Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jailed! And other Thursday morning adventures...

I spent a good amount of my morning in the local jail--in the slammer, the pokey, gaol, the cooler, doin' time--and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sadly, there's no daring tale of escape and I can't even claim that I waved my favorite Liberty scarf out of a barred window to attract a rescuer.

The old Danbury jail
I was, this morning, while checking out a minor (and wholly unexpected) holy grail for my research, presented with the opportunity to spend some time in the old Danbury jail. A building I'd driven by umpteen times, I never expected I'd get to actually see the interior. They're doing a lot of work and it will, I think, house the local WIC program, but it was still pretty fabulous to see the interior details up close and personal. There are many layers of paint over the beautiful mouldings and some of the once elegant hardwood floors show their age, but what a great building it is and I was thrilled to be able to see that they'll really be making good use of it. The elegant long windows--even those that are still barred--let in a surprising amount of light and made the room we were working in quite sunny. Oh, and while I didn't see any of the men's area, I did peek into the eerie bricked and barred walls of the women's cells--not somewhere you'd want to spend any time. Typically not someplace you want to start your day, but in this case it was far too much fun! 

And my little photographic grail? Even better than I'd allowed myself to hope for. The photo taken with my BlackBerry can't possibly do the real image justice, but it gives you a good idea. Photo is ca.1899 of the old Gregory place, located in Brookfield, CT, just over the Danbury border. The structure itself is ca.1760, but it looks fabulous for being more than 130 years old back in 1899, don't you think? And notice the 12 over 12 windows--wonderful.

The house on the old Gregory place, ca1899. 

I also wanted to give a little plug for the folks at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society. They've been beyond swell and helpful. Danbury was, of course, the hat mecca of the US for many years and this summer DMHS will be showcasing some really incredible hats, fascinators and beyond. I was lucky enough to catch a sneak preview of some of the exhibit and could've spent a day just looking at all the styles on offer--from the most delicate of hats to sturdy quilted velvet bonnets--spanning much of the long history of the millinery trade. The grand opening of the Magnificent Millinery exhibit is in June, plan to stop in if you're in the area! Info:

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