In 1882 H.A.C. Taylor, who had homes in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island, began to buy farmland in Portsmouth RI. His first purchase of 111 acres from Halsey P. Coon, included two dwelling houses, a grist mill, two barns, and two cribs. Through 1909, Taylor and his son, Moses, continued to add additional farms for a total accumulation of over 700 acres of excellent grazing and farm land. Around 1889 they had begun breeding Guernsey cows at Glen Farm. These cows comprised an outstanding herd, winning many prizes when they were shown at competitive contests.
By the 1920’s H.A.C. Taylor developed plans to build a proper home on his farm. He hired the famous architect, John Russel Pope, to design the home. Pope was an architect of world-wide fame, having designed the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, among other significant achievements. His design of the Glen Manor House was based on the French Petit Trianon at Versailles, and was quite unique to the area. The plans were completed in September of 1921 and construction began soon afterward. H.A.C. Taylor had died in May of 1921 and the work was continued by his son, Moses Taylor.
The house was completed in 1923, and the Taylors moved in for a part of the year. The Glen Manor House had extraordinary gardens, somewhat Italian in their design, and the landscaping was magnificent. The farm was well-known and highly regarded on the show circuit for its cows, sheep and horses. Moses Taylor died in 1928, and his widow, later Mrs. Edith Taylor Nicholson, lived in the house until her death in 1953.
Reginal Taylor, son of Moses, sold the estate and 43 acres to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who moved their Elmhurst school here from Providence in September, 1961. The school closed in 1972 and the property was purchased by the Town of Portsmouth on a bond issue.
The Portsmouth Historical Society was asked to create a plan for the use of the Glen Manor House, and from that organization was created the Glen Manor House Authority, a group of volunteers from the town. This group, along with the resident manager, now makes the house available for special functions including weddings & wedding receptions, corporate meetings & events, and private gatherings.