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The Justin Morrill Homestead—a state-owned historic site administered by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation—is a 17-room Gothic Revival-style mansion in Strafford, Vermont built by Senator Justin Morrill in 1851. Morrill served in the U.S. House and Senate from 1854 to 1898, and was chief sponsor of the 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Acts, making higher education possible for peoples from all walks of life. As Chairman of the Senate Commission on Public Grounds, in 1873 Morrill commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted to design the landscaping for the U.S. Capitol grounds. Guided tours of Morrill's historic house feature original furnishings and many family possessions. Self-guided interpretive signs lead visitors through exquisite 19th-century Victorian-era gardens exemplifying the Romantic Landscape Movement in America. Outbuildings include an icehouse and interpretive exhibits in an historic barn.
The Friends of the Morrill Homestead is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that fosters a greater awareness of the life and legacy of Senator Justin Morrill and works closely with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to preserve and restore this historic property of national significance. Each year, the Friends offer engaging programs and exciting events and partners with the State of Vermont's Division for Historic Preservation to manage a number of projects and initiatives. As part of these ongoing efforts, the Friends:
• Offer educational programs and workshops in history, horticulture, architecture, art and the environment, including regular gatherings to explore and further the legacy and impact of Senator Morrill's Land Grant Colleges, as well as his work in Capitol art and architecture.
• Produce enriching and entertaining public events, including our annual summer Gallery in the Garden and 19th Century Apple and Harvest Festival.
• Grow and maintain the historically accurate Victorian-era gardens and grounds.
• Support and promote initiatives that further the egalitarian Morrill legacy of higher education for all citizens of the United States and his ground-breaking work to landscape the U.S. Capitol and adorn its buildings with classical art and architecture.
• Advance the longterm plans to reconstruct a replica of the historic Morrill Greenhouse.