Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



June 23, 2022

During Pride Month, Sen. Needleman, Gov. Lamont, Rep. Haines Tour Important Historic East Haddam LGBT Site

In honor of Pride Month, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined Governor Ned Lamont, State Representative Irene Haines (R-East Haddam), Connecticut Landmarks Executive Director Aaron Marcavitch and Joe Grabarz, former state legislator and current Connecticut Landmarks Stewardship & Collections Chair, this week at the Palmer-Warner House in East Haddam. The Palmer-Warner House is a historic site not only because it dates back to the 1730s but because it took on new relevance as a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community from the 1930s to the 1970s. In late March, the State Bond Commission released $1.5 million of grant funding to support renovation and visitor improvements at the site, ensuring the property can continue to stand as a historic local monument for decades to come.

Centuries after the Warner blacksmith family built and owned the property, Frederic Palmer, a Connecticut preservation architect, purchased it with his mother in 1936. After her death, Palmer and his partner, Howard Metzger, made the site into a safe space for their friends, members of the LGBTQ+ community, for decades. This local piece of history represents the long history of acceptance in Connecticut and the importance of protecting the rights of all individuals, including the LGBTQ+ community.

“The Palmer-Warner House is a treasure located in our own backyard. It is at once a property dating back to the days of early Colonialism in the United States and a monument to the love and support of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Sen. Needleman. “I am grateful to Governor Lamont and State Bond Commission for their foresight in supporting this important historical location and for Connecticut Landmarks’ preservation and caretaking of its beautiful property, ensuring the stories of the Warners and of Frederic Palmer and Howard Metzger will continue to be told for years to come.”

“Ensuring the Palmer-Warner House remains maintained and in a good state of repair will allow this historic property to serve as a landmark in East Haddam for many years to come, and I am glad that the state is able to partner with them on this project,” Governor Lamont said.

“Thanks to Senator Needleman, Connecticut continues to be a welcoming place as it was for Howard Metzger and Frederic Palmer,” said Grabarz. “The preservation of this history of ‘welcoming’ will provide an important lesson to combat intolerance.”

The $1.5 million in grants committed to the property include renovations to the building’s exterior, the installation of a parking lot and renovation of the site’s barn into a visitor center, and work to make the site more accessible through the Americans With Disabilities Act. Connecticut Landmarks will receive the grant funding.

According to Connecticut Landmarks, centuries after John and Mehitable Warner built the house in 1738, using the land to farm and grow their family who became renowned local blacksmiths, the house was purchased by Frederic Palmer and his mother Mary Brennan Palmer in the 1930s. Palmer worked to acquire, renovate and preserve a number of Connecticut Landmarks properties. He lived at the Palmer-Warner House in East Haddam with his partner Howard Metzger until his death in 1971, Metzger continuing to live there until he died in 2005. Palmer and Metzger were active members of the East Haddam community and welcomed LGBTQ+ friends to stay at the house, making it a safe space for that community during a time of societal rejection for the gay community.