The yellow house at the bottom of Exit 32 off I-95, on West Broad Street, Perry House is the oldest house in Stratford.

It was built by Benjamin Beach during the first expansion of Stratford in 1680. The home of a shipbuilder, according to the Perry House Website, the house reflected a community focused on the Housatonic River and sea, with shipping, shipbuilding and fishing.

Isaiah Brown remodeled the house into a “saltbox” in 1740, adding a blacksmith shop. As a member of Stratford’s Committee of Observation, Brown was assigned to identify Tory spies and sympathizers during the Revolution. George Washington passed the house, on what was then known as Kings Highway, no less than seven times, once with the Marquis de Lafayette.

In 1853, William Perry, a respected politician and probate judge, purchased the home for his wife and 10 children. His name continues to be associated with the house to this day.

The west parlor served as a school from 1889 to 1898, and the house saw a succession of owners.

While Interstate 95 was being constructed in the mid 1950s, Jessie Murphy made substantial changes to accommodate three rental apartments. She left the house to the town in her will in 1981, and it was listed with the Department of the Interior two years later.

By 1997, Perry House was in need of renovation, and there was pressure to raze it to provide additional parking for the Baldwin Community Center. The house was saved through the work of concerned residents who recognized its potential as Stratford’s oldest structure at the gateway to Main Street and the historic town center. They still say the house can serve as a symbol of Stratford’s colonial heritage while demonstrating the town’s ability to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

The Perry House Foundation was established in 2004 to oversee the restoration of the house and to ensure its continuing role in welcoming visitors, teaching history, and participating in the life of the community well into the future.

An expansion is planned, supported by state funds, to allow the house to host more events such as weddings and meetings.

Information can be found at perryhousestratford.org.