The following is a press release from Lauralton Hall:
The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall invites the public to an Open House Celebration on Saturday, September 17 from 2 - 4 p.m. to mark its recent listing on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places. This is an honorary designation that identifies Lauralton Hall as a historic property.
"It is my sincere hope that this designation will serve to encourage the protection of this important historic resource," said David Bahlman, Division Director, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.
The celebration will include tours of the celebrated buildings on campus provided by Lauralton students and alumnae docents, some dressed in period costume. A brief program begins at 2:30 p.m. with light refreshments served.
"We want to thank the community for their support of Lauralton Hall over the years and particularly for their encouragement of our nomination process," stated Lauralton Hall President Antoinette Iadarola, Ph.D.
Built during the Civil War in 1864 and set on 33 acres in historic downtown Milford, the Lauralton Hall campus contains a cluster of architecturally significant buildings with a very rich history. The stunning estate was constructed as the home of Charles Hobby Pond, a New York businessman from one of Milford's oldest families. The original name of the home was "Island View", named for its view of Charles Island. The picturesque appeal of the Victorian-Gothic style of "Island View" is achieved principally through the variety and irregularity in its design. Several of its dominant exterior features are a high French mansard roof and two towers, one square and the other round. The long, winding drive up to the main buildings was designed for visitors to catch a glimpse of this impressive architecture.
The estate was later purchased in 1889 by Henry Augustus Taylor, a New York financier and one of Milford's most generous philanthropists. The property was then named Lauralton Hall for his daughter, Laura. Mr. Taylor extensively remodeled Lauralton Hall in a style more characteristic of the later Victorian period. He was civic-minded and a well- respected patron of architecture who donated the funds to construct the Milford Public Taylor Memorial Library building as well as the Mary Taylor Methodist-Episcopal Church in Milford.
In 1905 the Sisters of Mercy bought the Pond-Taylor estate for the very reasonable price of $35,000 establishing the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall. The purchase included the 1864 mansion (Lauralton Hall), the stables (Carriage House), ice house, greenhouses, and graperies (no longer grown), tennis courts and six late 19th century homes on High Street (at the northeast corner of the property) for employees of the Pond and Taylor families. The transaction also included a half-interest in Spring Close, the water supply for the estate. (The Sisters of Mercy acquired full title to the springs in 1927.) The only special provision in the 1905 sale was that the estate should always retain the name of Lauralton Hall.
To meet the growing needs of the school, two buildings in the Neo-Gothic/Tudor style were erected around that time. The unique carriage barn is one of the finest examples of the late Victorian period. Over the past few years, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded Lauralton Hall with two highly competitive grants to assist in renovating the barn. Plans are underway to fully restore the barn for use as a musical practice and performance space for students as well as an event venue.
In 2014 the property will turn one hundred fifty years old - a historic milestone for Lauralton Hall, the city of Milford, and the state of Connecticut. Now in its 105th academic year, the school has well over 6,000 alumnae.
About the School
Founded in 1905, the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall, is the oldest Catholic college preparatory high school for girls in Connecticut. More than 460 students attend from cities and towns throughout New Haven and Fairfield counties. Lauralton Hall's unique mission is to foster a community atmosphere enriched by the Mercy tradition and to educate young women to pursue knowledge, recognize truth and respond to the needs of others.
For more info, please visit us at www.lauraltonhall.org