Historical Shelters: Own the Birthplace of Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Harriet Beecher Stowe
You can own the birthplace of Harriet Beecher Stowe – provided you don’t mind putting it back together. (Photos courtesy Art Pappas)

Today’s historical shelter should be a museum, but for $400,000, the birthplace of Harriet Beecher Stowe could be yours – with a caveat.

It’s kind of a giant, DIY puzzle. The Hartford, Conn., home was carefully dismantled with an eye toward moving it and turning it into a museum about the early life of the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

The home was the home of Stowe and her 10 siblings, then a sanitarium, and later a dormitory for a private school. The latter housed folk singer Pete Seeger when he was attending the school in the 1920s.Harriet Beecher Stowe

When the school sold the home to a buyer in 1997, it was dismantled. It has sat in four storage trailers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, CBS reported, since, and was acquired two years ago by Art Pappas, an antiques dealer.

Pappas told the network that he attempted to find the home a permanent location with the Smithsonian and other museums. Connecticut’s Historic Preservation Office confirmed they weren’t interested in acquiring the home, and neither was the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford.

After listing it with sites that specialize in historic homes (this home is on the National Registry for Historic Homes) didn’t help Pappas find a buyer either, he turned to eBay, where the home is listed for an opening bid of $400,000.

“You can be part of history for saving this National treasure,” writes Pappas in his listing. “Originally built by The famous Revolutionary War Captain Elijah Wadsworth in 1774 and sold to Reverend Lyman Beecher in 1810.”

“Harriet Beecher Stowe described the home she and her sibling’s (sic) were born in and grew up in the 1878 book ‘Poqanuc People.’”

The original house had a center hall, a hip roof, and a timber frame, and was around 32 feet by 30 feet. An 18 foot by 30-foot addition was added by Lyman Beecher in 1814, and the roof was changed to a full gable around 1870.Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Every single thing has been saved including the original plaster walls, They are crated in plywood and have been removed whole,” Pappas continues. “The dirt and fragments between the walls have even been saved for possible forensic analysis.”  

Pappas would like to see someone purchase the home that wants to restore it to its 1800-era glory. He told CBS the price is negotiable, and he can put the buyer in touch with experts who can help put the house back together. He also has full plans and documentation for the home.

Harriet Beecher Stowe