Couple Keeps 150-Year-Old Wrentham Mansion In 19th Century
Brian and Dawn Fitzgerald own Wrentham's Proctor Mansion Inn.
The Proctor Mansion Inn’s first owner would recognize it, despite 150 years passing since it was built.
The 1861 Wrentham mansion has never been renovated, say its current owners, Sharon residents Brian and Dawn Fitzgerald.
The original 19th century interiors that first owner Thomas Proctor saw remain nearly intact, despite passing through four family generations.
“The house stands as an important historical property,” Brian Fitzgerald, said. “Thomas Proctor would recognize this house to be exactly how it was when he lived here in 1861.”
After purchasing the home in 2007, the Fitzgeralds dedicated themselves to restoring its original design, with the exception of bathrooms, sprinklers and electricity.
The three-story mansion features elegant sitting rooms, ornate architecture and room for family and servants alike. There is even a carriage house next door.
Experts helped the Fitzgeralds with the more complicated details, which even include a secret passage and fake wall on the third floor.
Half of the mansion has been restored.
The home is a functioning inn, where guests stay overnight while enjoying local sites by day.
The mansion also is available for functions such as weddings — the Fitzgeralds’ first guest was Thomas Proctor’s great-great-great-grand nephew, who was celebrating his wedding — and parties.
Several events mimic the Victorian lifestyle, including high teas, Christmas carolers, balls and mystery dinners, where guests act out a murder mystery.
“We try to treat them like honored guests of yesteryear,” Brian Fitzgerald explained.
The Fitzgeralds will celebrate the mansion’s 150th anniversary through community functions.
In part, they will sponsor Wrentham’s Art on the Common, which highlights local artists, and in September they also will be open for Wrentham Day, which features classic festivities such as cook outs and music.
The mansion will host a Victorian Halloween ball in the fall, and there are plans to participate in a Civil War reenactment.
The Fitzgeralds also own the Admiral Fitzroy Inn in Newport, RI, a historic seaside bed and breakfast. Hotels, though, are not their only business.
“Brian and I are both engineers by training, school and practice,” said Dawn Fitzgerald.
In 1999, the couple, who met at MIT, started a company to design computer chips for cameras. Although they sold their company, Brian is still a high tech consultant, while Dawn works with Invensys in Foxborough.
While managing two inns and providing high tech mentoring, the Fitzgeralds are also involved in Sharon, where they reside.