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“Admission price helps with restoration.”

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
Ranked #6 of 40 things to do in Norwalk
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and finest surviving Second Empire Style country houses ever built in the United States. The 62-room mansion was built by banker-railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood, who in 1864 began construction of his estate on the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Connecticut. Designed by European-trained, New York-based architect Detlef Lienau, the mansion, which was completed in 1868 at a cost of over $2,000,000.00 in 1868 currency, is considered his most significant surviving work. American craftsmen, along with many immigrant artisans, were employed in the construction of the house. Following Mr. Lockwood's financial reversal in 1869 and his untimely death in 1872, his wife, Ann Louisa Benedict Lockwood, lost the house in foreclosure to the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in 1874. At the time, Mrs. Lockwood owed one remaining mortgage payment of $90,000 - Mr. Lockwood had paid off $310,000 of his mortgage which he took out following the tragic financial disaster of Black Friday in 1869. After remaining unoccupied for two years, the mansion was purchased in 1876 by Charles Drelincourt Mathews, a wealthy provisions merchant who retired at an early age. The purchase price from the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad astonished many. The house, not even a decade old, along with its numerous outbuildings within the 30-acre compound, was sold for a fraction of its value: $90,000.00 - the last payment owed by Mrs. Lockwood. However, much work had to be done in order to occupy the now unfurnished mansion and the grounds, never completed, were commissioned to Fredrick Law Olmstead. Charles and Rebecca had 4 children: Lillie, Florence, Charles Thompson, and Harold. Lillie and Harold both married, had children, and summered at the Mansion; Florence and Charles never married and lived at their townhouse at 812 Fifth Avenue in NYC in the winter or when not traveling throughout Europe. Charles Thompson Mathews, a world-renowned scholar in the field of architecture, won an international competition for the design and construction of the Lady Chapel at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC in 1899. His two books on the subject were used as textbooks at Ivy League schools such as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. Following his death in 1934, Miss Florence Mathews made Norwalk her full-time residence and passed away in her father's mansion in 1938. The house was first leased and subsequently sold to the City of Norwalk for "park purposes." Years of neglect along with use by City Offices and storage of heavy machinery severely deteriorated the once beautiful home. When the City announced their plans for demolition in the early 1960s in order to build a new City Hall near the mansion, 16 taxpayers, later incorporated into "The Common Interest Group", sued the City of Norwalk and following a lengthy court battle, the Mansion was saved in 1965. In 1971, the Mansion was officially declared a National Historic Landmark. Today, the Museum is being lovingly restored back to its original grandeur by a non-profit organization and is a cultural gem which highlights the lives, styles and technology of the Victorian Era. Tours are offered early April through early January, Wednesday-Sunday. Tours are conducted on the hour at 12, 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Admission: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $6 Students 8-18, and Free for Children under the age of 8.
Reviewed 27 November 2013 via mobile

Barry was a very knowledgable guide. He spent 2.5 hours with my husband & me bringing the glory days back to life in the mansion. As well as how the Town of Norwalk contributed to it's distruction. Well worth the money & time it takes to tour the mansion.

Thank Carol Ann R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"dark shadows"
in 6 reviews
"stepford wives"
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"second floor"
in 8 reviews
"tour guide"
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"tv series"
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"civil war"
in 3 reviews
"summer home"
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"definitely worth the trip"
in 2 reviews
"take photos"
in 2 reviews
"fall colors"
in 2 reviews
"interesting history"
in 2 reviews
"gift shop"
in 2 reviews
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54 - 58 of 75 reviews

Reviewed 23 October 2013

The house is beautiful though not all the furnishings are original. Second floor still needs to be refurbished, but still nice to see in the rough.

Thank Springtime01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2013

What can i say . The grounds are as beautiful as the mansion . Even a walk over to the Norwalk info center on the property is a pleasure . If you have young kids with you walk over to the Children's Museum and the playground by the water . Both are on the same grounds .

1  Thank Thomas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2013

We stopped at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion on our trip to Norwalk, CT. The mansion was beautiful must have been something in its day. A lot of renovation work has been done but there is still a lot that has to be done. The tour guide was very nice and answered questions that people had as best she could. All in all, it is a nice way to spend and hour or so when in the area.

1  Thank Renee R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 April 2013

Awesome activity to do. So much information and the gift shop is good. Tour guides are friendly as well. The tour is fun and the house is spectacular!

Thank Simone710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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