Thomas Lyon House is the oldest house in Greenwich.
Probably built circa 1695, it remains relatively unchanged, and
retains a Colonial footprint established more than 300 years ago.
Moved nearly intact in 1926/27 from its first site on the north side
of the Post Road, this classic saltbox retains much of its original
This house has been acknowledged
throughout the 20th century as a rare example of Colonial
architecture without the usual alterations and additions that occur
over time. It was included in a Works Progress Administration study
in the 1930s, the Connecticut Statewide Inventory of Historic Houses
in 1966, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in
1977. It is mentioned in J. Frederick Kelly’s The Early Domestic
Architecture of Connecticut and Florence S. Crofut’s Guide to the
History and the Historic Sites of Connecticut.
When the Post Road was widened in
the 1920s, the house had to be moved. Mrs. Julia Lyon Saunders, the
last of seven generations of the Lyon family to occupy the house,
gave it to the Lions Club and Rotary Club to be used as a welcome
and information center for the Town of Greenwich as the “Gateway to
New England.” The house was moved to Byram School land leased to the
clubs by the Town of Greenwich.
The well-known Greenwich architect
Theodore E. Blake, who had been associated with Carrere and
Hastings, was asked to prepare plans for the restoration and
landscaping of the house and a fund-raising campaign was initiated.
Regrettably, most of the funds were spent moving the house to its
present location and the restoration plan never materialized. For
many years it was a rental property, providing funds to the clubs
for their philanthropic work.
In 1980 the Rotary Club ceded their
interest to the Lions Club Foundation. When repairs to the house
became too great for that foundation to undertake, they gave the
house to the Town which assumed legal responsibility for it in
January 2007. The Town maintains the site and has recently removed
20th-century material that marred the house’s exterior appearance.
The Byram Neighborhood Association
formed the Thomas Lyon House Committee in 2006 to insure the house’s
survival and investigate possible uses for it. The first goal of the
committee was to document the age and condition of the house with a
title search, dendrochronology study, and historic structure report.
Denise Savageau, Conservation Commission Director, has funded the
title search, and the first part of the historic structure report.
Grants will be pursued to complete the documentation phase. When the
research is completed, the Committee will prepare a report on
possible uses for the house and all interested parties will be
involved with making the decision as to its future use.
The Thomas Lyon House Committee
Greenwich Preservation Trust in 2008
which, as one of its goals, will continue to work with the Town to
restore and find an appropriate use for this historic structure.