Garden Club of Madison Holds Workshop

On a beautiful October day, members of the Garden Club held a hands-on lesson on how to divide and transplant garden perennials.

As friends of the Deacon John Grave Foundation, Garden Club members maintain the wonderful garden and wildflower walk on the Deacon’s property.

Madison Lyric Stage Performs the Classic Masterpiece, Hansel and Gretel

The production played to sold out audiences and received rave reviews, as one fan exclaimed, “What an amazing performance! As usual, it was fantastic! ‘Loved it all.”

MLS Artistic Director, Marc Deaton directed one of the most beloved operas of all time, Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.

Marc and his creative team transformed the Grave House into magic staging areas.

Audience members began their journeying in our small front parlor, staged as the children’s tenement house.

The audience then followed Hansel and Gretel to the main room with added tiered seating.

This room created both a dark forest and the witch’s gingerbread house.

The opera, in English, was suitable for all ages and numerous children were in attendance.

Relatives of the First John Grave, Three Sisters and Their Families, Tour the Deacon’s House

the 3 sisters outside the deacon john grave house front doorOn an early October morning, Cynthia Kremser from Oregon, Jeanne Murphy from Virginia, and Beth Bronson from Nigeria were guests at the Grave House.
Board members provided a genealogical history of the Grave family and gave a room-by-room tour of the House.

Of particular interest were the dates and construction of the three sections of the Deacon’s house and the history of slaves from 1685 to around 1800.

Those hosting at the Deacon’s then directed the visitors to the Madison West Cemetery and to the location of numerous Grave family tombstones.

The Barn Gets New Sills and Gutter

In September, Sarens Builders and Remodeling of Clinton replaced all the rotten window sills, which were then sealed and painted.

The construction team also removed the rotten gutter on the south side of the barn and replaced it with a colonial-style cedar wood gutter with copper lining.

This project was made possible with a grant from Bauer Farms.

Our Expert on Antique Tools Highlights the 2019 Annual Meeting

After a short business meeting, Board Member Tom Lee, presented an engaging lecture and demonstration of antique tools, from the Grave House collection and from his own. He spoke about the unique construction and specific function of each tool displayed. The vintage tools offered a window into three areas of Colonial life: clothing production, farming, and house construction.

After the lecture, Tom provided a tour of the second floor of the Grave House and pointed out where similar tools would have been used in the construction of the house. Tom highlighted architectural features that gave the Board members additional appreciation for the history of the building.

Afterwards refreshments were served compliments of Roberts Foods in North Madison.

A Large Crowd at the Late Summer Mixer

On the evening of Sunday, August 24, the Madison Historical Society (MHS) and the Deacon John Grave Foundation (DJGF) held the annual end-of-summer concert on the lawn of the Grave House. It featured the George Manston Big Band for an evening of great music and camaraderie. Guests brought lawn chairs and picnics; beer, wine and soft drinks were complimentary.

Members from the participating organizations (MHS, DJGF, Garden Club of Madison (GCMCT) and Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives (CLEMA) toured the beautiful Grave House gardens and enjoyed the wildflower walk.

Several Grave Families Visit from Maryland and Pennsylvania

Mike Grave family portrait in front of the Grave House in Madison, CT

Mike Grave family portrait in front of the Deacon John Grave House in Madison, CT

In late July, over ten descendants of the original Grave House inhabitants toured the house and grounds of the Deacon’s homestead.

House guests from Maryland and Pennsylvania included Mike Graves with his wife and children and Julia Graves with her family. Other Grave descendants, who came from the Boston area, joined the tour. During the afternoon, all the visitors discussed their genealogy and, most importantly, the possibility of a Grave family reunion at the House in the Summer of 2020! Board members provided material from the Foundation and assured them of DJGH membership support.

Madison Lyric Stage Production of Into The Woods is a stunner!

From July 18 to July 28, Madison Lyric Stage presented 12 performances of the Sondheim and Lapine musical, Into The Woods, attracting capacity audiences for the Tony Award-winning show.

Director, Marc Deacon, transformed the Grave house into a storybook cottage in which the dynamic cast reached out to theater goers to involve them in the action.
Even the house portraits came to life, as the two narrators of the interwoven fairytale stories.

Everyone attending was transfixed by the performances and expressed their delight in the creative interpretation of the Broadway hit seen at the Deacon John Grave House.

Grave House in Madison’s 4th of July Parade

On a very warm fourth of July holiday, board members hopped in a 1931 Model A Ford, owned by Natalie Evans, and joined a large parade in downtown Madison. Members were dressed in Colonial attire and received cheers from the crowd.

Another Terrific Connecticut Open House Day

Board Members dressed in Colonial attire welcomed a large crowd to the Deacon John Grave House and Gardens. Visitors from throughout Connecticut, as well as from New York and Rhode Island, toured the house. Docents demonstrated hearth cooking and used displays of antique tools and equipment to present information about colonial life in New England. The gardens and wildflower walk were also open.

It was the 15th year of this event sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Tourism. The Deacon John Grave Foundation remains an active supporter.