The Pelatiah Leete House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group. (The house is located within the Route 146 Historic District.)
The Pelatiah Leete House (a National Historic Landmark), located at 575 Leetes Island Road, Guilford, Connecticut, is an early 18th-century "salt-box" house which has been preserved by the Leete family and successive owners. It is a 2 1/2-story, rectangular plan, clapboard sided frame house, set upon a fieldstone foundation. A 19th-century "tack room" (now pantry) is appended to the north-east corner of the structure. The medium-pitch gable roof is pierced by a stone central chimney, and the rear flank of the roof is extended to form the characteristic "salt-box" appearance. The house was apparently constructed as a "salt-box" since the exposed interior wall surfaces deny that a lean-to was added in later years.
The two-story main (south) facade is divided into three bays. An entrance portal, contained in the ground floor of the central bay, is embellished with fluted pilasters and is surmounted by a Greek Revival style pediment. Fenestration is double-hung sash type throughout. Sashes are replacements but were copied from an early window remaining in the house. Windows in the main elevation are 8-over-12 light in the end bays, and 6-over-6 light above the entrance portal. A plain wood box cornice surmounts the main elevation.
The side elevations (east and west) contain one window in each floor and attic aligned vertically below the roof peak, with additional windows placed toward the rear of each facade. A plain wood cornice appears on both side elevations. The single-story rear elevation contains a centrally placed secondary access flanked by one window on the west of the doorway, and two windows to the east which are surmounted by two single-sash windows. The oak clapboard siding, drip mouldings, and roof shingles are recent replacements.
The interior contains three major rooms on each floor. An elongated rectangular room is situated across the rear of each floor, and two smaller rooms are located to either side of the central chimney. Large stone fireplaces are provided in all three ground floor rooms, and in the west room on the second floor. A vestibule hallway is positioned directly behind the main entrance. A great deal of early interior fabric has been uncovered and restored by the present owners.
The Pelatiah Leete House is a landmark building in Guilford. It is important not only for its relatively early date and degree of preservation, but is significant as the homestead of one of Guilford's founding families. Pelatiah Leete built the house about 1710 on a tract of land which had been settled by his grandfather, Governor William Leete, at the time of the founding of the community about 1640. The Pelatiah Leete House is the oldest extant Leete family residence in Guilford, and is surrounded by numerous other Leete family houses of later construction. Pelatiah Leete farmed the property adjoining his residence until his death in 1768 at age 87.
Abstract of Title, Pelatiah Leete House, in possession of the owners: Dr. and Mrs. Levin Waters, Leetes Island Road, Guilford, Connecticut.
Dudley, David and Helander, Joel, research notes in preparation for Guilford historic district proposal (typescript and map), in possession of Dr. and Mrs. Levin Waters.
Leete, Edward L., The Family of William Leete. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor, 1884.
"Gem of a Saltbox", New York Times Magazine, (November 25, 1973).
† Stephen J. Raiche, Connecticut Historical Commission, Pelatiah Leete House, Guilford, CT, nomination document, 1973, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.