1842 July 4, Alfred Pope born
1844 August 31, Ada Brooks born
1861 April 12, Civil War begins
1865 April 15, President Abraham Lincoln assassinated
1866 May 3, Ada Brooks and Alfred Pope marry in Salem, OH
1867 Feb 2, Effie Brooks Pope born. Effie adopts her paternal grandmother’s name in 1886 and thereafter she is known as Theodate
1877 Thomas Edison invents the phonograph
1879 Alfred Pope appointed President of Cleveland Malleable Iron Company
1880 Alfred Pope’s first trip to Europe on business, visits the Louvre and sees Old Masters
1885 Alfred and Ada Pope move into a new home on Cleveland’s most fashionable street, Euclid Avenue
1886 October, Theodate enters Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT
1886 Theodate writes in her diary of her favorite “air castles,” living on a farm, taking in orphan children, and building a school—all of which she will eventually do
1888 April, Alfred Pope writes of visiting a private collection of porcelains and pictures—“never saw the like, was most drunk with it.”
1888 October 28, Alfred, Ada, and Theodate arrive in Paris and begin 10 month long European tour. In November, Alfred views an Impressionist painting for the first time.
1889 Alfred buys his first impressionist paintings: Monet’s Grainstacks, White Frost Effect and View of Cap d’Antibes in Paris
1890 Following her coming out party, Theodate returns to Farmington and moves into “The O’Rourkery,” on High Street
1891 Alfred buys second Monet painting Grainstacks in Bright Sunlight in Paris
1892 Alfred buys Degas’ Jockeys in NYC
1893 Alfred buys Degas’ Dancers in Pink in NYC
1894 Alfred in Europe, purchases Cassatt’s Gathering Fruit, Manet’s The Guitar Player, Monet’s Fishing Boats at Sea, Puvis de Chavannes’ Peace, Whistler’s Symphony in Violet and Blue and The Blue Wave.
1894 August: Alfred lunches with Monet at Giverny
1894 Sept: Alfred is “having fine times with Whistler” in Paris
1898 Alfred Pope purchases 250 acres in Farmington, CT; instructs Theodate to contact architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to help develop her plans for the house and grounds
1898 April 26, Alfred Pope meets Mary Cassatt in NYC
1899-1901 Hill-Stead is constructed
1901 June 16, the Popes spend their First night at Hill-Stead
1901 September 14, President William McKinley is shot, Theodore Roosevelt becomes President
1901 President Theodore Roosevelt visits Farmington at the home of his sister, Anna Roosevelt Cowles.
1903 December 17: Wilbur and Orville Wright fly their airplane at Kitty Hawk, SC
1904 February 15: Theodate and friend Mary Hillard have first “sitting” with medium Leonora Piper in Boston. This marks the beginning of documentation of Theodate’s interest in psychical research.
1905 Alfred and Ada invited to evening reception at The White House.
1905 The Popes purchase their first automobile, a White Steamer. The 1904 model sold for $2,500.
1905 August: Theodate is introduced to John Wallace Riddle
1907 August 7: Theodate hosts a “field day” at Hill-Stead for 300 people from the Dairymen’s Association and Pomological Society, while her parents are traveling abroad.
1907 Alfred buys Degas’ The Tub in Paris
1908 Henry Ford introduces the first Model T, in 1909 the standard 4-seat open touring car cost $850
1908 Fire destroys stable, laundry and butler’s room at Hill-Stead. The Popes rebuild immediately.
1908 December: Mary Cassatt visits Hill-Stead
It was a notable gathering and all interested in things psychic and supernormal. After dinner we gathered about the open fire for coffee and cigars. My host sat beside me, and had a cigar, the longest I had ever seen; it seemed long enough to last until morning. Knowing what might happen if Miss Cassatt was once lured into the conversation, I quietly resolved that I would recommend breaking up when that cigar showed signs of waning. Well it was not long before the subject of spiritualism was broached, the ball began to roll, and shortly we were all listening to Miss Cassatt, who was soon holding her audience, including me, who forgot the watchtower, until l looked at my host to find he was shaking the ashes from the very end of his cigar and about to put it out. “Oh,” I gasped, “Have you finished your cigar already? “This is my second one,” he said quietly. What time can it be I thought and almost as I said it the old timepiece on the stairway tolled two.
–Louisine Havemeyer, mutual friend of the Popes and Mary Cassatt, from Weitzenhofffer, The Havemyers: Impressionism Comes to America
1908-1909 Theodate builds Westover School in Middlebury, CT
1911 May 20: Henry James visits Hill-Stead
1911 June 11: Theodore Roosevelt visits Hill-Stead
1913 February: Grand Central Terminal opens in New York City
1913 August 5: Alfred Pope dies at Hill-Stead
1913 August 13: Remains of a mastodon, the “most complete skeleton ever found east of the Hudson River” discovered on Hill-Stead property.
1914 April: Theodate becomes a foster parent to 2-year-old Gordon Brockway
1915 March 3: Theodate attends a hearing about the Suffrage Bill at the CT State Capitol
1915 May 7: Theodate survives the sinking of the RMS Lusitania
1916 May 6: Theodate and John Wallace Riddle marry; honeymoon is an auto trip through New England
1916 Theodate becomes a certified architect in NY
1916 December 21: Gordon Brockway dies at age 4 from polio
1917 Theodate designs and builds the Makeshift Theater. She shows films on a silver screen and sponsors community meetings and parties.
1917 May: Theodate becomes a member of the American Institute of Architects
1917-18 Theodate takes in two more foster sons, Paul Martin (age 10) and Donald Carson (age 11)
1919 April-September: Theodate and John Riddle travel through China, Japan, and Korea
1920 June: Theodate, John, and foster children Donald Carson and Paul Martin go on a “Grand Tour” of Europe
1920 May 6, Ada Pope dies in Pasadena, CA
1920 November 2, first US licensed commercial radio broadcast
1921 John Riddle is appointed Ambassador to Argentina
1922 November, discovery of King Tut’s tomb
1927 Avon Old Farms School opens
1928 Amelia Earhart flies across the Atlantic, becoming the first woman to do so.
1929 October 29: the U.S. Stock Market Crashes
1933 November: Theodate becomes the 6th female licensed architect in CT. This is the first year that CT licenses architects.
1935 Winter-Summer: Theodate and John tour through Europe and Egypt, where they visit the pyramids
1941 Dec 8: John Wallace Riddle dies of a stroke at Hill-Stead
1943 Earnest Bohlen, beloved butler to the Pope family, dies
1945 June 8: Theodate leases use of Avon Old Farms School to the U.S. Army for a convalescent hospital for soldiers blinded during WWII
1946 Theodate Pope Riddle dies at Hill-Stead. Her Last Will and Testament establishes Hill-Stead as a museum.
1947 April 17: Hill-Stead Museum opens to the public
1991 Hill-Stead Museum is designated a National Historic Landmark.