Students Explore Local History at Old Saybrook Historical Society Hart House & Fort Saybrook

Jun 17 2018

Hart House

Grades 3, 4 and 5 took a stroll down Main Street to the General William Hart house and were warmly greeted by members of The Old Saybrook Historical Society. It was once residence of distinguished Revolution era political and military figure, General William Hart. The house became a meeting place during the Revolutionary war era. A Mansion with eight corner fireplaces, Colonial décor and an award-winning historical garden.

The students learned about what it was like to live in Colonial times. They heard about family life and different chores. In the kitchen they saw the inglenook fireplace and were shown the implements used to make toast, butter and apple butter. They heard about the traditional cooking methods and how candles were made. They toured the renovated basement and noticed the original beam supports and granite foundation walls.

Old Saybrook Historical Society

They were shown the pretty herb garden which had herbs for medicinal, culinary, and practical uses. For example Scotch Broom, an herb cut, bundled and tied together was hung upside down in the attic of the home for the entire winter. In the spring it was attached to a stick and used as a broom. The Teaser plant was grown and used to tease the wool from the sheep to get the wool ready for the spinning wheel. Medicinal herbs include Valerian used for insomnia and Lambs ear was used as a wound dressing. There were many herbs used to flavor foods such as Basil, Oregano and Chives.

The students found the tour very interesting but concluded they appreciated modern day amenities and comforts all the more.

Fort Saybrook

Mrs. Papp, the Third Grade teacher who was retiring, always wanted to bring her class on a field trip to Saybrook Fort. She went to the Saybrook Fort, a fort the founders of Old Saybrook built in 1644, and took photographs of all of the informational plaques and monuments at the fort. Then together with the Grade 5 teacher revisited the fort and came up with 50 scavenger hunt questions for the students to seek and record on their answer sheets. Hence, her Saybrook Fort field trip became a reality.

Fort Saybrook

Grades 3, 4, and 5 walked to Saybrook Fort from St. John School on a warm day in June. There was a quick stop at the cemetery to take a look at Lady Fenwick’s gravesite. Lady Fenwick was one of the first three women to live at the fort. A sense of energy and competition filled the air as the classes arrived at the fort.  The scavenger hunt began! Classes were told that two students from each grade would receive free mini golf passes for finding the most answers to the questions provided.  Chaperones (parent volunteers), each had a group of three to 6 students. The groups discovered answer to questions such as;  Find a picture of 2 cannons firing at the Dutch; Who is Lion Gardiner?; What color was Lady Fenwick’s hair?; and many more!

The students brought bag lunches from home, and we had a pleasant lunch with a view of the ocean. Their energy did not dwindle. As they walked back to St John School many of the students talked excitedly about all of the fun facts they learned at Saybrook Fort.