by Carolyn Wakeman Feature Image: Matilda Browne, Untitled [Yellow House with Yellow Roses], after 1918. Oil on wood. Private Collection The colonial-era house on Lyme Street where artist Matilda Browne (1869–1947) lived for four years during the aftermath of World War I has stories to tell. A captivating painting of her house and gardens in dappled […]
The dazzling displays of Old Lyme’s gardens have captured the eye of painters and photographers for more than a century. Beside village lanes and riverbanks, in formal designs and in cultivated wildness, blossoming gardens brought swaths of color to hotel grounds, country estates, and artists’ dooryards. Postcard views of the flowerbeds, hedgerows, rock walls, and fruit trees at Boxwood Manor became almost a signature image of the town’s scenic beauty in the 1930s.
The gardens that surrounded Old Lyme’s Meetinghouse for more than a century trace the changing needs, tastes, and financial circumstances of a prominent local family. A series of images taken in 1925 by photographer Edna Leighton Tyler (1879–1970) captures the sweeping lawns and luxuriant flowerbeds on Katharine Ludington’s estate. But the land behind her elegant Colonial Revival home had once served more practical uses.
The identity of the “firebugs” responsible for burning the Old Lyme Meetinghouse remained a mystery throughout the summer of 1907. Then an attempt to ignite the village schoolhouse in November brought two suspected arsonists to trial.
Election day in 1900 fell on Tuesday, November 6, and Old Lyme’s eligible voters cast their ballots at the town hall starting “at 9 o’clock in the forenoon.” Above the polling place a Republican campaign banner declared: “Our Candidates McKinley & Roosevelt.”