Jillson House

Photograph of Jillson House Museum today courtesy of Jerry Dougherty.
Jillson House Museum today

Willimantic's Jillson House Museum is located at 627 Main Street in a two-story stone building that originally was the home of William Jillson. William was the eldest of the three Jillson Brothers--the others were Asa and Seth Jillson--who came from Massachusetts in 1824 and purchased land for a cotton mill along the banks of the Willimantic River. The brothers built large, comfortable houses for themselves, with William's directly across Main Street (then known as the Turnpike Road) from the mill.

The granite-like stone that makes up the walls of the Jillson House was quarried from the banks and bed of the nearby Willimantic River. Classified as granitic gneiss, the stone is durable yet easily shaped, making it an excellent building material. In this type of ashlar masonry, courses of rectangular slabs set on end alternate with courses of similar stones set on their sides, so as to tie together the inner and outer layers of stonework. The mill and millworker houses that once stood opposite the Jillson House on the south side of Main Street were built of similar stone masonry.

The Jillson House undergoing restoration, 1973
Jillson House Museum 1973

In the early 1970s, the building, then in a deteriorated state, was completely restored and now serves as the the museum and headquarters for the Windham Historical Society.

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