Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Jonathan Newton Harris House, New London, CT

The Jonathan Harris House, New London. 1859 CT Photo: Wikimedia

The Jonathan Newton Harris house in New London (130 Broad St.) was constructed in 1859-60 for a businessman and mayor of New London. After serving as a school in the 1890s, it became a church, which it functions as today. The house is clearly an example of Upjohn's double tower plan, as shown by the fenestration and the treatment of the entrance; however, it departs from the plan in the type of windows it employs, the height of the lower tower, and the detailing it uses. Perhaps more so than other examples of this plan, this house differs most in its details. Like the King house, it has the same distributions of windows, large windows on the first floor, on the second, double windows on the left hand tower, three windows on the right (here they are segmental arched), and on the third, triple arched windows. The central bay has two stacked recessed porches, the lower with a triple arched palladian form, the upper an arcade of three arches. The house lacks all of the wooden awnings and balconies of the King house. The façade is brick and the trim is extremely fine cut brownstone. The windows have engaged columns flanking the windows with Gothic arches over the round arched windows. Even the porch has its columns and balustrades in brownstone, a very expensive detail.

In general, this house is a unique combination of Gothic detailing on an Italianate form. While the first floor windows are pretty typically Italianate, the other windows on the house are divided in the manner of Venetian tracery with Gothic tracery forms throughout. Additionally, the gothic arches and columns, the front door, and the impressive three story bay window on the side continue with strong Gothic detailing. Other unique features are the low placement of the triple arched windows on the tower for the insertion of a small round window on the side and the extremely uncommon triangular window on the left façade. No doubt in the remodeling for the church, the Gothic details were seen as a sign that the house might serve an ecclesiastical function. The cornice as well is intriguing. Even though it is extremely narrow with closely spaced brackets, small windows repeat every other pair of brackets. Some of these are arched, other square, but they must be no taller than a foot. This makes their functionality rather dubious. Probably one of the finest examples of the plan with some of the most unique details, the house's impressive siting on a hill with a huge front yard gives it a suitably commanding presence on Broad Street.


  1. What is the best way to reach you? Looking for carriage house advice.

    1. Shoot me an email and I'll respond as soon as possible.

    2. sorry, can't figure out how (!), please send me your email address to my gmail account, palogan*at*...

  2. The front of the Harris house was what you would deem the side today. From the street looking up the high hill you are viewing the side. The main entrance was originally on what now is a short driveway to te left that ends in a more modern building constructed for the school. That was once a street that went clear throught to the street behind Broad. Mercer I believe. There is a beautiful sketch of the house and its conservatory (long gone).