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Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

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Address: 295 West Ave, Mathews Park, Norwalk, CT 06850-4002
Phone Number: +1 203-838-9799
Website
Tuesday
Closed
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Hours:
Wed - Sun 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Description:

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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Unexpected treasure by I95

The lockwood Mansion is a fabulous property that was constructed in the 1880. The craftsmanship is outstanding and as it only had two owners before the city of Norwalk bought the... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
NathalieWestport
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Westport
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62 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 62: English reviews
Westport
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The lockwood Mansion is a fabulous property that was constructed in the 1880. The craftsmanship is outstanding and as it only had two owners before the city of Norwalk bought the property it is still in its original state. The rooms have been beautifully restored and give an idea of the grandeur of the time. You need to be there... More 

Helpful?
Thank NathalieWestport
Vienna
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Seriously. This is a CASTLE ! ... with a unique and intriguing history... SO thankful i went there today. Before going in for the 2 PM tour, i had 45 minutes to slowly go around the outside of the entire Lockwood-Mathews Castle, and have some wonderful photos. The grounds and trees are beautiful too. The ticket prices are quite reasonable.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Anna C
FLORIDA
Level Contributor
56 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2016

I had planned to visit Lockwood Mathews for the past 3 visits to NY/CT and was so glad I made it this time. What an awesome place. It was built during the Civil War and it is just worth the experience. Mike, the docent, was very knowledgeable and a pleasure to listen to. He had a lot of fun facts... More 

Helpful?
Thank MICH618
Darien, Connecticut
Level Contributor
350 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 272 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2016 via mobile

Excellent tour of beautiful old summer home built in the 1860's. Saved from the wrecking ball 50 years ago this mansion shows off incredible wood-working, marble and painted interiors Just off I-95 this is well worth a visit!

Helpful?
Thank Cameron06820
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
50 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2016

This is a Newport Mansion built before there were Newport Mansions. It is exquisitely restored and has many pf the original furnishings. Don't miss it if you are in the area.

Helpful?
Thank Tod B
Westwood, Massachusetts
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2016

Impressive 40,00 square foot mansion provides a unique look at what extreme wealth could buy in the 1860's. Fabulous architectural features that were accurately explained in detail by the tour guide. A walk-thru would be a waste of time. You need to understand what the building shows about how the facility was maintained and operated by the in-house staff, how... More 

Helpful?
Thank Stephen P
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2016

This place is really fantastic, I was initially 'underwhelmed' upon entering but that quickly changed after learning how advanced the technology was for the time. SPOILER ALERT** it has air conditioning, not as we know it today but it has an air conditioning system and was built in 1864! That is just the start of the technology, more to this... More 

Helpful?
Thank Anniek1105
Cresskill, New Jersey
Level Contributor
143 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2016

After a while I get tired of historic homes, but I'm glad we stopped here. The mansion is very big, with lots of great furniture and art. The tour was terrific. Our docent(Midge) was so knowledgeable and answered every question. Her love for the home was evident. The home is in a wonderful park with activities and a museum for... More 

Helpful?
Thank lovetotrav0
Shelton, Connecticut
Level Contributor
62 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2016

The mansion is breathtaking on the outside and we were excited to enter and have a tour. Upon entering, we were told we had to have a tour guide and tours start at the top of the hour. We had to wait because we could not tour on our own. Our guide was knowledgeable, but not accommodating to younger children.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Cath430
Stockbridge, Georgia
Level Contributor
132 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2016

The docent was very knowledgeable and interesting. If you like old mansions, this is for you. We had a hard time finding it, do not go by the GPS - look for the signs.

Helpful?
Thank AnneandJoetrips

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