Town seeks historic recognition for Matthies House

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The Matthies House in Matthies Park in Beacon Falls belonged to Bernard H. Matthies, who was a prominent business owner in town. Town Historian Steven Ruhl has submitted an application to have the house placed on the State Register of Historic Places. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Matthies Park offers residents a chance to hike, boat, escape civilization, and view an old house on a lake.

That house, which belonged to Bernard H. Matthies, who was a prominent business owner in Beacon Falls, may soon be placed on the State Register of Historic Places.

The town has submitted the Matthies House to the register in hopes that it will be recognized and preserved.

“It’s a beautiful house and a beautiful property,” Town Historian Steven Ruhl said. “We want to make sure we can maintain it. We want to make sure the state recognizes the structure.”

Beacon Falls Historical Society President Barbara Krenesky felt the house and property is an important part of the town.

“The first time I ever walked in there I was in awe,” Krenesky said. “We’re losing too much land like that. We need to preserve and appreciate things like that park.”

Ruhl explained that the property and house was originally Matthies’ summer home and as Matthies opened businesses in the town he began using the house and property throughout the year.

“It was built by the Matthies as his summer house, or a place he could go to get away,” Ruhl said. “Then it became more of a permanent place when he became involved in how the town was run.”

When Matthies passed away the town of Beacon Falls came into possession of the house and land, Ruhl explained. Part of Matthies’ land became the site where Woodland Regional High School now sits. The rest became Matthies Park.

According to Krenesky, when the parks department and recreation department combined, it took over control of the Matthies property.

According to the state’s Office of Culture and Tourism, to submit a house for consideration by the Historic Preservation Council the town must submit an application with maps showing nearest major cross streets and photos of the house.

Once the application is received, it will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Office’s staff and either sent back with a request for more information or be presented at an HPC meeting. The town will be notified either way.

At the HPC meeting the members will vote to either accept or reject placing the building on the State Register of Historic Places.

Ruhl explained that it would only be the house that is accepted onto the register, though he hopes to have the property accepted at some point in the future.

The house, which has fallen into disrepair, would have to be accepted by the HPC as is, Ruhl explained.

“At least we would have it recognized. It’s up to the town to find the money to restore it,” Ruhl said.

Krenesky feels that recognition by the HPC would be a step in the right direction, and also thinks that the house should be restored.

“It should be given the proper attention that it needs. It will take years to do justice to it,” Krenesky said. “Hopefully somehow they will be able to use the house.”