s medical office was attached to his home, and it is a rare architectural survival. There, see historic medical instruments, encounter some shocking medical treatments of the 18th century. You will leave feeling fortunate that you live in the 21st century!

The doctor’s office features reproduction furniture you can sit on and touch, as well as hands-on activities. Open drawers in the apothecary chest and desk, make your own herbal remedy to take home, page through medical texts, and look through copies of actual receipts made from Dr. Chaffee’s practice.

Note: this 18th-century house has steps, thresholds, and narrow doorways, and is not wheelchair accessible. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.