Nehemiah Royce House

View of Royce House, view northwest; Source- NRIS 98000966.
Historic/Common Name:
Royce House, The Washington Elm House
Address:
538 North Main Street
Town:
Wallingford »
Year:
1672
Historic Designation:
LHP, NR, SR
Property Authority:
Historic Properties Commission, Wallingford
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Nehemiah Royce House is a 30' x 30' two-story frame Colonial saltbox originally built in 1672 (Wallingford Town Records, February 12, 1671) but with most of its now visible historic fabric dating from the early 18th-century and later. The house faces south at 538 North Main Street, moved there in 1925 by Lucy and Helen Royce from its original location across the street to the east at 499 North Main Street. In the 1940s it was rehabilitated under the direction of William Sumner Appleton (1874-1947) of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and J. Frederick Kelly (1888-1947), Connecticut's leading historical architect of the time. Grade rises gradually from west to east on the site, giving the house a slightly elevated setting. Distinguishing features of the Royce House are five bays of 12-over-12 and 8-over-12 windows (originally casements) in 2-1-2 rhythm, central double-door entrance, overhanging gable ends, and central stone chimney. In the front elevation the four first-floor 12-over-12 windows are under flat window caps. Window frames are plain, probably replacements because they are nearly flat with the clapboards whereas 18th-century window frames generally projected. Most clapboards are not original, although some are fastened with hand-wrought nails, and some in the gable ends are riven; all other clapboards are regular in size and finish, probably dating from the 1930s. The exposure to weather of approximately 4" is wider than usually associated with 18thcentury siding. The clapboards are nailed directly to the frame without sheathing. [NR]

Significance of the property:

Architecture: The Nehemiah Royce House, an early Colonial saltbox, is significant architecturally because its framework and the finishes of one bedroom date from the 17th century, and whose latest rehabilitation received the attention of prominent figures in the historic preservation movement during the Colonial Revival period. The original framing of the house and many of the changes in details and finishes made over the centuries are well-defined. The 20th-century work is an unusual example of a documented program, intended as a restoration, carried out by early 20th-century professionals. [NR]

Relationship with the Surroundings:

The property is located towards the west of North Main Street, just southwest of the triangular green. It is sited in a residential area with individual plots separated by woodland.

Features:
Building, Open space
Historic Use:
Single Dwelling
Present Use:
Museum
Architectural Style:
Colonial/ Postmedieval English
Era:
17th Century
Ownership:
Private
Owner:
_
Sources:

[1] Historic property information retrieved from the town website http://www.town.wallingford.ct.us/.
[2] Joseph Blakeslee House, Historic Properties Study Report, Wallingford, 1998, SHPO library, Hartford.
[NR] Ransom David F., Reviewed by Herzan John F., Nehemiah Royce House, Wallingford, National Register Nomination Number- 98000966 NRIS, National Park Service, 1998. http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/98000966.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/photos/98000966.pdf.

Map:

1670 Map of Village of Wallingford showing Royce House, spelled as Rice; Source - NRIS 98000966.

View photo
Date of Compilation:
12/31/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation