Friday, February 19, 2016


To you the public, know that we are still calling, still seeking your help.  There is a phenomenal amount of work that must be done if we are to reach the public at all.  Know that the end of February represents a critical juncture.  If certain events do not break our way, this may fail.  Certainly, the biggest is the failure of individuals making up the public making a personal decision to step up and fight to save this house.  No fight, we lose. It's that simple.

We are fighting powerful forces and there is no assurance any one person can do it.  So, anyone reading needs to think long and hard.  Likes on Facebook are great, and we need them.  But it is nowhere near enough.  A dedicated corps, beyond what we currently have, is needed if there is any chance of success.  That's right, Hoyt-Barnum needs you.  We're still calling.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Image result for hoyt barnum house


This was certainly a different kind of New Year's Resolution:  Save a 317 Year Old House From Likely Destruction.  We decided that the period of time running up to dusk would be the best time.  Sure enough, look at the results.  Phil came up with a very simple idea for lighting the steps to the house - votive candles in a bag weighed down with some sand from the beach (We put the sand back later).  As the picture shows, it created a wonderful effect.  A soft, gentle glow that matched the time of day.  If you look carefully, you can see a couple people in front of the building at a distance.

I find we learn something new with each of these pilgrimages to the house.  The stonework, features of the house's construction, features of the landscape, there is always a surprise.  This suggests something else that has not been discussed much about the Hoyt-Barnum House.  Historians suggest that there is no remarkable story connected with the house.  Washington didn't sleep there. No battles were fought there.  No recognizable names of the American Revolutionary War have been associated with the house.

Not so fast.  I offer they have not looked hard enough.  A history as long as this can only have gaps just like ancient scrolls are found in fragments.  There is still work to be done.  The Stamford Historical Society has materials which are so extensive they still need much investigation.  So, don't assume the Hoyt-Barnum House lacks greater historical significance.

As I stood there giving my speech that night, with the lights cast on it,and as cars drove by, I could only think of how plain the structure looks. Simple, utilitarian, to the point.  That also means it can surprise you.  There is nothing obvious to draw your attention.  The door is as plain as the windows as the walls as the foundation.  The structure is almost Sphinx-like, guarding secrets and giving no hint. So, can the curious mind penetrate this inscrutable exterior?  Are there clues somewhere which we have overlooked because our eyes and minds are only accustomed to things that appear unusual or out of place?

Also, to this day, there is an occasional discovery of America's founding documents that nobody expected to exist.  So, don't discount that there is still in some attic somewhere, a document, a picture, a journal in which the hidden truths about Hoyt-Barnum will come forth.

-Cort Wrotnowski
Save Hoyt Barnum

Friday, February 12, 2016



Hoyt-Barnum's Winter

Bear This
The Winter of Our Discontent
Winter's Kiss
Whither God has Sent
Tested Devotion to Forgotten Lives
To Hold Forth in This Cold Hour
How Much our Heart Strives
Amidst Infinite Particled Flowers
The Last Fight,  The Hard Fight
Where The Flowers Fall, The Wheels Turn
Reminding Us We are Damn Right
To Save to The Very Last
This Last Trace of Your Past

- Cort Wrotnowski, Save Hoyt Barnum House

So, we are appealing to you folks to help save this house. It's life is in where it originated and no other place.  Built in 1699, this house is the last of it's kind in Stamford.  A house built nearly 317 years ago poses too many challenges and unknowns.  Other attempts to disassemble and reassemble houses of this age have ended in complete disaster - despite the best of good intentions and planning.  This house needs to stay where it is.  With your help, we will make this house a cultural symbol of Stamford.

To learn more, and find ways to help, start by visiting our facebook page, Save Hoyt Barnum House.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


That link dates back to 2012, when Pam Coleman, chairwoman, described their plans for their own sort of Halloween
bash.  She makes it clear that disease, accidents, and the normal nasty surprises of daily colonial living made
for a rough life style.  One can only imagine, but they had stories to tell based on what past residents experienced
in that time.

The video pans the house and is filled with the tools and implements they relied on to cook, to clean, and otherwise 
keep the house in livable condition.  It is remarkable how much they were able to accomplish.  Between daily chores, 
growing their own food, gathering food from Long Island Sound, taking care of their clothes, attending church, it is
remarkable they accomplished anything.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


One of the more surprising aspects of the story about the Hoyt-Barnum House is how much it has been neglected.  Neglected by the Stamford Historical Society, the city government, and yes, the public; like a geriatric community member shuffled from authority to authority in order to receive  SOME kind of care, the Hoyt-Barnum House, has become an annoying burden when it should be revered and lauded as a symbol of Stamford's endurance as a city.

A visit to the lot tells you immediately of that neglect and even abuse.  There is litter all over the lot, a piece of rotting wood from the house lying on the ground, a beat up shed in the back.  It is obvious that no one visits and does anything to care for it. No one.  Also, the ground is used for overflow parking for the police station.  Another act of disrespect and disregard.

From those first few lots, to the present day, this house is the one remaining example of a time long gone. 317 years predates American independence by 77 years, three generations.  That counts for something.  Can you imagine the generations that lived and died in that house?  Can you imagine the marriages, the children they had, the lives they lived?  Those lives were like drum beats that marked the passage of time as our nation grew, right there in Stamford.

The Hoyt-Barnum House symbolizes so much.  The plan to move it is a huge mistake from the word go.  You cannot separate a building from it's place, it's origins, and still call it history.  It becomes the hollowing out of history; a form of decapitation.

So, to you the reader, our appeal is the same. Help us save this house.  Help us to convince the responsible parties that the smarter thing to do is to keep the building there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Folks, Stamford, Connecticut is a strangely beautiful and disturbing city.  Most disturbing is their disregard for their own history.  We are here to fight that and create a more appealing environment for residents and visitors alike.

This battle starts now with the Hoyt Barnum House. Built in 1699, it is the oldest colonial era structure in the city.  There is a plan to "relocate" the building.  We firmly believe this is the worst possible decision for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the high risk associated with disassembling a building that is some 317 years old.

So, we have started this blog to inform the public, report on our efforts, and to solicit your involvement in this ongoing battle.  There are only a few months, so we are under pressure to get results asap.  We will be reporting out on various features of what is the Hoyt Barnum Media Project.

Stay Tuned....

Cort Wrotnowski