circa 1675, 348 Washington Street Norwich, CT
In 1675, Steven Backus built a simple two-room house that he sold to the Leffingwell family in 1700. Ensign Thomas Leffingwell acquired a license for the property and opened it as a venue for “publique entertainment of strangers,” otherwise known as an inn and tavern. Locals and travelers from all over the region came to Leffingwell’s Inn to purchase rum, tobacco, read newspapers, and discuss current events; Benedict Arnold’s father was known to have frequented the Inn. In 1756, Christopher Leffingwell inherited the Inn and transformed it into an elegant townhome where he resided until his death in 1810. Leffingwell stood as a prominent businessman and merchant who operated numerous mills that manufactured wool, stockings, paper, chocolate, and more. His industrious nature proved valuable during the Revolutionary War when George Washington named Leffingwell as a Deputy Commissary for Connecticut. Leffingwell provided numerous provisions and supplies for the war effort. In early April of 1776, General Washington came through Norwich on his way to Long Island and dined with Christopher Leffingwell in his home. Leffingwell was active in the fight for liberty; he was commissioned to evacuate patriots from Long Island in 1776. He hired boats to help with the evacuation of Long Island and had the assistance of two enslaved servants, Romeo and Pharaoh. Leffingwell emancipated Romeo on October 1, 1778, however, Romeo agreed “to do fifty faithful days of labor every year of my life (if able)” for Leffingwell and his heirs “to be done at any season of the year when he or they call upon me to do it.”
The building began as a single room, two story, end chimney house c. 1675. The first addition created a one-room deep center chimney plan, and then later evolved into a “double salt box” plan. The Museum is open seasonally, please check their website for current hours.
Thomas Harland House
circa 1779, 357 Washington Street Norwich, CT
Please note, this is a private residence and is not open to the public
Thomas Harland was among one of the finest of early Connecticut clock and watchmakers, arriving on the same boat, the Sally, from which the tea was thrown overboard during the Boston Tea Party. One of his clocks, commissioned by Christopher Leffingwell, is on display in the Leffingwell Inn. Harland employed many apprentices and married Hannah Clark of Leffingwell Lineage. The house was changed to a mansard roof in the nineteenth century.