Strong-Porter Museum, Coventry
The Strong House was originally constructed in the 18th century and today serves as the home of the Strong-Porter Museum. In addition to its collections, the museum itself is an artifact that shares the history of the area and the way historic interpretations change over time as new evidence and perspectives are considered. The home was purchased and restored due to a case of mistaken identity. Renowned 20th century antiquarian and Nathan Hale fan George Dudley Seymour, who had previously purchased and restored the Hale Homestead, snapped up this neighboring property because he believed that it had once been the home of Hale’s mother, Elizabeth Strong Hale. As it so happens, Elizabeth never actually lived there, but her mother may have lived at the property as the house was built by one of Nathan’s relatives. Some believe it was built by his great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, or his great-uncle…opinions vary.
Backstory and Context
By the early 20th century, most of the Porters had either died out or moved on, and the house was sold to Mr. Seymour who once again renamed it. He chose to call it Northampton House, after the Massachusetts town from whence the Strong family had relocated to Coventry. Upon Seymour's death, the house and its contents were bequeathed to the State of Connecticut along with lands that would become part of the Nathan Hale State Forest. Today the house is operated by the Coventry Historical Society under a name that reflects both families who helped build the house but the town of Coventry itself: the Strong-Porter Museum.
The historic home is also the site of a letterboxing adventure sponsored by the Connecticut Sons of the American Revolution. It also serves as a jumping-off point for Coventry’s Halloween “Hauntingly Enchanted Evening” lantern tour and woods walk, which is a popular annual event. As of 2018, admission to the Strong-Porter Museum is free.
Museums. Coventry Historical Society. . Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.ctcoventryhistoricalsociety.org/.
Strong-Porter House: A Museum for What Ales You. Connecticut Museum Quest. May 02, 2007. Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.ctmq.org/a-museum-for-what-ales-you/.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Strong House. National Park Service. September 30, 1987. Accessed June 13, 2018. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/87001906_text.
Strong-Porter House. The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. June 30, 2009. Accessed June 13, 2018. https://www.connecticutsar.org/sites/2009/06/strong-porter-house.html.
A Family's War. Revolutionary CT. . Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.revolutionaryct.com/a-familys-war/.
Strong-Porter House Museum. Online Highways. . Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.ohwy.com/ct/s/stpohomu.htm.
Strong-Porter House (1730). Historic Buildings of Connecticut. May 09, 2008. Accessed June 13, 2018. http://historicbuildingsct.com/the-strong-porter-house-1730/.
Generation 10. Peterson Family Home Page. . Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.jfredpeterson.com/tree/g10stro.htm.
Elizabeth Strong. Geni. November 15, 2014. Accessed June 13, 2018. https://www.geni.com/people/Elizabeth-Strong/6000000001473639185.
"A Hauntingly Enchanted Evening" Lantern Tour and Haunted Woods Walk in Coventry. Eventful: Hartford. . Accessed June 13, 2018. http://hartford.eventful.com/events/ahauntinglyenchantedevening-lantern-tour-and-ha-/E0-001-033536649-4.