Erastus Higley built the Higley House, called the “Homestead” by family members, during 1810 and 1811. Five generations of Higleys lived here and it was next door that Zeruah Higley Guernsey Caswell, Erastus’ niece, created the “Caswell Carpet” which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Modifications were made to the house during the 1830s; a hipped roof was changed to a gable roof and gothic arched gable windows were added. For a short period of time, 1886 to 1906 the house was occupied by “non-Higleys”. During this time, a large kitchen fireplace was removed.
The Higley House is unique in that it was built and lived in by the same family for almost its entire existence. This made possible the preservation of much of the progression of its architectural style and décor. In 1994, the Historical Society undertook a successful Capital Funds drive, which allowed them to restore the deteriorating roof with early style cedar shingles and complete much needed chimney repairs. On the interior, ceiling repair and painting and papering were done in the downstairs exhibit rooms and stunning reproductions of early nineteenth century stenciling were completed in the dining room.
The four downstairs exhibit rooms are furnished with antiques. One room is decorated solely with artifacts donated by Higley family members. Other rooms are decorated with furnishings donated by local families. There is an exhibit of early sports, farming, commercial and trade artifacts in the back “ell”. A display of six locally made antique carriages may be seen in an open shed on the grounds.