The 1738 Palmer-Warner House sits on 50 acres of land and was home to preservation architect Frederic Palmer. At the Palmer-Warner House, we can tell the story of a colonial blacksmithing family, the Warner family, but also the more contemporary, non-traditional story of preservation architect Frederic Palmer and his partner Howard Metzger. Built by the blacksmithing family of John and Mehitable Warner, the house originally sat on 1,000 acres inherited by Mehitable from her father, husband and sister. John Warner was not your typical horseshoe and nail blacksmith, he and his sons made elaborate hardware on view throughout the Palmer-Warner House as well as the on the doors of the First Church of Christ in East Haddam.
The contemporary story began when Frederic Palmer and his mother, Mary Brennan Palmer, purchased the property in 1936. Frederic Palmer was part of the Antiquarian & Landmarks Society (now Connecticut Landmarks) and served as the Chairman of the Structures Committee. In that role, he was instrumental in the restoration of the organization’s historic properties including the Hempsted Houses, the Buttolph-Williams House, and the Nathan Hale Homestead. He also played a critical role in the organization’s acquisition of historic properties including the Butler-McCook House & Garden, Isham-Terry House, and the Amasa Day House. His preservation work included the First Congregational Church and the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.
Frederic lived there with his partner Howard Metzger from the mid-1940s until his death in 1971, and Metzger remained in the house until 2005. CTL is cataloging the property’s extensive collections and researching its history in preparation to open to the public. The contemporary story of Frederic Palmer and Howard Metzger is supported by a wealth of documentary evidence many historic house museums only dream of. CTL is fortunate to have diaries, letters, and photo albums that detail the lives of the final inhabitants.
We seek to be a setting to share multiple viewpoints, encourage visitors to share and document their own history, foster conversations around inclusion, individuality, privacy, and privilege.
We need your help to raise funds renovate the Palmer-Warner Barn – one of the oldest remaining barns in Connecticut –to create a Visitor Welcome, Program & Exhibit Center. Please contact Erin Farley, Collections Manager & Palmer-Warner Project Manager, at email@example.com for more information and to get involved.
Behind the Scenes Tours
Join Connecticut Landmarks staff for an exclusive look inside the Palmer-Warner House before it is open to the public through a special behind-the-scenes tour. Experience the collection of letters and diaries, photographs, historic furnishings, and decorative arts used to reconstruct the lives of Frederic Palmer and Howard Metzger. Explore the grounds (weather permitting) to see the constructed landscape Howard and Frederic created.
All Tours require reservations and can accommodate up to 8 people. Tour registration must be received at least 7 days prior to visit. Tour registration is non-refundable.
Tours are offered May – November on the first Saturday of the month between 11 am & 4 pm, and on the first and third Tuesday between 10 am & 2 pm.
$35 per person/ $25 for CTL members & East Haddam residents. Become a member today.
Registration required. For reservations, please call (860) 247-8996 x 10 or register online.
All tour proceeds benefit the Palmer-Warner Visitor Welcome, Program & Exhibit Center Project.
Palmer-Warner Barn Project:
CTL contracted Mike Einsiedel, a timber framer, preservation carpenter, and owner of Yankee Restoration & Remodeling LLC, who specializes in post and beam and preservation work, to restore the barn. Einsiedel began the project by examining and diagramming the building. Each timber was photo documented and labeled with letters and numbers that were transferred to drawings, creating a map for reassembly that would ensure the original builder’s efforts were replicated. The barn was reassembled, using the pre-numbered historical pieces and introducing new historically accurate materials as necessary.
Please check out the photo gallery below to see some project highlights.