The James Merrill House is a late-Victorian building on Water Street in the village of Stonington, Connecticut. The James Merrill House is noted for its forty-one-year association with its namesake, the poet James Ingram Merrill, who first came to Stonington in 1954 with his partner, David Jackson. There, on 107 Water Street, Merrill spent his summers in the third-floor apartments with Jackson until Merrill’s death in 1995. Adding an attic studio and rooftop deck to the third floor, the two men used their apartment at 107 Water Street as their private living space, workspace, and guest space.
In 1995, the Stonington Village Improvement Association inherited the building from Merrill and decided to leave the apartment and furnishings intact in honor of Merrill as well as to provide a place for visiting writers to live and work. The third floor and attic studio are reserved for use by writers selected as part of the James Merrill Writer-in-Residence program, which offers residencies ranging from two weeks to four and a half months.
A static remnant of Merrill’s life, the apartment still sports many of Merrill’s books, records, and personal items, as well as the unique décor Merrill loved, including his commissioned bat wallpaper, which he mentioned in his famous book-length epic The Changing Light at Sandover.
In 2016, the National Park Service named the James Merrill House a national landmark for its national literary significance.
For more information on the James Merrill House and the writer-in-residence program, visit the website.