Harriet Beecher Stowe House
73 Forest Street, Hartford, Connecticut
This house is best associated with...
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abolitionist & Author, of Hartford, Connecticut
Her accusation against such a literary luminary was met with a barrage of hostility from press and public alike, and despite the support of Mark Twain her book sales tumbled. Struggling to afford the upkeep of Oakholm, they moved out of the public eye to their winter home in Florida, Mandarin House. They sold Oakholm in 1870 and only returned north to Hartford once things had settled down, buying this house in 1873.
The architect of the 5,000-square foot house is unknown, but its design is typical of the architecture made famous by Andrew J. Downing and Calvert Vaux. Harriet lived her remaining 23-years here with her husband and their two unmarried twin daughters, Hattie and Eliza. She surrounded herself with a mixture of Victorian and late 18th century furniture, her own oil and watercolor paintings as well as art and souvenirs she had acquired on her travels in Europe. She wrote her last novel here, Poganuc People, and having outlived her husband died in her bedroom in 1896, surrounded by her family. The twins moved to Simsbury and sold the house to Hartford native Frances Z. Niles (1838-1922) who lived here with her unmarried niece, Caroline Hansell, and their two servants.
Katharine Seymour Day & the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Frances Niles died in 1922 and two years later her niece placed the house on the market. Despite then living in New York City, when Harriet's grand-niece, Katharine Seymour Day, heard that it was up for sale she purchased it immediately and three years later (1927) moved back to Hartford and made the house her permanent home. In 1929, she organized "The Friends of Hartford" that raised $100,000 against strong opposition to save the Mark Twain House adjacent to her own home; and, in 1940 she bought the house that neighbored her own, now known as the Katharine Seymour Day House.
After Katherine died here in 1964, she bequeathed her entire estate to the Stowe-Day Memorial Library and Historical Foundation in order to see the house made into a museum celebrating the life and achievements of her great-aunt. It was restored in the late 1960s and is open to the public today as part of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
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