With the festivities surrounding the 375th anniversary of the founding of Greenwich coming to a crescendo with the parade on Sept. 27, the search was on to find a historic object from the Bruce Museum collection that would speak to our local roots.
Researching the digital archives, I discovered a photograph of a salt-glazed stoneware flask prominently dated 1789. It seemed like the perfect candidate, but I was surprised to discover the piece is not hidden away in museum storage. The small bottle is displayed in plain sight in the museum’s permanent gallery highlighting the region’s colonial and agricultural history and, fortuitously, is available for all to see.
Before the Revolutionary War, most fine ceramic items were imported due to British trade restrictions, and colonial potters only were permitted to make the more utilitarian pieces for the kitchen and pantry that were not economical to ship from Europe.
One of the first stoneware potters in Connecticut, the Dutchman Adam Staats, took on a teenaged Abraham Mead as apprentice at his kiln located just south of the Davis gristmill near the headwaters of Indian Harbor in what is now Bruce Park.