The Story of the Kellogg Estate
Adjacent to the rolling hills and open meadows of Osbornedale State Park, the museum encompasses the house and grounds of the former Frances Osborne Kellogg Estate. Originally constructed in the mid 1800's, the house was enlarged and completely remodeled in the Colonial Revival style during the 1920's. Accepted for the National Register of Historic Places, its restored interior now displays the original contents of the estate which constitutes a significant collection of antiques and fine arts.The Museum's grounds are landscaped with formal flower gardens, ornamental shrubs, and flowering trees providing visitors with an endless pageant of color from spring through autumn.
After serving for four years with the Connecticut Artillery during the Civil War, Major Wilbur Fisk Osborne married Ellen Lucy Davis of Oxford and moved into this house in 1867. A native of Derby, Wilbur was the son of John White Osborne, the co-founder of the Osborne & Cheesman Manufacturing Company, a pioneering brass industry in the NaugatuckValley during the Industrial Revolution.
Reorganized as the Schneller, Osborne, and Cheesman Company in 1882, it dominated the eyelet manufacturing business in both this country and Europe throughout the turn of the century. He also served as president of the Schneller Stay Works of Ansonia, Connecticut Clasp Company of Bridgeport, and the Union Fabric Company, and was an incorporator of the Derby Silver Company. Active in many civic projects, Wilbur founded the Derby Neck Library and later persuaded Andrew Carnegie to assist in funding the construction of the edifice which houses it to this day.
Frances Eliza Osborne was the last of four children born to the Major and Mrs. Wilbur Fisk Osborne, and the only one to survive childhood. She was born in the house at 500 Hawthorne Avenue in 1876, and lived there until her death in 1956. At age 16, she lost the vision in one eye due to an accident, and, as a result, never completed her public school education. At age 31, Frances decided to assume her father's business responsibilities after his death in 1907. In an era when women were denied leadership opportunities in the business world, she succeeded through pure determination and an excellent business sense. Her successes included becoming president of Union Fabric Company, vice president of Connecticut Clasp, treasurer of the F. Kelly Company, as well as a founding partner of Steels and Busks, Ltd. of Leicester, England.
I n 1919, at age 43, Frances married Waldo S t e w a r t Kellogg, a NewYork architect who had been trained at Cornell University and Paris. Waldo joined his bride in Derby, continued his work, the most prominent local example being the Allingtown Veterans Hospital in West Haven. His talents as a revivalist architect are easily discerned in the remodeling and fine detailing work done in the house during the period of their marriage.
Waldo soon exhibited an interest in the family dairy. He took charge of the operation of Osbornedale Dairy, and, with the acquisition of a prize English bull, began to improve the herd through selective breeding.
Following the death in 1928, Frances Osborne Kellogg remained dedicated to her business and civic responsibilities. Among her favorite community activities was the Women's Club of which she was president for 20 years. During this time, she brought personages, such as female author Cornelia Otis Skinner, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Lotte Lehmann, Marjorie Lawrence, Amelia Earhart, and others to speak or perform before the membership. She also served in many other capacities including as the treasurer of the District Nurse Assn., director of the American Holstein - Friesian Assn., the CT Forest and Park Assn., and the CT Jersey Cattle Club. She also served on the Derby Board of Zoning Appeals, was the first woman to serve on the Derby Board of Education, and was the first woman bank director (Birmingham National Bank) in CT. Most of these responsibilities she continued to fulfill until a few weeks before her death at the age of 80! Throughout her life, she accepted adversity as a challenge... "Al1 my life has been a series of hurdles. I no sooner get over one than there is another ahead...with the bars set a little higher."