Mather Homestead to make museum official Friday

The Mather Homestead, built in 1778 by the Deacon Joseph Mather, recently became a Protected Town Landmark by the town of Darien, and will soon be opening to the public on a limited basis as a museum.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5 at noon.

A notable example of late 18th century houses, this historic residence served as a safe house for neighbors to hide valuables from the British during the Revolutionary War and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Homestead eventually became the home of Stephen Tyng Mather, who is credited with starting the U.S. National Parks Service and serving as its first director from 1917 to 1929. When Mather became assistant to the Secretary of the Interior in 1915, the U.S. owned only 14 parks and 18 national monuments, all administered by army officers or political appointees.  When Mather retired in 1929, he left a professionally administered, progressive National Park Service that included 20 parks and 32 national monuments. Mather laid a sound basis for the future enlargement and development of a national park movement in the U.S.

Stephen Tyng Mather’s daughter, Bertha Floy Mather McPherson, founded the Darien Historical Society in 1953 and served as the society’s first president.  

The Homestead, including its contents, has been in the family for many generations and is currently owned by Bertha McPherson’s children who are generously donating it to the Mather Homestead Foundation, which will make the Homestead available to the public for educational purposes and maintain it as a museum starting this year.