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Address: 295 West Avenue, Mathews Park, Norwalk, CT 06850
Phone Number: +1 203-838-9799
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12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Closed now
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Wed - Sun 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and...

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and finest surviving Second Empire Style country houses ever built in the United States. The 62-room mansion was built by banker-railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood, who in 1864 began construction of his estate on the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Connecticut. Designed by European-trained, New York-based architect Detlef Lienau, the mansion, which was completed in 1868 at a cost of over $2,000,000.00 in 1868 currency, is considered his most significant surviving work. American craftsmen, along with many immigrant artisans, were employed in the construction of the house. Following Mr. Lockwood's financial reversal in 1869 and his untimely death in 1872, his wife, Ann Louisa Benedict Lockwood, lost the house in foreclosure to the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in 1874. At the time, Mrs. Lockwood owed one remaining mortgage payment of $90,000 - Mr. Lockwood had paid off $310,000 of his mortgage which he took out following the tragic financial disaster of Black Friday in 1869.

After remaining unoccupied for two years, the mansion was purchased in 1876 by Charles Drelincourt Mathews, a wealthy provisions merchant who retired at an early age. The purchase price from the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad astonished many. The house, not even a decade old, along with its numerous outbuildings within the 30-acre compound, was sold for a fraction of its value: $90,000.00 - the last payment owed by Mrs. Lockwood. However, much work had to be done in order to occupy the now unfurnished mansion and the grounds, never completed, were commissioned to Fredrick Law Olmstead. Charles and Rebecca had 4 children: Lillie, Florence, Charles Thompson, and Harold. Lillie and Harold both married, had children, and summered at the Mansion; Florence and Charles never married and lived at their townhouse at 812 Fifth Avenue in NYC in the winter or when not traveling throughout Europe. Charles Thompson Mathews, a world-renowned scholar in the field of architecture, won an international competition for the design and construction of the Lady Chapel at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC in 1899. His two books on the subject were used as textbooks at Ivy League schools such as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. Following his death in 1934, Miss Florence Mathews made Norwalk her full-time residence and passed away in her father's mansion in 1938.

The house was first leased and subsequently sold to the City of Norwalk for "park purposes." Years of neglect along with use by City Offices and storage of heavy machinery severely deteriorated the once beautiful home. When the City announced their plans for demolition in the early 1960s in order to build a new City Hall near the mansion, 16 taxpayers, later incorporated into "The Common Interest Group", sued the City of Norwalk and following a lengthy court battle, the Mansion was saved in 1965. In 1971, the Mansion was officially declared a National Historic Landmark. Today, the Museum is being lovingly restored back to its original grandeur by a non-profit organization and is a cultural gem which highlights the lives, styles and technology of the Victorian Era.

Tours are offered early April through early January, Wednesday-Sunday. Tours are conducted on the hour at 12, 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Admission: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $6 Students 8-18, and Free for Children under the age of 8.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Visitor rating
  • 27
  • 18
    Very good
  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
Lovely Architectural Style

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion is itself fantastic. As an historic memorial of the country houses of the rich and (in)famous of America in the late 1800's it is one of the most... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed January 9, 2016
Santa Barbara, California
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50 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
61 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2016

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion is itself fantastic. As an historic memorial of the country houses of the rich and (in)famous of America in the late 1800's it is one of the most impressive to view. The restoration which has been done is very nice, indeed. We visited at Christmas time, so many of the rooms were decked out in Christmas trees... More 

Thank SBGiGi
Southampton, New York
Level Contributor
50 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2015

We did the tour in December so the house was all decorated for Christmas. The tour guide knew what he was talking about and explained things with a lot of detail. It was very interesting.

Thank olivias33
Stamford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
114 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2015 via mobile

It's a beautiful and historic museum in Norwalk. There is much to do inside from seeing the large rotunda which is breathtaking to grabbing a gift at the lovely gift shop. I highly recommend visiting if your in the area, it is a fun experience for all ages.

Thank Kelley426
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2015

We did the tour back in October. The leaves / fall colors really added something to the beauty of the outside of the house. Having been to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC previously, the architecture here reminded me quite a bit of that (on a much smaller scale). It was a great experience.The tour guide seemed to have great... More 

Thank Alicia T
Naugatuck, Connecticut
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2015

Never knew right here in Ct was such a hidden treasure. Today I took the under the stair case tour, the tour guide had a personal connection to a driver. It was so personal & educational, I would recommend you check it out if your in the Norwalk area.

Thank Kathleen J
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2015

What is fascinating to me about this house is that is has survived at all. It once stood on 30 acres or more and is now confined to 3. Traffic form the highway (95) roars away at the bottom of the garden. The mansion, once set on an elegant street, is now almost marooned by busy roads. Owned by the... More 

Thank Anne S
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
99 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2015

Although this place is not as fancily restored as the mansions in Newport, it is definitely worthwhile (and a much closer ride if you live in CT or NY). The servants quarters will soon be open again to the public. It's easily reached from I95. It's a shame they no longer let you take photos in there. Downstairs looks very... More 

2 Thank ABW401
pleasant valley
Level Contributor
45 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2015

The architecture of this place is amazing! For me it was worth the price of admission just to see the beautiful woodworking, original fireplaces, chandeliers etc. Some of the original furnishings and art has been re-acquired and I love that there are pictures of the rooms as they were when the Lockwoods/Matthews lived there and you can then see the... More 

1 Thank mercPleasantValley
Naples, FL
Level Contributor
174 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2015 via mobile

We visited here while in area. I discovered it through TripAdvisor. I was not disappointed! This Second Empire mansion was built just after Civil War, years before the mansions of Newport were ever built. Built at a cost of 5 million 1860 dollars, this home is definitely worth a visit. The second floor is still unrestored, but still fabulous.

1 Thank Dan S
Fallston MD
Level Contributor
72 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2015

Excellent docent who was very knowledgeable about the mansion. Tour took about an hour. I learned something new about our history. Definitely worth the price of admission. My favorite room was the conservatory. Mention being a veteran; there is a small discount. Easy access from I-95.

1 Thank SingingMima

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