The Dudley Farm Museum
This large, almost regal home on the corner of Route 77 and Route 80 saw and listened to 6 generations of North Guilford Dudleys.
Built on land inherited in 1811 from his grandfather, Jared, the house reflects the improved financial status of Erastus, whose father had never been financially independent. Now Erastus had not only property, but also the family gristmills across the street. Within 20 years of inheriting the property Erastus had established a financially secure and stable business, becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the area, and often functioning as North Guilford’s banker.
Erastus was the only one of 7 sons to stay in North Guilford. By 1820 he had improved the family fortune sufficiently to become part of the new business class, not only adding a tannery and bone mill to his business, but building homes for two of his sons. With a farm of 107 acres, he built a home for himself and wife Ruth, as well as his soon to be married son, Nathan. It is here that Nathan and his wife, Sophronia raised their 5 sons.
The house reflects the Late Colonial style of architecture common to the area for the preceding 200 years. Combined with Greek Revival Colonial features it reflects the relatively traditional and conservative culture of North Guilford at the time. By 1800 a more a Georgian style home with central hallway and two rooms on both side on both floors, and 2 chimneys, became more common. This was more reflective of the “New America”, and less reliant on “: Colonial America”.
Erastus owed his success to the industrial age; the Greek Revival style with its nod to Greek temples personified the early period of economic growth in early 19th century America. The house has traditional façade in the front of the 5 windows across the second floor and a central doorway with 2 windows on either side on the first. The front porch was built to mimic the entrance to a Greek temple.
The house was added on to twice during the 19th century, with an “ell” section added on the east side of the home and Victorian style porch. Sometime during the early part of the 20th century a north section was added which is now closed to the public.
By the time the last Dudley inherited the farm and its properties in 1963 the land holdings had been reduced to the 10 acres now owned by The Dudley Foundation. None-the-less, the farm echoes of Erastus Dudley and his spirit.