33 Society Road, Niantic, CT 06357
(860) 739-0761, www.smithharris.org
On July 3, 1976, the Smith-Harris House was dedicated as East Lyme's Town Museum. Built in the Greek Revival Style, popular in the early to mid 1800's, the house is believed to have been built in 1845 for Thomas Avery and his bride, Elizabeth Griswold.
While it is on the National Register of Historic Houses as the Thomas Avery House, it was eventually sold to William H. H. Smith, who, in turn, sold it to his nephews, Herman Smith and Frank Harris in 1921. These gentlemen, married to sisters Lula and Florence Munger, ran a productive farm on the property for many years.
The Town bought the home and 103 acres from Smith and Harris in the 1950s, giving the two couples lifetime rights. In 1974, after the house had been boarded up for several years, and at the urging of concerned citizens, a successful restoration process was begun.
Today the Museum offers a fascinating and educational view of life in the mid 1800's. Operated by the Smith-Harris Commission and the Friends of Smith-Harris House, a variety of events are offered throughout the year, including a Spring Tea, the very popular Heritage Weekend in early October, and the traditional Wassail in early December. Tours of the home are available in June, Friday-Sunday 12-4 p.m., July and August, Thursday-Sunday 12-4 p.m., and throughout the year by appointment.
For more information, visit: www.smithharris.org.