Prospect Historical Society

Mission Statement

The Prospect Historical Society collects and preserves the artifacts of Prospect and related materials; and uses these collections for furnishing historic buildings, exhibitions, educational programs and related activities for the benefit of all. The Society encourages an appreciation of the history of Prospect and the preservation of the historic character of the town.


Treat, Ruth, and Mabel were the last of the Hotchkiss family to live in the house, and are well-remembered by long-time Prospect residents. After their deaths, the house was left to their nieces, Prospect residents Ruth and Nellie Cowdell. The Cowdell sisters sold the house and the surrounding property to the town of Prospect in 1980 and upon their deaths, the town received a bequest from the sisters for the upkeep of the house. The house was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.



Contact Us

Office Hours:


9am - 12pm






61 Waterbury Rd

Prospect, CT 06712


Prospect Historical Society

PO Box 7335

Prospect, CT 06712

About Us

The Hotchkiss House in Prospect Connecticut was owned by the Hotchkiss family for over 160 years, housing three generations of the family before becoming the headquarters of The Prospect Historical Society. The original structure of the farmhouse was built by Frederick Hotchkiss for his son, David Miles Hotchkiss, in 1819. During his lifetime, David Miles Hotchkiss, a town selectman and abolitionist, conducted lessons for a boarding school, The Select Academy, in one of the upstairs rooms of the house. David Miles's tenth child, David Bryant Hotchkiss, inherited the home from his father upon his death in 1878. Three of David Bryant's children, his son, Treat, and two of his daughters, Ruth and Mabel, never married and resided in the house for the entirety of their lives.

Prospect Historical Society President


President Carol Brooks is a lifelong resident of Prospect and truly her heart lies in preserving the history of one very terrific town!  She has volunteered her time as president for the past few years and was a contributing member before that since 2012.  Carol is very involved in many town activities and willingly gives her time to many great projects.

Carol is a member of the Friends of the Prospect Library. She has had various offices in the Prospect Grange #144 before Prospect Grange merged with Beacon Valley Grange. She holds an office in Beacon Valley Grange and is now Vice Regent and Corresponding Secretary of the Lady Fenwick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a member of several other historical societies and became most active upon her retirement from work.  She also is a member of the Prospect Senior Center.

Carol grew up on her family farm with her mom and dad and two brothers.  Her dad actually built the house she lives in since childhood.  This was known as the Rasmussen-Brooks property on Straitsville Road.  She attended Algonquin School, Community School, Wilby High School, and Naugatuck Valley Community College.

She had worked in several places as an assembly or Quality Control Inspector.  Her further education was related to her being qualified for these positions.  She had worked for forty-five years either in Lewis Engineering, Robert Shaw Lux Company, and Winchester Electronics.

Being raised on a farm gives her a great interest in animals.  She enjoys traveling. She is credited with helping or speaking about various historical programs for the society.  She has catalogued items in the Hotchkiss House and Barn, a museum of the Prospect Historical Society.  She spoke to all Prospect Elementary School third graders about the contents of the barn in the past years.   She is knowledgeable about the farm equipment used on the farm which sold eggs and crops.

As president, Carol hopes to preserve and share the history of Prospect.  Her wishes are that others will develop their sense of love for this town and continue to make it a wonderful place to live, work, and play together.  She will continue to record our heritage of Prospect and provide opportunities to enlighten the public about Prospect.


The Prospect Historical Society Board of Directors

President - Carol Brooks

Vice President -

Secretary - Blanche Ranaudo

Treasurer - Elizabeth Guevin

Board Members

Patricia Geary

Christopher Lynch

Patricia Ortale

Marilyn Zera

Judy Zhitomi


The Prospect Historical Society is happy to accept donations of items to add to our collections.  Please contact us to send your information about donations that you have.  We are happy to accept donations that are relevant to the history of Prospect and our past and current residents.  All donations become the property of the Historical Society and we reserve the right to display the donations as we see fit.


The Prospect Historical Society is happy to accept donations of items to add to our collections.  Please contact our office about donations that you have.  We are happy to accept donations that are relevant to the history of Prospect and our past and current residents.  All donations become the property of the Historical Society and we reserve the right to display the donations as we see fit.


Prospect Historical Society offers the Prospect Historical Society Scholarship to graduating high school seniors who are residents of the town of Prospect and who are advancing to college.  Please click the link below to access the application!  Fill out the application and send it to the address listed.  Good Luck to all the seniors!

Scholarship Winner: 

Katherine  Foley

The Prospect Historical Society Scholarship was awarded to Katherine Foley who graduated from Woodland High School. Katherine will pursue her studies in Biology at UCONN. Other awards she achieved were in National, World Language, Science and Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Societies at Woodland High School, NVL Indoor and Outdoor Track, Cross Country and Best Buddies Program. We congratulate Katherine and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!

The Prospect Historical Society Scholarship Committee included Patricia Geary, Patricia Rinckel, Patricia Ortale, John Guevin and Linda Weingart.

Research Section

The four booklets below were compiled by Nellie Cowdell in 1975 and were published in 1976 for the Bicentennial of the United States of America and the 150th anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of Prospect in 1977!



Soldiers Monument

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Prospect, is significant historically because it is a symbol of respect and honor paid by the community to its sons who served in the Civil War and other wars. The reason for the relatively late date of the monument is not known. Funds for its erection in the amount of $1,000 were provided by the General Assembly. At the dedication, former Representative Clark recalled that the state had been reluctant to provide the money, but found persuasive the fact that the 75 men Prospect sent to the Civil War were more than half the number (145) of its voters and one-sixth of its population. $1,000 was also raised within the community.

To read a full description of the Soldier's Monument, please click here to read the full text thanks to the Connecticut Historical Society

Interesting Links

Please check here for some interesting links to places that are relevant to the history of Prospect and the State of Connecticut.  Let us know if there are any links that you would like to add to our list and we will look at them and add them if we feel that they are relevant.  All linked pages will open in a new browser window.

  • Connecticut Barns - this web site shows the historical barns in Connecticut by town.  The link will bring you to the main page where you will click on the map on the right side of the page.  When the larger map pops up, click on  Prospect  and then you will  see the barns listed for Prospect.  You can also look at other towns in the state or you can add a barn of your own
  • Greater Naugatuck Valley History Consortium - this is a group of historians and historical societies that have come together from the municipalities surrounding Waterbury with the goal of supporting each other and sharing information and resources on the history of our region.