The Norwich Historical Society was formed in 1951 and for its first 44 years, it met quarterly at the Library. In 1970, members raised funds to purchase the Hutchinson-Taylor House on Church Street to store the growing collection of Norwich artifacts. When the Lewis House at the corner of Main and Elm Streets in the heart of Norwich’s historic district came up for sale in 2003, the Historical Society saw an unique opportunity to increase exhibit, storage and programming space, to preserve an important landmark for the Town and to create a focus for community activities.
In addition to being home to generations of the Lewis family from 1846 until 2003, the house (circa 1807) was, for several years in the 19th century, where town residents came to pay taxes, attend to other town-related business and exchange news. General William E. Lewis, who served as town clerk from 1846 until 1892, had his office in the white clapboard federal house, whose simple classic architectural details also reflected the tastes and values of those who lived in this thriving rural community. During the Lewis family’s 157-year occupancy of this house only modest changes were made to its simple classical architecture.
Margaret Lewis sits on the south porch of the Lewis House with her cat, 1978
In the fall of 2008, the Historical Society began the final phase of its capital improvements to make Lewis House fully compliant with ADA requirements for accessibility, including a ramp and remodeled entrance, improved parking, and interior renovations to accommodate all visitors. We have reorganized our existing spaces to enhance exhibits, public programs and historical research. Cosmetic improvements on the first floor will make the Historical Society’s home a warm and inviting place to learn more about Norwich’s history.
Open hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm throughout the year, and Saturdays 10:00 am – noon from Memorial Day weekend through October, as well as other times by appointment. Staff and volunteers are likely to be at the Lewis House at other times – please give us a call to set up a time to visit. Community groups are welcome to use our facility for meetings and other events. Contact the Society’s office for more information.