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Robert H. Brinton

May 16, 1938 - February 12, 2008

The Historical Society mourns the loss of Bob Brinton,  Founder and Director of the Bethany Historical Society 1993-2007, and Municipal Historian 1990-2008.  A memorial website may be viewed at: http://robertbrinton.legacy.com/lmw/Homepage.aspx
Memorial donations may be made to the Bethany Historical Society, 512 Amity Road, Bethany, CT 06524

Welcome to the Bethany Historical Society Homepage!


The Bethany Historical Society (BHS) was incorporated on August 2, 1993. Since then, we have been very busy! The society has received hundreds of individual donations of local history items over the last nine years. These donations range from a single document or photograph to a collection of thousands of Bethany materials.

The society has held over 25 talks about local history since 1993 on a wide range of topics, including Bethany’s roads, cemeteries, and dairy farms. These well-attended slide lectures were all videotaped and are available on VHS at the Bethany Library. Please see BHS talks for a complete list of available videos.

The headquarters for the society is the Stanley Downs Memorial Building (SDMB), located at 512 Amity Road. The SDMB, also known as the Old Town Hall, was built in 1914 and was the first Town Hall Bethany ever had. Except for a small addition constructed in 1952, the building was little changed when the town moved to larger quarters in 1977.

Shortly after the town vacated the building in 1977, it was renamed the Stanley Downs Memorial Building by vote of the annual town meeting. This was done to commemorate former First Selectman Stanley H. Downs (1906-1963). Mr. Downs served Bethany in numerous capacities, including as Health Officer, Registrar of Voters, Bethany’s Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly and ten years as First Selectman (1953-1963).

The neighboring Bethany Episcopal Church bought the property from the town in 1980. In 1994, the church gave the building and land to the newly formed Bethany Historical Society. Because it had been in disuse for many years, the SDMB needed extensive repairs and renovations.

After acquiring the building in 1994, the society conducted a successful fund raising drive to restore it. The project began in the fall of 1995 and was completed by the end of 1996. More recently, a series of fund-raisers were held to pay for carpeting several rooms in the lower level of the building and purchasing a computer.

Since 1993, the society has enrolled over 350 members. As a non-profit organization, the society relies solely on the generous support of its members. If you are interested in joining or renewing your membership, please print out and mail in a membership form.


The Stanley H. Downs Memorial Building – 1914





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