The Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum is located in Hadley, Massachusetts. It is a unique historical resource that goes beyond the well-preserved eighteenth century architecture of the house itself. It offers visitors special events, tours, and rotating art installations.
Tours of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington house are open to the public from May 15 through October 15 every year. The house is closed on Thursdays and Fridays. A guided tour takes about one hour to complete. During the tour, guests have the opportunity to look through the home where all of the original furniture belonging to six generations of family members still remains.
The Porter-Phelps-Huntington House was built in 1725 on a tract of land that was known as “Forty Acres and its skirts”. It was unique in many ways. The house was the first to be located outside of the town center. The home had a central hall at a time when most houses were build around a centralized chimney.
In the late 18th century, the home was renovated to create more privacy by separating the rooms used by the family from the rooms used by the servants and slaves. The last changes to the home were completed by 1800, and the home has mostly stayed the same since then. The Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum is a good example of what a wealthy family’s home in the eighteenth century was like.
A total of six generations lived in the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House. The name of the home has an interesting history. It was customary for homes in early America to pass from father to son. As such, the name of the home would stay the same from one generation to the next.
The Porter-Phelps-Huntington house was owned by women for three generations. Elizabeth Porter passed the home to her daughter, Elizabeth Phelps. Later, Elizabeth Phelps passed the home to her daughter, Elizabeth Huntington (who was Elizabeth Porter’s granddaughter). In 1855, 103 years after the construction of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington house, it was passed down to a son – Fredric Dan Huntington.
There is a collection of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers that may be of interest to genealogists. The letters range from 1698 to 1968. They document the history of one extended family for over 270 years (eight complete generations). The collection is the property of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation, which operates the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum.
Image by Randy OHC on Flickr
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