The Orange Historical Society will hold its annual Bryan-Andrew Open House Sunday, October 25 from 12 to 4 pm. Located at 131 Old Tavern Road, the Bryan-Andrew cape was built around 1740 by Nathan Bryan and is believed to be the oldest house in Orange. The Town of Orange purchased the house in 2000 for $149,000. Aided by more than $300,000 in state and other grants from the CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), CT Historic Commission (now part of DECD) Dorothy Timmins Estate, Harvey Hubbell Foundation, Jones Family Trust, Lions Club, New Alliance Bank, Orange Community Women, Orange Foundation Trust, U/A, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee, Spectrum Foundation, United Illuminating, in addition to individual donations and fundraisers, the Orange Historical Society has spent the last 15 years on the daunting task of restoring the structure.
The goal of the restoration has been to return the house to its original layout. The latest project is the addition of plaster walls, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.
The first floor contains a porch (front entry), Buttery (pantry), the Keeping Room (kitchen), where hearth cooking will take place and two front parlors. The house has been furnished with period-appropriate pieces.
“We’ve continued to make progress during the past year,” said Ginny Reinhard, president of the Orange Historical Society. “The keeping room has been plastered, replacing 20th century tile and more work has been done on the buttery. The beehive oven has been repaired which means that we can now use it for hearth cooking demonstrations. The second floor remains unfinished but eventually will be used for educational programs,” said Reinhard.
A 20th century bathroom has been added for the convenience of visitors. Plans for the future include the installation of a modern kitchen at the back of the house that would comply with town sanitation standards for an estimated cost of $25,000. This will permit the Orange Historical Society to prepare meals on the hearth that can be served to the public.
The Bryan House is open by appointment for events, parties and educational tours.
Admission to the Open House is free for this event. Wine and light refreshments will be served. Parking will be at the Old Tavern Road Athletic Complex with a shuttle bus running to and from the Bryan-Andrew House.