Liven your day with a trip to Linden Place

Picture walking through the same mansion that James Monroe, Chester Arthur, Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant were guests at. Next, imagine Robert Redford and Mia Farrow filming part of “The Great Gatsby” right outside that same mansion. It’s hard to believe that this building is only a matter of minutes from RWU. Its name: Linden Place.

George DeWolf built Linden Place in 1810 and the mansion remained in the family for 177 years. When DeWolf came across financial trouble in 1825, he left Linden Place with his family in the middle of the night to escape creditors and angry townspeople. His daughter, Theodora DeWolf Colt, returned home to reclaim the property once she married into the wealthy Colt family. 

In 1988, a nonprofit group called Friends of Linden Place purchased the mansion for $2 million and turned it into a museum to celebrate Bristol’s rich history. 

Some of the more noteworthy features inside the house include the chandelier hanging over the dining room table. This light fixture originally hung in Buckingham Palace. The spiral staircase, located in the Second Hall, is one of the few unsupported four story spiral staircases in America. Ethel Barrymore, a famous actress who was considered the First Lady of the American Theatre, married Russel Colt and summered at Linden Place until 1977. 

In 1901, Samuel Colt purchased the property next to Linden Place and built the marble school in memory of his mother, Theodora DeWolf Colt. Today it is known as Colt Andrews School.

The iron fence outside the house also has an interesting story. The fence originally belonged to the Jerathmael Bowers House in Somerset, Massachusetts. However, after meeting financial hardship, George DeWolf bought the fence from Bowers and put it in front of his newly built home. 

In 1973, the producers of “The Great Gatsby” used Linden Place to represent Daisy’s childhood home. Museum trustees said that between takes Robert Redford would play pool in what is now the museum gift shop. 

Linden Place visitors can either take self guided or guided tours. On self guided tours, visitors are handed a nine-page booklet. Each page explains the history of a different room. The downstairs portion of the tour consists of the North Parlors, Second Hall, Dining Room and Conservatory. Upstairs visitors can see Colonel Colt’s bedroom, the Barrymore room, Mrs. Samuel P. Colt’s bedroom and the Center Hall. 

In order to navigate the inside of Linden Place, visitors must refer to their tour booklet. On each new page is an image of the next room to proceed to. Adult admission is $12 but AAA members can receive a $2 discount, so bring your membership card on your trip. 

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m. Parking is available on Hope St. and behind the Rogers Free Library in the back parking lot.