Thomas Lee House

View of Thomas Lee House; Source- NRIS 70000693.
Historic/Common Name:
230 West Main Street
East Lyme »
c. 1660 ( Period of significance- c. 1660 - 1735)
Historic Designation:
Property Authority:
Historic Properties Commission
Nature of Authority:
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

The Thomas Lee House is a seventeenth century salt box which was restored in 1914 by Norman Isham and is now maintained by the East Lyme historical society. As it stands today it is picturesque and weather-beaten. The outside clapboards are riven oak and unpainted and have been colored by the salt winds of the sea for over fifty years since their restoration. The building has a five bay facade with a central door which is off center none the less because the window openings are located towards the northwestern end and away from the older section of the building. The most intersecting aspect of this building is the way it shows the evolution of a colonial house from a one room building to a house which has a floor plan typical of most colonial houses. Originally the plan of the house was a single room facing south with a great stone chimney at the western end. The stair to the second floor were at this stage on the southwest corner in front of the chimney stack. Later another room was added on the opposite side of the chimney which thus became enclosed and finally a lean to was built across the entire rear of the house. [NR]

Significance of the property:

The Lee house is one of the most valuable early houses in Connecticut because it dates back to the seventeenth century and because it embodies sufficient architectural evidence to show its evolution from an original one room plan to its present form. It is also significant as a monument to a notable family of ancient Lyrne. It was built by Ensign Thomas Lee who inherited a large fortune in lands from his father Thomas Lee first. At least one descendant of Ensign Thomas Lee participated in the Revolutionary War: in 1776 his great-grandson Captain Ezra Lee operated David Bushnell'sAmerican Turtle, the first submarine boat in New York Harbor. [NR]

Relationship with the Surroundings:

Located in a residential area, the Thomas Lee House is part of a parcel of land owned by the East Lyme Historical Society. The house stands about 300 yards east of the 1650 East Saybrook and New London Plantation boundaries currently called Bride Brook.

Historic Use:
Judgment Hall
Present Use:
East Lyme Historical Society
Architectural Style:
Wood frame house
17th Century
East Lyme Historical Society

[1] Historic Property information retrieved from the town website
[2] Thomas Lee House, 230 West Main Street, East Lyme, Historic Resources Inventory, Norman B. Peck, Jr., 2007, SHPO Library, Hartford.
Assessors information retrieved from the website
[NR] Luyster Constance, Thomas Lee House, National Register Nomination Number- 70000693 NRIS, National Park Service, 2006.;


Floor Plan of Thomas Lee House showing the various stages of evolution, Source - NRIS 70000693.

View photo
Date of Compilation:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation