The hip-roof house was built for Charles Symonds in 1808 and 1809 and was first occupied by Charles Symonds and his bride, Sally Dennis immediately after their marriage in 1809. At various times the house has served as a residence, tavern, singing school, student dormitory, and boarding house. For nearly one hundred years after 1903, the building housed “Historic Rooms” for exhibits, social rooms for the meetings of Society members and an apartment for a tenant who also served as custodian of the building. Today all of the space is devoted to the business of the Society and the events and exhibits it sponsors.
The exterior walls of the building are made of brick. The front wall is laid in the artistic and challenging “Flemish Bond,” while the other walls are laid in the more common “Promiscuous Bond.” There have been relatively few changes to the original structure. The Society opened an archway between the two west rooms of the first floor to establish the “Historical Rooms” used for displays. The front staircase has been reconfigured, a rest room added, and the southeast room repaired after it was damaged by a fire in the 1940s.
In 2011-2012 work was done to improve the basement and drainage, and dehumidification was installed. Thanks to the generous donations of members and friends through the Heritage Campaign of 2015-2017. Restoration was done to the exterior brick and the four chimneys were rebuilt. Heat was installed throughout the building, a sprinkler system installed, and wiring was updated. Repairs and renovations were made in the upstairs rooms. Today the entire building is available year-round to serve the needs of our membership and friends.