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If These Walls Could Talk

Stories live on at Lambert Corner



History buff, former first selectman, and author Bob Russel, leads the Wilton Historical Society annual history walk around Lambert Corner every fall.

Photo by Stan Godlewski

Just beyond the threshold of the old Lambert homestead hovers a ghost. It recalls times of prosperity and prominence, the love between a gentleman scholar and a gifted poet, the simplicity of life in rural Wilton—and murder. It is the spirit of David Samuel Rogers Lambert, whose tragic story echoes in the timbers of the 291-year-old family home known as Lilacstead. Believed to be the oldest Wilton residence still standing, the stately Lambert dwelling, c. 1726, rests on its original foundation. A few lilac bushes, once so prolific as to inspire the home’s name, still remain. For nearly 200 years, four generations of Lamberts presided over the house and more than 100 acres of pastoral land. Today, it stands as the crown jewel of Lambert Corner. 

Home to nine remarkably diverse antique structures situated on three of the original acres and nestled at the intersection of Routes 7 and 33, Lambert Corner is more than a quaint nod to Wilton’s past. It’s a rare gift. “There is nothing like this anywhere in the state,” says Wilton Historical Society executive director Leslie Nolan. “Wandering through these old buildings breathes life into history, making it real—especially to kids—in a way that nothing else can.” 

Unique in their function and appearance, each structure at Lambert Corner recalls the surprising, sometimes scandalous, and often touching stories of people who passed through them over time. No one weaves those tales together quite like Bob Russell, former first selectman and author of Wilton’s most comprehensive published history: Wilton Connecticut, Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress. Each fall, Russell leads a walking tour through the complex, recounting the Patriots, Loyalists, and family rifts that ensued; fortunes gained and fortunes lost; illegal investments in the failed Connecticut Canal; and the fates of those who came before.

Thanks to the extraordinary foresight of a handful of Wilton residents who encouraged the establishment of a local historic district in 1963, the Lambert home and overseer’s cottage were preserved, and ultimately acquired by the Wilton Historical Society. 

The following year Wilton native, Robert Carvutto, donated and moved the 118-year-old Hurlbutt Street General Store and Post Office from his property to Lambert Corner. Seven years later, the Lambert overseer’s cottage and Kent Distric School, followed. When a modern railroad station was constructed in 1941, Charles Dana murchased it and moved the original 1852 station alongside the Norwalk River to use as a summer cottage. By 1972, the building had fallen into an advanced state of disrepair and was slated for demolition. Recognizing the station’s architectural beauty and historical significance, a group of Wiltonians interceded and helped finance the cost of relocating and restoring the iconic structure.          

Up the sloping path from the station house sits the Cannon General Store. Nearby is the 157-year-old Davenport barn, which was dismantled, then reassembled on its current site in 1990. Recalling Wilton’s agrarian past is the hand-hewn Cannon corn crib with its original hardware. A short distance away sits a circa 1830 Greek Revival-style privy. “It’s a three-holer,” notes Russell. “One of the seats is child-size with a stepstool.”

Life still unfolds in these buildings, and business carries on, albeit of a different nature. Professionally restored and renovated for modern functionality, seven of the nine structures stand as shining examples of adaptive use. 

As for Lilacstead’s apparition, David Samuel Rogers Lambert arrived home one evening to find his wife lying on the floor, bound and chloroformed by two men looking for money and silver. After a struggle, the intruders shot him. He died five days later. Pinkerton detectives were brought in and a manhunt ensued. It was the most sensational crime in Wilton’s history. To learn whodunit, join Russell his captivating tour of Lambert Corner.

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September 2018

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

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Cost: Admission & parking free. unlimited rides $25. Individual ride tickets available

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Cost: $7 per garden, children 12 and under free

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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Grace Farms
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More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: $45

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WEPCO Parish Hall
48 New Canaan Road
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View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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