Property Overview Inventory List District Map

Nathan Lester House & Farm Tool Museum

LHD boundaries as described are approximate and subject to change. Consult the LHD Study Report on file with the relevant local district commission or municipal authority to verify district boundaries and whether a specific property, particularly one in proximity of a boundary line, is within the district. Also note that LHD boundaries may differ from those of State or National Register Districts.

Year of Establishment:
Property Authority:
Ledyard Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
Building, Open Spaces, Park, Others- Graves, Oak Trees
Architectural Style:
Farm house
18th Century

The Nathan Lester House is a typical Connecticut farmhouse with the expected nine-window facade and central chimney stack floor plan. It is described by John 0. Curtis, Curator of Architecture at Old Sturbridge Village, as a 'simple, sensible and perfectly unpretentious farmhouse.' Mr. Curtis found the house unique for its "superb state of preservation in which it has come down to the present. Seldom does one see an ancient housesurviving so essentially unaltered as to form, plan and decorative detailing." It is a large house with a familiar floor plan: two parlors flanking the stair hall against the chimney stack, at the rear a large kitchen with the usual commodious fireplace and brick bake oven at its left. Flanking the kitchen are two pantries, one of which may once have been a downstairs bedchamber. The size of the house permits an additional small chamber on one side balanced by a side entry on the other. At the second floor are the usual parlor chambers at the front and three rooms across the rear. The foundation is of dressed Connecticut red sandstone of generous height, which has probably contributed to the structure's fine state of preservation. The basement is of greater-than-average depth. Perhaps within a decade of the building of the original portion of the house, a two-story ell was run out at the rear. It is a spacious area and has much of the original fabric intact. The house has six fireplaces, one more than the usual number in a house of this form and plan. At least two are distinguished by handsomely dressed stone splays; all seem to be in an excellent state of preservation. [NR]

Since the Nathan Lester House has survived nearly two hundred years of continuous use and is still in very good condition, one can call it an unusual structure. The frame, solidly built of oak, shows no signs of bulging or sagging. The architectural refinements in terms of decoration are minimal, as would be expected in a farmhouse of this period in a rural area. For example, the three run stair has square balusters, set on the diagonal, atop an open string embellished with characteristically Connecticut scalloped brackets. There is fielded paneling on the soffit of the stair and an intriguing localism in the form of a set-back half-way upstairs running the full width of the well (a function of the masonry construction of the chimney stack), and a simple molded hand-rail terminating at modest square posts. The principal parlor has a wall of fine paneling, a molded chair rail, and crown molding room cornice only atop the paneled chimney wall. Superimposed upon the paneling of the chimney wall is an attractive and simple mantle piece in the Greek Revival style of the 1830's and l840's. Besides being an architecturally important structure, the Lester House is also significant for its history. [NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website
Assessors information and GIS map retrieved from the website
[NR] Babbitt Susan, Nathan Lester House, National Register Nomination Number- 72001328 NRIS, National Park Service, 1972.;

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