Whatever your reason for planning a trip to the largest town on New England’s Gold Coast, there’s no denying the area’s rich history and Old-World charm.
There are countless monuments, museums, and Colonial remnants to explore here in Greenwich, but the Bush-Holley House is one of the region’s most beloved historic sites!
Here’s everything you need to know about this special spot before visiting.
Before packing your bags for the most charming and storied town in New England, be sure to create an itinerary. As local experts who reside in the area, we want to help you plan a fulfilling and unforgettable getaway! That’s why we put together our free Greenwich Visitor’s Guide. This valuable resource lists the locals’ favorite restaurants, places to shop, and historic spots like the Bush-Holley House. It has helped so many travelers enjoy a stress-free vacation planning process, so get your copy today!
Everything You Need to Know About the Bush-Holley House
What Is the Bush-Holley House?
Built in 1730, the Bush-Holley House is a fascinating historic museum located in the famous Cos Cob section of Greenwich, Connecticut. The house was passed down through many generations of the Bush and Holley families and served as a gathering place for artists, writers, editors, and students for nearly a century. Less than two miles from the Stanton House Inn, the building is now a National Historic Landmark and offers guided tours throughout the year.
Who Lived in the Bush-Holley House?
In 1738, a Dutch farmer named Justus Bush purchased the house but didn’t live in it. He passed the house on to his son, David, in 1755. David Bush made significant changes like joining the two buildings to create an entrance hall and adding floor-to-ceiling wood paneling to the parlor. Bush, his wife, and their 16 children lived in the house before his death in 1797.
The house was passed out of the Bush family in 1848 and purchased by Josephine and Edward Holley. The Holleys added new windows and a second-story porch. They also began operating it as a place for lodging visiting artists and writers. Afterward, the site quickly became known as the heart of the Cos Cob Art Colony, which consisted of nearly 150 visual artists, writers, and performers.
In 1899, an artist named Elmer MacRae fell in love with Emma Holley, the daughter of Josephine and Edward, and moved into the house. Elmer and Emma ended up running the boarding house for two decades and used part of the home as a studio for MacRae’s paintings.
The Bush-Holley House as Historic Site
The Greenwich Historical Society purchased the house from the Holley-MacRae family in 1957 and opened it as a museum one year later. The main house was then listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Today, guests can enjoy guided tours of the home’s eight bedrooms. There, visitors find art and furnishings from two distinct eras: The “New Nation” period and the “Cos Cob” period. Tours of the storied home are offered daily at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. or by appointment.
What to Know Before You Visit
You’re interested in seeing this special piece of Greenwich history for yourself. Now, how do you get there? How much does it cost to visit? When are the best times to go? Not to worry. We have the answers!
Admission to the Bush-Holley House via guided tour is as follows:
- Adults: $10
- Seniors and students: $8
- Museum members and children under 18: Free
Free admission is also granted to the public on the first Wednesday of each month. Groups of 10 or more visitors must make advance reservations, and the fee for making a group reservation is $7 per person.
Accessing all of the best area activities is easy when you stay at Stanton House Inn! We’re conveniently located within walking distance of the Bush-Holley House and countless other beloved Greenwich attractions. If you’re coming from elsewhere in New England, see the Greenwich Historical Society site for more information about specific directions.
The house is open during winter (January and February) on Saturdays and Sundays between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. For the rest of the year (March through December), visit between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
What’s Near the Bush-Holley House?
Planning a trip to Greenwich around a visit to this iconic home is easy!
There’s so much to do within just a few miles of the house. Check-out our guide to the Cos Cob neighborhood to get started.
Within five minutes (driving) of this attraction is the Putnam Cottage, another eye-catching historic site and museum full of interesting tidbits about Greenwich’s past. Missing Manhattan? A minute or two farther down the road is Greenwich Avenue and downtown Greenwich, a bustling strip of high-end stores, fantastic downtown restaurants, and much more.
Featured photo courtesy of the Greenwich Historical Society
Updated and republished: May 15, 2022