Litchfield Community House, Inc. records, 1927-1958
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Brief Description:

The Litchfield Community House, Inc. records (1954-45-0, .83 linear feet) document an organization that built and maintained athletic fields and operated a community building in Litchfield, Conn., from 1929 to 1958. The collection includes correspondence, blueprints, specifications, reports, clippings, ephemera, and other documents and covers 1927-1949.

As early as 1927, a group of concerned Litchfield citizens, spearheaded by Frederick Kingsbury Bull, explored the idea of constructing athletic fields and a sports structure, mainly for the benefit of the town's youth. In 1929, Litchfield Community House, Inc. was incorporated for this purpose. The White Memorial Foundation donated a parcel of land on North Lake Street and Bull pledged to spend $30,000, half for a building and half for grounds. In 1929, architect Richard Henry Dana Jr. was engaged to develop plans. His work was interrupted when the will of Francis Coe, who died in 1930, was opened. In one of the will's stipulations, Coe left a substantial sum also to be used for the creation of athletic facilities. Conditions in the will, however, left uncertainty as to when those funds would be available. Given these circumstances, Litchfield Community House, Inc. decided to suspend its plans for a building and concentrate on the fields, with Bull funding the entire bill. Civil engineer Gavin Hadden, who was involved in a large number of athletic projects and stadia through the course of his career, was engaged to design and supervise construction of the fields, which were completed in 1932. In 1937, the Litchfield Garden Club transferred ownership of the Litchfield Playhouse, located on West St., to Litchfield Community House, Inc., which managed it and the athletic facilities into the 1950s. In 1954, the organization gave the town the athletic fields by deed. On Jan. 8, 1958, the members of Litchfield Community House, Inc., voted to dissolve the corporation and transfer its assets to several civic groups, with the playhouse and about $10,000 going to the town. Voters approved the acquisition of the properties in Febuary, 1958. The playhouse was demolished in May and June to make way for new town offices.

The collection contains extensive documentation of the decision-making behind the formation of the corporation and its goals. There is a large amount of correspondence between Bull and Dana detailing initial planning for  building. Coe's will and its implications is the subject of another group of correspondence. Most of the papers relate to design and construction of the fields, and includes correspondence, specifications, blueprints, and other documents. Among the topics covered are materials, scheduling, and construction practices. The remainder of the  papers involve matters of administration, fundraising, use of the fields, and contain yearly reports. There are no papers after 1958.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at] litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org
Created by: Litchfield Community House, Inc.
Volume: 0.83 Linear Feet
Acquired: 08/16/1954. Two account books, 1929-1937 and 1937-1958, when Sherman Ives was treasurer and Lida S. Ives was assistant treasurer. Found in collection.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Athletic fields - Connecticut - Litchfield
Athletic fields - Connecticut - Litchfield - Design and construction
Bull, Frederick Kingsbury
Civic improvement - Connecticut - Litchfield
Civic improvement - Connecticut - Litchfield - Societies, etc.
Dana, Richard Henry 1879-1933
Hadden, Gavin, 1888-1956
Litchfield Community Field
Litchfield Community House, Inc.
Genres/Forms of Material
Architectural drawings
Correspondence
Ephemera
Photographs
Reports
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Frederick Kingsbury Bull  Gift
PreferredCitation: Litchfield Community House, Inc. records (1954-45-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759