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A PLACE CALLED JONESVILLE
Part One of a Two-Part Tour

Fred Jones
Fred Jones working on a sculpture, c.1960s
Fred Jones
Fred with one of his paintings, c.1959

Fred Jones
"Big Bird" c.1944, welded steel. Height 8' 1", width 8' 6"

    Jim Morneau, who owns Classic Home Hardware in Canton, called me a couple of weeks before Christmas. At the end of our conversation he said “Hey, have you ever heard of a place called Jonesville?” I hadn’t, so Jim filled me in on what he knew and why he thought CTOldHouse.com’s readers would be interested in it.
Jonesville, Jim explained, was a piece of actual real estate that existed in the context of an aesthetic state of mind, rather than an official jurisdiction.  Physically it is in the oldest part of Farmington and runs along Norton Lane, where Route 4 comes through the center of town. A sculptor named Fred Jones, along with his wife Rebecca, an artist who was one of the founders, in 1934, of the West Hartford Art League, together acquired a half dozen old houses on Norton Lane and restored them.  Fred Jones, who died in 1975, created a sculpture garden out of the combined yards of these houses. The sculptures were legendary, Jim told me, though he himself had not seen them. The properties were private but were open to the public. It sounded intriguing, and not a little incredible.

   Finding information on Fred Jones and Jonesville was not easy. Googling “Fred Jones, Farmington, CT” brought up Part Two of an article on Farmington artists that is on the Farmington Historical Society website. In the article Fred Jones is referred to as “sculptor extraordinaire,” and the following four photos appear, which we reproduce below with the permission of the Farmington Historical Society.

   These photos frankly rocked this writer back on his feet and inspired me to keep digging for information. Eventually I was able to make contact with Fred Jones’s son, Oliver, who lives in Florida. Oliver put me in touch with Sharon Gowen, who lives in Jonesville and manages the properties for the Jones family. Sharon has been most helpful in putting together this article and providing biographical info and photographs for Part Two, which will be written after I visit Jonesville in early June.

 

Fred Jones Sculpture
Eternal Fountain" Height 3' 9", width 1' 9"


Fred Jones
Untitled, welded steel  Height 8' 6", width 4'


Fred Jones
"Balanced Cube" Height 3' 5", width 3' 1"

 



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