Tuesday, April 19, 2016

John Brown's birthplace before it was destroyed by fire

Visitors pose at John Brown's birthplace in these circa-1900 photographs.
(Courtesy Torrington Historical Society)
(Courtesy Torrington Historical Society)
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Before a chimney fire destroyed fiery abolitionist leader John Brown's birthplace in 1918, the house near Torrington, Conn., was quite the tourist attraction. Visitors often posed for photos in front of the late-18th century dwelling, and postcards of the 2 1/2-story building were sold throughout the country. As you can see in the video below that I shot last week, the site is a little less popular today --  I was the only soul on the property in the forest clearing just off John Brown Road. Only foundation stones remain for the house and a small outbuilding nearby; in the middle of the foundation outline, you'll find a large block of granite with Brown's birthdate -- May 9, 1800 -- carved in the center. The 40-acre site is owned today by the Torrington (Conn.) Historical Society, which has added an interpretive marker for a trail that winds through the woods behind Brown's birthplace.

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