Historic Structures

Henry Perry House, Southport Connecticut

Date added: March 8, 2011 Categories: Connecticut House Greek Revival

The Henry Perry house was erected in 1832, and is one of the two Greek Revival style structures in Southport which was designed with a five-columned front portico. The other, the Francis D. Perry House, 678 Pequot Avenue, was his brother's and was also erected in 1832. It is quite possible that they were designed or built by the same person. Members of the Perry family were original land-owners of Southport in the 1600s, and the family name has remained prominent through the village's three-hundred year history.

Henry Perry's will of February 1847, recorded in Fairfield Probate Record, Volume I, states that the "homestead lot was purchased 19 November 1831 by Henry Perry from Joshua Jennings for $550." The house was willed to his wife Henrietta for her life, and then to his brothers Charles and Francis D. Perry upon her death in 1892. Mrs. Francis D. Perry and Miss Maria D. Perry (daughter of Charles) sold the property to Elisha C. Sherwood in 1892. A court case was held in 1904, concerning title to the property. A dispute in the Sherwood family initiated the case, and it was dismissed in 1910. This dispute accounts for the numerous quit claims and property transfers between 1900 and 1910.

The design of this two-and-a-half story frame structure was based on early nineteenth century pattern book plans of high-style classical buildings. It is rectangular, measuring 30' (four-bay front) x 40', and has a gable roof with an east-west running ridge and gable pediment facing front. A semi-eliptlcal fanlight with a fluted keystone ornaments the front gable pediment. The front porticoed facade is covered with horizontal butt boarding; all other facades have clapboard siding. The two-story front portico is supported by five fluted Ionic columns and has a simple dentiled cornice with a double fascia board. Five ionic pilasters on the front facade, defining the four bays, correspond in design and placement to the portico columns. The front door is flanked by side-lights and a leaded-glass transom. All front windows have a delicate classical cornice for lintels and are framed by louvred shutters.

The interior has a side-hall plan with a large front and rear parlor" south of the stairhall. The main stairway to the second floor with turned newels and balusters has been rebuilt, dating from the twentieth century. Doorways are framed by molded jambs and carved corner blocks. The fireplace mantel in each of the first-floor parlors is supported by Roman Ionic columns and a molded cornice.

In 1892, after Henrietta Perry's death, the house was restored by its new owner, E. C. Sherwood. A two-story section with an ornate first-story Palladian window and a two-story bay window on the northeast corner was added to the north elevation.