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Council Approves $8,600 for Work on Stratford’s 'White House'

Repairs, renovations continue on the mansion that sits at the entrance to Shakespeare Theatre.

Stratford Town Council members Tuesday approved $8,600 for work on the mansion known as the 'White House' that sits at the entrance to Shakespeare Theatre on Elm Street.

The money will be allocated as follows: $3,800 for a fireplace hearth; $1,850 for a false chimney; and $2,950 for wood replacement.

"I understand this building," said Chairman Joe Kubic (R-9). "We've realized it's in good shape [and] going to be a gem for the community."

"I had a long discussion with the architect, he's impressed," said Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3). "This will be a tremendous asset to the town of Stratford."

In July, Town Council members approved a "local historic property" designation for the mansion, a move which gives the Greek revival building, circa 1840, a better shot at securing state and federal funding through preservation grants, which can help pay for repairs and renovations.

Theatre supporters believe the defunct building can be transformed into a not-for-profit center for the arts, which can display Shakespeare Theatre archives such as those showcased at an exhibition at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

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In an effort to explore potential options for the fabled Stratford theatre, the town hired an agency called the Arts Consulting Group. In April, the agency presented a few ways to go about breathing new life into the long-shuttered theatre that once staged plays starring famous actors, the likes of which included Katharine Hepburn.

The concepts ranged in price from $3.2 million for a "temporary," summer theatre that would host 30 to 40 events a year, to $29.6 million for a venue that would be open year-round, put on 192 events a year and potentially rake in $2 million in annual revenue. All options would rely heavily on an ambitious fundraising campaign.

Jennifer October 11, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Preserving history, is priceless. Perhaps we should squeeze in another taupe over-sized home, that looks similiar to all the other taupe over sized homes built here. Remember to cut down all the inconvenient trees first. 100 years from now, I can just hear the people passing by, saying "what a magnificent piece of architecture". Perhaps we should tear it down and put another Cumberland Farms there.
Jim Ravis October 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM
That area might be under water in 100 years.
Jennifer October 12, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Sorry, the "magnificent" piece(s) of architecture i was referring to, are the homes being built on the extremely limited undeveloped land in Stratford. They're usually taupe,unimaginitive in structure, appear to be modifications of the same boring plan, and don't blend particularly well in the neighborhoods that are imposed by them. The main point is, is that once history is destroyed, you can't get it back. There are many ways, historic homes can be productively integrated into a town. Tearing them down does not leave this option. Stratford was founded in 1639. I believe we've lost enough of our history.
Mike October 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I am all for preserving history. In fact, I am a member of a historical society. (Not Stratford's) I want to know if this house is used for any purpose at all, or does it just sit there empty? Preserving history is nice, but do it in a responsible and intelligent way. The historical society I belong to has a house dating back to about 1730, and they rent part of it out. That generates income, and they get a caretaker in the process. Did nobody in Stratford think of that?
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