Please call the office to check on the Mansion schedule before coming over to take a self-guided tour, as scheduled Mansion events may be happening.
For a Mansion tour concerning rentals, please call the Park Office at (203)744-3130 to arrange for an appointment, or email us at email@example.com.
Welcome to the historic Tarrywile Mansion. Take a step back in time as you tour this lovely house, with its hip-on-gable roof with multiple dormers, large tapering chimney stacks, semi-circular veranda with Doric columns and porte-cochere. Completed in 1897, the 23-room Tarrywile Mansion is a fine example of Victorian-era American home architecture and was accepted and entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Dr. William C. Wile, Danbury’s first medical examiner and a principal benefactor of Danbury Hospital built the Mansion. In 1910, Dr. Wile sold the Mansion to Charles Darling Parks. Mr. Parks was President of the American Hatters and Furriers Company Inc., the nation’s leading supplier of furs and hatting, and one of Danbury’s great entrepreneurial successes.
In 1985, the City of Danbury purchased 535 acres of land from the Parks Family, which included Tarrywile Mansion. Today, Tarrywile Mansion is Danbury’s finest community center and can be rented for public or private events. This self-guided tour will provide you with the history of the Mansion’s rooms.
The business office of the Tarrywile Park & Mansion was once used as the bedroom for Jean Parks Davis, Mr. & Mrs. Parks’ youngest daughter. In later years, it was renovated into an efficiency apartment. The bathroom in this room is unique in that it has a stand-up shower that has thirteen showerheads, which surround the shower enclosure.
One of three 2nd floor porches, this porch was once a sitting area for the bedroom. Today it is used as the Business Manager’s office.
On your way down the hall on your left as you leave the office, there are large cabinets in which linens and other household items were once stored. More of these large storage cabinets also appear on the third floor. On the right-hand side of the hall is the stairway to the third floor. The third floor housed the servants’ three bedrooms, a bathroom and the family’s billiards room, which was a family favorite. Due to fire regulations, the third floor is not open for touring.
The Lounge was Dr. Wile’s and later Mr. Parks’s bedroom. A private bathroom adjoins this room and, like the other five bathrooms in the Mansion, each retains its original medicine cabinets, heavily mirrored doors, porcelain fixtures, nickel fittings and trim, as well as the original sink and tub. Today the Lounge is used in conjunction with the conference room to host small business meetings. This room has a "history wall" consisting of several photographs of both the Wiles and the Parks along with several other historical photographs showing the different buildings on the property at various times in its history.
Another of the 2nd floor porches, the Lily Pond Porch is so named, because of the lily pond motif that was painted on its floor during the 1987 Designer Show House. The Tarrywile Park Authority logo, found on our brochure and advertisements, is taken from the window area of the porch. This porch could be entered from both the husband’s bedroom (the Lounge) and the wife’s bedroom (the Conference Room).
The Conference Room was the location of both Mrs. Wile’s and later Mrs. Parks’s bedroom. It was very common in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in wealthier families for the husband and wife to have separate bedrooms. This room is connected to the Groom’s Room by not only a bathroom, but also by the Groom’s Room Porch. Today this room is used as a conference room for small events of 20 people or less. Pocket sliding doors are found between this room and the Lounge area.
The Groom’s Room was originally the family guestroom, where friends and relatives slept when they came to visit. Overnight guests would share both the porch area and the bathroom with Mrs. Wile, and in later years, with the second owner’s wife, Mrs. Parks. The room is now used by grooms and their groomsmen to prepare for the wedding ceremony and/or reception.
The last of the three second floor porches, the Groom’s Room Porch offered both the overnight guests and Mrs. Parks a quiet place to relax. At certain times of the year, much of the greater Danbury area can be seen from this porch. If you look outside the window a magnificent view of a very old and large copper beech tree can be seen.
This room was once the bedroom of Irene Parks Jennings, the second owner’s oldest daughter. Three of her wedding pictures hang on the wall of the room. The top picture is of Irene on her wedding day. The middle picture is of the wedding party, including her parents, and the bottom picture is of Saint James Episcopal Church, which was and is still located on West Street in Danbury, where the ceremony was held. The room is now known as the “Bride’s Room.” The bride has use of this room to prepare along with her bridesmaids for the wedding ceremony and/or reception.
The main hall was the receiving area for all guests. The family always entered the house through the front door. The other doors in the house were used only by the servants. At one time, there was a large fireplace near the bottom of the stairs. Now a large painting covers it. Purchased at auction by Mr. Parks, the painting is thought to have been trimmed to fit the space. The painting depicts the story of Jesus as written in John, Chapter 2, Verses 14 & 15. The main hall is currently used for dancing during events.
All the family’s meals were served and eaten here. The entire family would dress up for supper. The Dining Room is accented by a beautiful tray ceiling, the design work over the mantle and the beautiful cabinets surrounding the fireplace. All pieces displayed in the cabinets are donated items or are on loan from private collections.
The original kitchen only extended as far as the beam in the ceiling. There was an icehouse located on the bank directly behind the Kitchen. In the early 1920s, the Kitchen was enlarged and a laundry area was incorporated into the Mansion. The icehouse was moved to its present location behind the greenhouse. The wall tiles, windows and glass cabinets are original to the house. In 1987, the Kitchen was remodeled and modern restaurant quality equipment was installed to allow caterers to prepare food for Mansion events. The Pantry area was much larger before the installation of the handicapped bathroom. All items in the cabinets are donations or are on loan from private collections.
After dinner, the ladies would often adjourn to the “with” Drawing Room for tea and discussions. This room was also used for card parties such as canasta and bridge and for tea parties. Today cocktail parties are held in this area.
This room is not originally part of the Mansion. Mr. Parks added the Conservatory onto the Mansion in 1918-1919. It was used for family gatherings and to display the different flowers that were grown on the property and in the greenhouse. The room is now used for wedding ceremonies. The windows are unique because they open together through a system of cranks and slotted cogs called “worm gears”. Another unique point is the drainage hoses leading from the ceiling. They are located in the corners of the room closest to the Drawing Room. Outside drip edging collects rain water off the roof which drains into the hoses, down into the basement and into a pipe which leads to the lawn on the other side of the house, just beyond the veranda, where it finally empties out.
Both Dr. Wile and Mr. Parks used this room as a library. Mr. Parks also used this room for his personal office. The books are not original to the house. Originally, this room had doors in both entryways so that Mr. Parks could close off the room if he desired privacy.
This room was also known as the “Red Room”, named for the colorful red décor in the room. It was also the site of many family gatherings and was the room in which the Parks family Christmas tree was displayed. After dinner, the gentlemen would gather in this room for gentlemanly discussions and an occasional brandy and cigar. Today, this area is often used for guest seating during events.
The site of many parties, both past and present, the Veranda, with its Doric columns, porte-cochere, and deeply covered porch makes an impressive entry area for the Mansion visitors. Many newly married couples start their wedding reception with a cocktail hour on the Veranda. You can easily close your eyes and picture the past residents of the house enjoying the breeze on the Veranda during the warm weather months.