The Experience Porter House

Lost Mansfield > The Experience Porter House


The Experience Porter House
The Experience Porter house, built c. 1730

This house was built c. 1730 by Experience Porter and was later owned by the Howe, Shumway and Seagraves families.  One of the focal points of the Spring Hill area, it was a fine example of a classic central-chimneyed 18th century home.  The corniced central entrance and 12 over 12 windows exemplify this period. 

The house was demolished sometime between 1892 and 1894 when the Bradley Sears family resided there.  According to local lore, Clara (Coombs) Sears decided to surprise her husband while he was absent serving as superintendent of the Town Farm in Rockville. She had the old homestead torn down and a new Victorian farmhouse built in its place.  As amusing as this tale may be, it seems unlikely that her husband would not have known and approved of the project.  

The Sears property was later acquired by the Connecticut Agricultural College and for many years served as its sheep farm.  Today the University of Connecticut still utilizes the barns and the house serves as a UConn rental property.

The Sears House
The Sears house that was built on the former site of the Experience Porter house c. 1892 – 1894
The Sears House
The College sheep farm, following the 1938 Hurricane. The Town Office Building and Town Hall, now site of the Mansfield Historical Society Museum, are visible on the left of the photograph. The rows of maples that lined the main road at Spring Hill were destroyed by the high winds – another lost piece of Mansfield’s history.

This series is made possible by a Capacity Building Grant from The Last Green Valley, Inc.

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