Top 10 Wadsworth Mansion Questions Answered
While weekends at the Mansion are filled with celebrations, events, and parties — especially during wedding season — the weekdays are equally as busy, if a little quieter. During any given span of seven days you can find us fielding phone calls, corresponding via email, giving private wedding tours, meeting with future brides & grooms, and hosting public historic tours. As you might imagine, all those interactions inevitably beget questions (not that we mind — it very obviously comes with the spectacular territory).
So, as a duty to the internet masses, we’re sharing! Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top 10 most frequently asked Wadsworth Mansion questions:
- When was it built?
Starting in 1900, the grounds were planted and landscaped to transform them from pastures into the woodlands that are seen today, but the foundation stone for the Mansion wasn’t laid until 1908. Building continued until 1911.
- Who lived here?
Col. Clarence Wadsworth and his family built this house to use as a residence in the spring and fall seasons (they divided their time among 5 other houses scattered across North America). The Colonel died in 1941, and after 6 years of maintaining it, the family sold the Estate to the Roman Catholic nuns of Our Lady of the Cenacle. After 40 years of using it as a retreat center (and adding to the house and subdividing the land), a developer purchased the house and remaining grounds from the nuns in 1986. It changed hands among developers a time or two before bankruptcy left it under the ownership of a bank. The bank failed to adequately secure the premises, so by the late 1980s vagrants, vandals, and homeless people took advantage and “moved in.” Around 1994, the then-dwellers of the Mansion scattered away as the City of Middletown began the process of refurbishing the house and land.
Currently, although sometimes we Mansion Ladies are here so often and keep such hours that we feel like we live here, we do not; the Mansion has been a business property for 16 years now.
- Can I come in?
In a word, maybe.
The Mansion is open for regular business hours from 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Thursday during wedding season (Fridays, too, if there is no event). We especially welcome the public to visit us on Wednesdays from 2pm-4pm when we have free, historic docent tours.
The grounds are parklands and open to the public from sun up to sun down on weekdays, and any weekend days that have no event.
Private events — like weddings — mean that the Mansion and grounds are closed to the public. The trails (hidden in the woods) remain open during these events. We put out signs to denote when we’re having a private event, so you don’t have to dust off the old mind-reading skills!
If you’re ever in doubt, feel free to call or email to ask.
- Do you have accommodations?
Sadly, no. (I’d be first in line for one of the rooms if we did…) What were once the family rooms upstairs are now offices and look nothing like they would’ve back in the family or nun (or vandal) years. Nearby hotels can provide comfy beds and amenities for anyone traveling here from far away.
- What’s your availability for weddings?
Although this is a specific inquiry that changes almost every day, here’s the general answer.
Saturdays during wedding season — May through November — are the first dates that book in a given year. We only host one event per day, so the more flexible you can be with your date (Fridays, Sundays, other months, off-season), the better your options will be. That being said, our availability changes daily or even hourly, so it’s best to just call or email.
- Who owns the Mansion?
Although we Mansion Ladies are the key holders, none of us are the owners of the Mansion. The City of Middletown purchased the Estate in 1994, however an organization called the Long Hill Estate Authority was created to be the governing body of the house and grounds.
- How much land is here?
Today the grounds cover a healthy 103 acres; by contrast, the original reach of the Estate was 600 acres.
- Do you allow tents?
We do, and there are several tent companies with tents of various shapes, sizes, bells, & whistles. Most of the time hosts choose to tent the terrace, which is a quick enough set up and break down to be done for a single event. Tents on the vista (our large expanse of grass behind the Mansion) are a larger undertaking, many of which take a full day to put up and a full day to take down which would require a 3 day rental of the Mansion. There is one company with a large tent that can be erected and dismantled in the time frame of several hours, the hiring of which would enable the host to only rent the Mansion for one day. As always, we are very happy to discuss how all of this works in fuller detail if you’re interested.
- Can my dog be in my wedding?
Yes! We love dogs, and as long as your furry friend is house broken and well-behaved then we are happy to welcome him or her to the Mansion to be a part of your big day.
- Do you only do weddings?
Although weddings take up the majority of our schedule for most of the year, we are thrilled to host a variety of different events — from corporate daytime functions to evening gala soirees, epic sweet 16 parties to cocktail style holiday gatherings. If you think the Wadsworth Mansion might be a good fit for your event, please don’t hesitate to inquire.
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional. When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.