Harrybrooke Park & Harden House Museum

The Harden's estate:

Frank and Elizabeth Harden called this place "home" from 1941-1965.  
We call it a little slice of heaven. 
Frank and Elizabeth Harden lived their week in New York City. Frank was an industrialist and a truly iconic mogul of his time. He owned the Acheson Harden Company who made fine Irish linens and most notably, handkerchiefs. He met Elizabeth who became his secretary and then the love of his life.  She was 29 years younger than Frank. They were married here on their private estate on June 15, 1943. 

It was in NYC that Frank would run his business which operated the world's largest handkerchief factory in Passaic, NJ. A family business that Frank first learned about at his grandfather's factory in Belfast, Ireland when he was a boy. Frank lost his mother when he was just one year of age after complications in the birth of his brother. His father, James Harden, shipped the two young boys off to Northern Ireland to grow up with their grandparents in the town of Armaugh on an estate known as "Harrybrooke" in Clare County. 

Growing up, Frank was pushed to learn the "old Irish work ethic" and started by sweeping floors in the factory. He was quoted to say, "You don't need a college education. Have a strong work ethic and some common sense and you'll do just fine in this world." This certainly held true for Mr. Harden. When he had the means to build an estate away from the big city, Frank searched all over New England and upstate New York until he found this spot. Mr. Harden chose to build along the banks of the Still River because he said that the view from the back patio reminded him of where he grew up in Northeastern Ireland.  The house was built by H&H Taylor and Sons here in New Milford.  

While the Hardens never really hosted large extravagant parties, many friends and family would visit for a weekend with them. Some from the city and some from around the world. The only notable celebrity couple that we are told of (and this is unconfirmed but worth sharing) was a visit from Roxbury resident, and playwright Arthur Miller and his lovely wife, Marilyn Monroe. We can imagine the "power couple" stopping by for a dip in the Hardens' beautiful pool. While unconfirmed (we have no photos, only stories shared) our romantic minds wander that Elizabeth and Marilyn would share a drink by the pool and chat about ... well ... what people talk about in the late 1950's.

The house is open for tours which come with these stories of the Hardens as passed down from generations. Frank and Elizabeth had no children of their own and decided to leave the park to the people of the town of New Milford and to be run by a board of managers. This great gift is arguably the greatest gift ever given to the people of this town. The park receives no town, state or federal funding. The home of Frank and Elizabeth Harden remains open to the public due to kind donations, events to raise dollars and over 10,000 hours of volunteer work each year.


100 Still River Dr.
New Milford, CT 06776
United States

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