Campus History

A Single Property ยท A Wealth Of Vocations

The Keeler Tavern Museum’s storied history begins with Benjamin Hoyt, who built the home in 1713 and raised his family there until mid century. His grandson, Timothy Keeler, purchased the property and in 1772 established the building as T. Keeler’s Inn.

Just five years later, T. Keeler’s Inn would be in the midst of battle. On April 27, 1777, during the Battle of Ridgefield of the Revolutionary War, the Tavern was fired on by British troops proceeding south on Main Street. The Tavern may have been targeted because it was a site of community gathering and communication, or potentially due to owner Timothy Keeler’s known Patriot allegiances. One British cannonball was imbedded in a corner post, where it remains today.

The Inn changed hands again in 1815 when William Keeler inherited it from his father Timothy in 1815. William and his sister Anna renamed the establishment to W. Keeler’s Hotel. William succeeded his father as Postmaster of Ridgefield and the post office was run out of the Hotel. Upon William’s death, Anna maintained residence and the hotel, changing the name once again to the Resseguie Hotel after her marriage to Abijah Resseguie in 1829. The post office remained and was run by Anna’s cousin, Thaddeus Keeler.

Anna Resseguie died in 1862, leaving the business of the hotel in the hands of her husband. When Abijah died, their daughter Anna Marie became the owner. She and Phillis Dubois, a Black woman who Abijah had “taken in” as a young child and who lived and worked on the property until her death in 1905, remained stewards over the property until 1907, when Cass Gilbert purchased the hotel and restored it as a private home.

Gilbert, a famed architect out of New York, made extensive improvements to the Tavern, adding the Garden House he designed for his wife Julia and the Barn.

In 1957, the Gilberts’ daughter Emily sold her parents’ home. Ridgefield residents, concerned about the future of the historic property, formed the Keeler Tavern Preservation Society, Inc., raised funds, and in 1965 purchased the property, opening it to the public in 1966 as the Keeler Tavern Museum.