Thomas Avery House

The Smith-Harris House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Thomas Avery House, is a historic home on Society Road in East Lyme, Connecticut, that is operated as a house museum.

The house is on property adjacent to the East Lyme Library and Community Center and East Lyme Middle School.

History

The house was built in 1845 in the Greek Revival style. It is believed to have been built as a wedding gift for Thomas Avery and Elizabeth Griswold. It was home to two generations of the Avery family, then was sold to William H. H. Smith, who sold it to his brother and nephew, Herman Smith and Frank Harris. It is this transaction that gave the house its name of the Smith-Harris House. It is by this name that it is locally known.

The wives of Smith and Harris, sisters born Lulu and Florence Munger, lived in the home for many years after their husbands' deaths.

Operation as a museum

In 1974, after years of being boarded up and neglected, the town of East Lyme purchased the home. It was saved from demolition by a group of citizens who restored the house. It was officially dedicated as a museum on July 3, 1976.

The house is now open to the public on weekends during the summer months, and by appointment at other times. Admission is free. Also on the property are a small herb garden and a nature trail.