Way Back When … 1790
Published 2:39 pm, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
With Valentine’s Day being celebrated this week, love is in the air, so a bit of history about the Burr Mansion, one of Fairfield’s most historic wedding locations, is in order. Originally built in 1732 by Peter Burr, chief justice of the Superior Court of colonial Connecticut, the mansion was inherited by his grandson Thaddeus Burr after he married Eunice Dennie Burr in 1759. Thaddeaus and Eunice resided in the home during the American Revolution.
When the war got dangerous in Boston, many patriotic activists fled the British, and in 1775 Dorothy Quincy, fiancée of patriot leader John Hancock, escaped to Fairfield and lived in the Burr Mansion. She remained in town until Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, joined her. On August 23, 1775 Reverend Andrew Elliot of First Congregational Church married John Hancock and Dorothy Quincy at the Burr residence.
The home also hosted George Washington, John Adams, and Samuel Adams during this time. In 1779, the home was destroyed during the Burning of Fairfield. On July 7, 1779, British troops came ashore from ships on Long Island Sound. They marched up from the beach and burned many of the homes in the area. Eunice Burr remained at home. Eunice wrote in her diary that British soldiers ransacked her house, destroyed furniture, stripped the silver buckles from her shoes, and then set the Homestead ablaze. Afterwards, Hancock encouraged the Burrs to rebuild the mansion, and the new home was completed in 1790. It was renovated again in the 1800s into a 15-room Greek Revival, which now stands upon the original foundation. In 1962 it became a Town of Fairfield property.
A special part of the Burr property is its magnificent gardens, which includes century-old copper beech trees, umbrella pines and weeping cherry trees. The Tea House dates to the early 1900s. The property also contains an enchanting fountain and a more formal garden of boxwoods and perennials, graced with an impressive white marble exedra.
For more information about the Burr Mansion visit Fairfieldhistory.org/site-rentals/burr-mansion.
About the Fairfield Museum & History Center: The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10am-4pm. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org. The Fairfield Museum relies on funding from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Museum is especially grateful for leadership support from the State of Connecticut, Town of Fairfield and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.