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Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

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Address: 295 West Avenue, Mathews Park, Norwalk, CT 06850
Phone Number: +1 203-838-9799
Website
Today
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Closed now
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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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Mansion tour

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.

4 of 5 starsReviewed June 6, 2016
AnneandJoetrips
,
Stockbridge, Georgia
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55 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 55: English reviews
Shelton, Connecticut
Level Contributor
58 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

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
133 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars 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
Collingswood, New Jersey
Level Contributor
46 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2016

The last time I had visited the mansion was 45 years earlier. One of the landmarks of my hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut, it is one of the nation's outstanding Second Empire houses. There are a number of spectacular interior spaces that are contrasted with still-unrestored spaces on the second floor. There were also two exhibits on display when my wife... More 

Helpful?
Thank Douglas M
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2016

This landmark home was an underutilized resource for the city for many years. Over the last few decades, it has grown to a must-see destination. Don't miss the holiday exhibitions here, as well as the behind-the scenes tours of areas often closed to the public.

Helpful?
Thank Meyers0420
Norwalk, Connecticut
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2016

All attractions are only in English, is hard to find someone within that explain the history of the place or answer questions. The visit do not last more than 20 munutes

Helpful?
Thank ricfeliu
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
76 reviews
27 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 

Helpful?
Thank SBGiGi
Southampton, New York
Level Contributor
65 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 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.

Helpful?
Thank olivias33
Stamford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
115 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 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.

Helpful?
Thank Kelley426
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 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 

Helpful?
Thank Alicia T
Naugatuck, Connecticut
Level Contributor
61 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 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.

Helpful?
Thank Kathleen J

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