Jan 11, 2022
2 mins read
In Branford's quaint business district around the old town green stands the Swain-Harrison House, a classic Connecticut saltbox colonial home that today serves as the Branford Historical Society's headquarters.
Daniel Swain was one of the first settlers who was granted the land by the town of Branford in 1679. When he died in 1697, his heirs sold the property to Nathaniel Harrison, who was Branford's deputy of the Assembly, Justice of the Peace and a widely respected citizen playing a pivotal roll in the community's early years. This is how the house came to be known as the Swain-Harrison House.
The Swain-Harrison House at 124 Main Street, Branford is a dark red two and a half story structure with a five-bay Colonial clapboard facade and gable overhangs that gives it a broad appearance. It is the oldest extant building in the Canoe Brook Historic District around the old town green.
The date of house's construction was originally given as 1680 in its application for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Buy Or Sell Your Property In Lda Avenue 1 However, The Branford Historical Society's website that is now headquartered in the structure states that the current building dates from 1724.
Originally built with two rooms on each floor, a rear lean-to extension was added between 1730 and 1740 giving the house the salt box roof line. This was common during that time as families expanded. The lean-to accommodated a large kitchen behind the central stone chimney together with a bedroom and pantry at opposite ends.
The interior has been beautifully restored with the hand-hewn wood walls, the strong oak corner posts and exposed joists that make you feel you have stepped back in time to 18th Century America. The Swain-Harrison House has a unique corner cupboard, and furnishing that include rope beds and a bedspread made for a dowry centuries ago.
One room of the Swain-Harrison House is a museum filled with Branford artifacts, memorabilia and archives. The house is maintained by the Branford Historical Society and Branford families are encouraged to bring their ancestral records, products, pictures and collections for exhibits which are held periodically.
The Branford Garden Club maintains a fine herb and colonial garden on the two acres of land. The Swain-Harrison House is open on Saturdays, 2: 00 p. m. to 5: 00 p. m. June to September or by appointment.
For more information about visiting one of Branford, Connecticut's most important historic homes please visit the Branford Historical Society's that has the Swain- Harrison House as its logo.