Anne Crofoot Kuckro, of Wethersfield and Northeast Harbor, Maine, a community leader, historian and author actively involved in historic preservation and heritage tourism, died on Saturday, March 27, 2010. She was 65.
Surrounded by her loving husband of 42 years, Lee G. Kuckro and her loving daughters Kate of San Francisco, May of New York, and Eilin of Burlington, VT, Anne passed away at Hartford Hospital after living successfully with breast cancer for 21 years.
Anne Kuckro was born January 4, 1945 to David Nash Crofoot and Katherine Becker Crofoot in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Omaha and Northeast Harbor. She was a graduate of Duchene Academy, Newton College, and Corcoran Gallery School. In 1968, she moved with her husband Lee to Wethersfield, Connecticut, where she worked to preserve and publicize the region’s history and vernacular architecture through her writing, tours, and leadership on museum boards and local committees.
Anne wrote numerous books, articles, and bus tours, and walking tours related to Connecticut’s domestic vernacular architecture. Her books include Capt. James Francis Master Builder: Brick Architecture in Wethersfield before 1840 (1974), Hartford Architecture: Downtown (1978), and an unfinished manuscript about houses in the Wethersfield Historic District. She also wrote numerous articles for the magazine Antiques, including “Early Brick Architecture of Wethersfield” (March 1976), “A Wethersfield Family Collection” (March 1976) and “Vernacular Architecture” (July 2007).
Anne’s second book followed her work as Director of the Hartford Architecture Conservancy’s Survey of the City of Hartford. This three-volume survey is a landmark in the preservation of Hartford’s historic architecture. Over the past several years, Anne had been working on completing a book about the architecture of Wethersfield’s Historic District, providing examples of buildings from 1600’s until the present, and discussing the role of the Historic District Commission in their preservation. As part of this project, Anne was instrumental in ensuring that the surveys of the Wethersfield Historic District remained updated, taking photographs, procuring funds from the town for the updates and providing background information on houses as needed.
Anne served as president of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Connecticut from 2004 through 2008. Since 1919, the Colonial Dames have been responsible for the preservation and operation of The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum located along Main Street in Wethersfield. During Anne’s tenure as president, she was very active in the capital campaign to raise funds for the preservation of these three historic homes and the construction of a new education center. The campaign raised more than two million dollars, and Anne provided important leadership in developing the architectural plans for the new building and a vision for the future of the museum. She worked closely with the board, executive director and staff to move the museum forward and was a tremendous booster for the organization in the community. Most recently, Anne had worked closely with the executive director on several key restoration projects, including the structural stabilization of the Webb House in 2008, the restoration of the Washington bedchamber in 2009, and the current exterior restoration and painting of the Webb House in 2010. She also worked closely with staff in securing a $150,000 Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant and a $53,000 State of Connecticut Historic Restoration Fund grant for these projects.
Former Dames President and Development Committee Chair Judy Rowley said that Anne’s “commitment, efforts, and dedication were extraordinary and we would not be where we are today if it hadn’t have been for her.”
In addition to her two terms as president of the Connecticut Colonial Dames, Anne also served as first vice president, chair of the Finance Committee, and chair of the Properties Committee of the Connecticut Colonial Dames, and on the Finance Committee of the Society of the National Colonial Dames. Anne had also served on the board of the Mark Twain House in Hartford.
A member of the Wethersfield Historical Society for more than 40 years, Anne served as president for two terms, as secretary, and chaired the Society’s first Houses and History tour in Old Wethersfield in order to raise the funds for the Society to hire its first professional director. She was instrumental in the Historical Society’s restoration of the Keeney Cultural Center. Anne served as Clerk of the Works, coordinating among contractors, the architects, and others. In the education room, Anne created and drew a timeline of more than 350 years of Wethersfield architecture with scale silhouettes of local buildings.
Anne worked energetically and with great dedication to share Wethersfield’s extensive collection of vernacular architecture and history with others in town and beyond. She served as chairman of the 350th Celebration Committee; chairman of the Cove Park Committee, chairman of the Silas Deane Task Force; chairman of the Wethersfield Tourism Commission, Wethersfield’s delegate to the Regional Tourism District, and founding committee member and chairman of the annual Wethersfield Weekend Festival, which ran from 1998 to 2002. As part of the Wethersfield Weekend Festival, she also wrote guided tours on the town’s architecture, revolutionary history, maritime history, and town cemetery.
Anne received an award of recognition and thanks from the Town and its Wethersfield Festival Committee, "For your support, enthusiasm and dedication to promote heritage tourism in the Town of Wethersfield through the Wethersfield Festival" and in 1997, the Wethersfield Business Men’s Civic Association Person of the Year Award in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding and contributing contribution to the town. She also shared with her husband Lee a Wethersfield Business and Civic Association citation for Outstanding Citizenship in 1984 for their services to the Town as members of the 350th Committee - which Anne chaired - and for the plans and activities of the Wethersfield Historical Society and Standish House Committee.
As part of her work to share Wethersfield’s history, Anne also worked with local educators to develop an elementary and high school curriculum for Wethersfield architecture, and taught a continuing education class on the town’s architecture. Anne also taught art at Oxford School and in the Windsor public school system in the late 1960’s.
Anne was a passionate gardener at home in Wethersfield, at her house in Northeast Harbor, and as a member of the Garden Angels at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. In addition, she was a member of the Harbor Club in Seal Harbor, Maine; and in Hartford the Wadsworth Athenaeum’s Society of Daniel Wadsworth and Decorative Arts Council.
She is also survived by daughter Grace Kuckro, sister Jeanne Bronk and her husband Mitchell of Salisbury CT, brother James Crofoot and his wife Becky of Omaha NE, brother-in-law Rod Kuckro, and his wife Melissa of Alexandria VA, sister-in-law Lynn Sundermann and husband J. Howard Sundermann of Cincinnati, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Her family will receive friends Wednesday, March 31 from 4pm to 7pm at the Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 34 Beaver Road, Wethersfield. There will be a memorial service celebrating Anne’s life on Thursday, April 1 at 11am at the Webb Barn at 211 Main Street in Wethersfield. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in her name to the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, 211 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109. Please send any stories, photos, or memories of Anne to firstname.lastname@example.org.