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Fort House Transformation

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

If you are a member of the Wing Family of America, you know the Fort House from a visit, a family reunion, or from the pictures on our website. It’s a large, sprawling wood sided home. The house had been painted white in the 19th century and remained so until this year. Research showed its original color was Colonial Red. This autumn the transformation of the Fort House began with painting the exterior to reflect what it looked like when first painted in the 18th century.

Painting the exterior of the Fort House is just the beginning. The WFA Museum Committee, made up of Richard Wing (chair) Elizabeth Fulford, Bill Imes, Jeff Miller, Sharon Ahearn, Christina Shipps, Doug Cutchin and Cyndy Doherty, have been meeting weekly for months. They are overseeing the reorganization of the Fort House as well as updating the History Center and planning new exhibits and ways to provide outreach to the community.

This autumn, Christina Shipps, Museum Committee member and WFA Curator, drove down from Maine in her motor home, parked it in front of the History Center and lived in it for nine weeks! Those nine weeks were spent cleaning, scrubbing, replastering, painting, and reorganizing the entire interior of the Fort House.

Her vision, as well as that of the Museum Committee, was to tell the story of the Fort House Wings through the rooms and contents of this historic home. Each room now represents a different time period with its furniture and other accessories true to the style of the era and its occupants.

Although every room has been altered, two of the most significant are the old Fort Room on the first floor and the second-floor Victorian sitting room. Christina emptied the contents of the Fort Room. The mantle and shutters, which had been added much later, were removed. The “courting bed” was lowered from its upright cupboard position, a period dining table and chairs added in front of the hearth and period art and documents were hung on the walls.

Upstairs, the entire contents of the Victorian sitting room were removed to another location. The room was repaired and repainted in its original colors and returned to its original use as a bedchamber with period furnishings.

The Fort House is our ancestral home and a symbol of the roots of our family tree. Built in 1641 as a one room thatched roof dwelling, it was bought in 1646 by Stephen Wing, one of three sons of John and Deborah Wing.

Stephen's son Ebenezer greatly enlarged the original structure. The saltbox style house he built created the footprint we see today. Ebenezer’s son Joshua altered the saltbox and gave us the present two-story Fort House. A total of eight Wings, all direct descendants of Stephen, called the Fort House their home.

In 1942 Cora Wing sold the House to the Wing Family of America so that this historic building would remain “in the family” and be treated with the respect and dignity it deserves. We believe she would approve of the changes that we have made to the Wing Family’s ancestral home.

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