Located right in the heart of Ridgefield, Connecticut is the historic Keeler Tavern Inn and Museum.
A Brief History
The Keeler Tavern was originally a home built in 1713 by Timothy Keeler. In 1772, the building officially became T. Keeler’s Inn. During the Revolutionary War and after the Battle of Ridgefield in 1777, British troops fired on the Tavern lodging a cannonball into the building wall where it remains to this day. William Keeler, Timothy’s son, inherited the Tavern in 1815 and changed the name to W. Keeler’s Hotel. Timothy was also the Postmaster of Ridgefield which William took over, running the post office out of his hotel. Eventually, William also died and his sister took over the building, changing the name again to the Resseguie Hotel because she married Abijah Resseguie. The post office was taken over by their cousin, Thaddeus Keeler. Then, the property was passed down through the family until Cass Gilbert bought and restored the building to use as his home. Gilbert was a famous architect and significantly improved the property. Decades later, in 1965, Residents of Ridgefield got together and created the Keeler Tavern Preservation Society, Inc. to prevent the loss of such a significant property in their town. They were able to raise enough funds to purchase it, and then they converted the property to a museum; opening it shortly after, in 1966.
Keeler Tavern now offers educational and cultural programs to the public. The museum represents what life was like from the early 18th century to the mid-20th century in Ridgefield. The building was officially designated as a historical landmark in 1982. Residents are encouraged to explore the history of their town by visiting this incredible museum. The museum strives to promote history and heritage through tours, events and special programs.
After having been a farmhouse, tavern, stage coach stop, post office, hotel and the home of Cass Gilbert, there is quite a collection of historical items. The exhibits are ever changing so the full collection can be displayed. Don’t forget to look for the cannonball lodged into the outer wall of the building. The museum isn’t just the main building, though. Thanks to Cass Gilbert, the museum actually consists of a Visitors Center, Garden House, Carriage Barn and perennial gardens. Gilbert built the Garden House for his wife, Julia. The garden exemplifies gorgeous design and horticultural practice. It consists of a sunken garden, brick walls, arches, a reflecting pool and a cherub fountain. This Garden House feels so special to visitors; some choose to get married here. The Barn was also designed and built by Gilbert. The two-story cottage was used for lodging staff and guests. This barn is commonly used for art shows, private functions, exhibitions and receptions.
Step back in time for a 45-minute tour to see everything there is to see about this museum. Walk right into the historical creations of Cass Gilbert and Timothy Keeler. It’s always fun to learn the history of the town you live in. Seeing who lived here centuries ago, the creations they made and how they lived is like stepping into a movie, but you’re in your own town. You’re in the same home they lived in.