Jonathan Trumbull Lee House
534 Boston Post Road
Greek Revival / Federal
This structure was built in 1828 by Jonathan Trumbull Lee. He was a descendant of Jonathan Lee, who had arrived in the Guilford area in the early 1700s. Jonathan Trumbull Lee was a deacon in the church, a general agent, and a blacksmith. His four sons all became ministers. This property remained with the descendants of the Lee family until 1962.
The architectural characteristics of this property contribute to its value. It was the first house in the area to be built with clear elements of the Greek Revival style, including its gable end that faces the street and its rectangular construction that mimics, in at least a basic way, the Greek temples that were the inspiration for this style. Its prominent front door surround with heavy pilasters and entablature and the intricate patterns in its sidelights also demonstrate its classical Greek roots, as do the Greek details in its window architraves. (The word architrave refers, in this case, to a style of molding framing the top of a door, window, or other rectangular opening, in which the horizontal “head” casing extends across the tops of the vertical side casings, creating a butt joint, as opposed to a miter joint.)
The house also has some characteristics that were prevalent in the Federal era. Among these are its side entrance and an elliptical fanlight that dominates the pediment above the second story.
The property includes a barn built in 1871, and a two-story Victorian-era bay window was added to the west side of the house in 1892.
The grounds of the property, which remain lovely today, merited special attention in years past. The yard once featured a lovely maple tree that was dated at two to three centuries old. That notable tree, with a girth of sixteen feet, was recorded in the historic resources inventory of 1976. Elizabeth Lee Boyd, the great-granddaughter of Jonathan Trumbull Lee, lived in the house for many years. Her husband, Frank Boyd, planted a beautiful garden here. Known for its perennials, the garden was fenced, and historian Mary Scranton Evarts noted that the Boyds opened it once each year to the public as a benefit event for the historical society.
Local historian Frances Donnelly also lived in this house for many years after the deaths of the Boyds.