Fun Facts About Danbury’s Oldest House
If you're going about your day, you can easily overlook this house but it's significant in the story of Danbury, CT.
Here are some fun facts about the Rider House in Danbury:
- It's a wooden frame building, Hudson River Valley style, an early example of Federal style architectural design.
- It was built in 1785.
- It's called the John Rider House.
- It's one of the most prominent buildings in the collection of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society.
- It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
- The house is just south of the larger, Nationally Registered Historic District in the city.
- The house is named for its first occupant, the man who built it, John Rider.
- John Rider was a carpenter and Captain in the State Militia in the Revolutionary War.
- The home remained in the family until 1925, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) helped save this building from demolition and co-founded the Danbury Cultural and Arts Center which eventually became the Danbury Museum.
The house is on the south end of Main Street, next door to Price Rite. It's so odd, that Main Street Danbury is graced with historic structures like this. These buildings are surrounded by businesses big and small, but we are lucky to have them.
I live down the road, so I sometimes wander by the Museum and just stare at this building. I try to wrap my head around the fact that this place has been there since 1785. It fascinates me when I think that a person in 1788 looked at this building and saw the same thing I did in 2022.
Currently, there are free tours of the Danbury Museum as part of the "CT Summer at the Museum Program" which runs until September 3rd. The Danbury Cultural Commission also supported the community and provided funds for free tours through December 17, 2022 - thank you Danbury Cultural Commission! You need to reach out ahead of time to book your free tour.
The museum is celebrating its 80th year, and to celebrate, they have their "Danbury Rediscovered: Eighty Years, Eighty Objects: Eighty Stories" exhibit in the building known as Huntington Hall and on outside panels on the fences and throughout the historic buildings they operate on Main Street. You can contact the museum at (203)743-5200. I have had nothing but fantastic interactions with the folks at the museum. They are very helpful when I'm researching a project, or just trying to satisfy my own personal curiosity.
P.S. On the museum property (in addition to the Rider House and Huntington Hall) is also Marian Anderson's practice studio, the John Dodd Shop, and the Little Red Schoolhouse. The Charles Ives Birthplace is on Mountainville Avenue and you can also book tours of this historic space.