The Mather Homestead, a treasured Darien National Historic Landmark, built in 1778, celebrated the opening of its recently completed barn, The Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center, on Saturday, Sept. 19. While the event was capped at 100 guests, pursuant to state guidelines, it raised nearly $15,000, which will aid in the project’s completion. The Homestead intends to host scholar’s lectures, school groups, concerts, art exhibits, book discussions and even yoga classes in the new space.

Designed to look like an eighteenth-century dairy barn, the Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center was named after board chairman, Richard L. Chilton Jr’s late mother, who was an impassioned historical preservationist. The construction was made possible by the generosity of the Chilton family, a generous $75,000 grant from The Darien Foundation, as well as donations from 80 community members and counting.

Chilton did the honors at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and in attendance were members of the McPherson family, Ward Glassmeyer, Chairman of the board of The Darien Foundation, Sarah Woodberry, Executive Director of The Darien Foundation, as well as First Selectman, Jayme Stevenson, and State Representative Terrie Wood. Immediately following the ceremony, event guests enjoyed a video, now online, which presented the story of the Homestead.

Finally, Richard Chilton, President of the Mather Homestead Foundation Board gave his vision for the future of the Homestead with the addition of this new barn. He shared an anecdote about being instructed by his mother as a small boy in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey to sit on the roof of a historic home so that it would not be destroyed by wrecking balls. That home, the Hermitage, then became the first National Historic Landmark in New Jersey.

Donations to the Homestead Barn may be made on their website. All donors making contributions before the end of the month over $250 will be recognized on their donor wall.

About Mather Homestead

The Mather Homestead of Darien, Connecticut was built in 1778 and owned by the Mather family through seven generations, until 2017 when it was donated to The Mather Homestead Foundation, thanks to the generosity of the McPherson family. In 2020, the Foundation completed a new “barn," the Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center.

For more information about The Mather Homestead, visit matherhomestead.org

About The Darien Foundation

The Darien Foundation is an independent, community-based, 501(c)(3) public charity. Since 1998, The Darien Foundation has awarded over $4.5 million in grants for technology and capital initiatives. Public donations are directed to supporting grants awarded by The Darien Foundation, as all operating costs have been funded by Board member and Officer contributions. Most recently, The Darien Foundation has awarded grants to The Darien Police Department, The Depot Youth Center, Person-to-Person, and TV79.

For more information about The Darien Foundation, visit darienfoundation.org.