The 1678 Joshua Hempsted House in New London is one of New England’s oldest and most well documented dwellings. It was home to the Hempsted family until 1937. Adjacent to the Joshua Hempsted House is a rare stone house built in 1759 for Nathaniel Hempsted by Acadian exiles. Both structures survived the 1781 burning of New London and stand today as testaments of 17th and 18th-century daily life. Joshua Hempsted the second was born in 1678 in the house that bears his name. From 1711 until his death in 1758, Joshua kept a diary, which today is one of the best sources about life in colonial New London. Joshua’s diary provides hundreds of pages of valuable information, as well as his insight about early New London people and activities. The Joshua Hempsted House was also a site of northern slavery. Adam Jackson, an enslaved farmer, was purchased by the diarist from the estate of Samuel Fox in 1727. Adam lived in the house until at least 1758 doing farm work at this property, Hempsted’s Stonington farm. In 1800, an enslaved woman Dinah lived in the house and ran away in 1803. The stone Nathaniel Hempsted House was constructed by Joshua’s grandson Nathaniel Hempsted. He was a merchant and one of three rope makers in maritime New London. The Hempsted Houses engage the public in understanding the historical roots, development and current-day implications of issues related to equality and freedom, with a special focus on slavery, and empower people to make a difference.
Open for tours May through October
May – Oct.: Sat. & Sun., 1 – 4 pm
For school groups and special curriculum-based programming, to reserve tours for groups of 10 or more, or to rent the facility, please call the Hempsted Houses at (860) 443-7949.
Students with ID, Seniors 60+, AAA members, TRHP Members & Teachers: $10
TRHP Senior Members: $8
Children age 6-18: $5
New London Residents, Children under 6 & CTL Members: Free
Family Price (2 adults & unlimited number of children): $25
Enjoy an in-depth tour of the Joshua and Nathaniel Hempsted Houses. Learn about the life of Joshua the diarist and his family and view colonial artifacts.
Discover the rich and diverse history of the Hempsteds’ neighborhood! Scheduled walking tours will feature a discussion of the rich African-American heritage in New London.
Join the Thames River Heritage Park Bus Tour, Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives, and visit the Hempsted Houses, along with other local sites. https://www.
From the East: Take I-95 N & take exit #83A. Follow Huntington Street through downtown New London, past the Old Court House & turn right onto Jay Street. The Hempsted Houses are prominently situated a couple blocks down on the right at the corner of Jay & Hempstead Streets.
From Hartford via Rte 85: Take Route 2 South to Route 11 toward New London. Take the last exit on Route 11 & turn left on Route 82. Turn right on Route 85 and follow into New London. Make a right onto Hempstead Street (there is a large stone church on the left hand side). Hempsted Street curves to the left. The museum is on the left hand side.