Justin Smith Morrill

Justin Smith Morrill as a young man.
Justin Smith Morrill as a young maJustin S. Morrill (1810-1898) was the chief sponsor of the 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Acts. These were the most important pieces of legislation for American higher education in the 19th century. For the first time, America’s working class and minority citizens had the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Justin Morrill grew up in Strafford, Vermont and had to leave school at age 15. He desperately wanted to attend college, yet his family did not have the means to send him. This did not deter Justin’s intellectual curiosity. He became self-educated in business, architecture, horticulture, and politics. He entered politics in 1854 and served in both the United States House of Representatives and Senate for nearly 44 years.

Etching of Justin Smith Morrill
Etching of Justin Smith Morrill

Morrill’s 1862 Land-Grant Act, followed by the second Act in 1890, allocated the funds from the sale of federal lands to support new Land-Grant colleges and universities that taught agriculture, business, engineering, mechanics and home economics. Today the 105 Land-Grant colleges and universities have over 25 million graduates worldwide.

Senator Morrill’s Homestead in Strafford, Vermont, a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture, is a Vermont State Historic Site and open to the public Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

To learn more about the life and times of Senator Justin Morrill, his homestead and educational programs, please contact us.

Visiting & Directions

The Justin Smith Morrill Homestead is located at 214 Justin Morrill Memorial Highway in Strafford, Vermont, only 20 minutes from Interstate 89 (Exit 2) and Interstate 91 (Exit 14).

 

From Interstate Highway I-89, take Exit 2 at Sharon and drive northeast on VT Route 132 for 6 miles to South Strafford Village. In South Strafford take a left at the intersection onto Justin Smith Morrill Highway and drive 2 miles to Strafford Village. The Homestead is located on the right-hand side of the road at the south end of the village.

From Interstate Highway 91, take Exit 14 onto Route 113 North and drive 2.2 miles. Turn left onto Tucker Hill Road and drive 2.3 miles. Turn right onto Route 132 toward South Strafford and travel 2.4 miles. Bear right onto Justin Smith Morrill Highway and travel 2 miles. The Homestead is on the right.

Hours of Operation

In 2017, the house at the Homestead is open for tours from May 27 (Memorial Day weekend) through October 15, Wednesday through Sunday (and holiday Mondays) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tours are conducted on the hour. Admission is $6.00.

Home Tours

For home tour information please contact:

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation
One National Life Drive
Deane C. Davis Building, 6th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-0501
(802) 828-3051.

Please call (802) 828-3051 or (802) 765-4484 ahead of your visit for any changes in hours.

Garden Tours

In 2017, the house at the Homestead is open for tours from May 27 (Memorial Day weekend) through October 15, Wednesday through Sunday (and holiday Mondays) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tours are conducted on the hour. Admission is $6.00. When the site is not officially open the gardens may  be enjoyed during daylight hours at no cost.

News & Events

In addition to being a historic site, The Morrill Homestead is alive with programs, events, and exhibits.  Each year the beautiful Homestead plays host to a variety of educational, insightful, and (always) entertaining happenings.

Check this year’s events and plan to visit! You can even book your place securely online.