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The first documented barn was built by Joseph Wakeman Mather's brother, William, for Joseph in 1891.  The barn burned in 1905.  The second documented barn was built after the first burned in 1905 by Stephen Mather. The third documented barn and three car garage was built in 1965. 

A greenhouse with potting shed was added to the property by Stephen Mather in 1915. The greenhouse was demolished by Bertha Mather in 1965, but the potting shed remained and was still standing in 1967 as it was included in the description included in the Historic American Buildings Survey. 

Stephen Mather had a gardener's cottage constructed behind the main house with a high trellis connecting the two buildings. In 1965, Bertha replaced the two-story Gardener's cottage with a story-and-one-half guest house, constructed on the same foundation as the gardener's cottage. 

a.k.a., the barn
Mather Homestead Elizabeth W. "Liz" Chilton Education Center, a.k.a. "The Barn:

The Mather Homestead's new "barn" was built in 2020 in order to house lectures, school groups, art exhibits and more, supporting the Mather Homestead's vision of becoming a preeminent center for historical education in Fairfield County.

​The 1800 square foot structure resembles an 18th century dairy barn on the exterior with a open interior floor plan in order to maximize the opportunity for gatherings of up to 130 people. It includes significant wall space for exhibits, a small efficiency kitchen, ADA compliant bathrooms and large doors to open to the outside.


The construction of the barn was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Mather Homestead Foundation board, led by chairman Richard L. Chilton, a gift from The Darien Foundation, and many other generous donors. Wall of donors.    

Mather Homestead Liz Chilton Education Center plan from side
Mather Homestead Liz Chilton Education Center floor plan

About Elizabeth W. Chilton

Elizabeth W. Chilton, known to her friends and family as Liz, was most recently a resident of New Canaan before her passing in 2013. Throughout her life, she was active in historical preservation, the arts and horticulture. In 1970, while living in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, she and a group of four other women formed the Friends of the Hermitage to save "The Hermitage" from the wrecking ball.  The Hermitage, which is one of the most important mid 1700’s houses in New Jersey, was formerly owned by Theodosia Barton Prevost, who later married Aaron Burr.  It served as a strategic headquarters for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and later, as a half way house for the abolitionist movement to protect and relocate slaves during the Civil War. Designated a National Historic Landmark for the excellence of its Gothic Revival Architecture, today it is one of New Jersey’s most important historical houses and New Jersey’s first National Historic Landmark.  More about The Hermitage.

In New Canaan, Liz was involved with the New Canaan Historical Society, the New Canaan Nature Center, and the Herb Society of America/New York.  

Inspired by his mother  Richard L. Chilton, Jr. helped to establish the Mather Homestead Foundation in 2017 in order to presas a museum and community place for education and enjoyment.   He and his wife Maureen have generously donated to make the Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center a space for all to enjoy and learn.

Elizabeth W. "Liz" Chilton
The Hermitage, Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jesey
The Hermitage, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ
Painting of the Liz Chilton Education Center by Kathleen Weinstock
List of donors to the Liz Chilton Education Center
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