Historic Sites and Buildings – Massachusetts

Massachusetts Historic Sites and Buildings:

View of Boston from Dorchester Heights, by Robert Havell, 1841.

Cole’s Hill, Plymouth Rock & the Plymouth Hall Museum, Plymouth

Fairbanks House, Dedham

House of Seven Gables, Salem

Jethro Coffin House, Nantucket Island

John Ward House, Salem

Old Ship Church, Hingham

Parson Capen House, Topsfield

Paul Revere House, Boston

Peter Tufts House, Medford

Rebecca Nurse House, Danvers

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Saugus

Scotch-Boardman House, Saugus

Whipple House, Ipswich

William Harlow House, Plymouth

Cole’s Hill, Plymouth Rock, and the Plymouth Hall Museum, Plymouth – The settlement of the Puritans — later to be known as “Pilgrims” — at Plymouth in 1620 looms large in the development of New England and the United States. Unfortunately, virtually all the historic sites relating to the earliest period of the settlement have lost their original character and convey little impression of the colony. One exception is Cole’s Hill, which is still the dominant landmark of Plymouth Harbor. The view from the hill of land and harbor and sea conveys a vivid impression of the scene that greeted the Mayflower’s weary passengers. More ….

Fairbanks House, Dedham, MA

Fairbanks House, Dedham – The Fairbanks House is perhaps the oldest frame house standing in the United States and is an excellent example of the “growing house” of colonial times. The original portion of the house was built about 1637 or 1638 by Jonathan Fayerbanke, who moved to Dedham from Boston in September, 1636. The center portion of the present house is the oldest. As Fayerbanke added to his wealth and land, he added to the size of his home. The original house consisted of a small porch, hall, and parlor downstairs, and bedchambers upstairs. A lean-to was later added at the back of the house and, perhaps in 1641, a wing on the east side. Still later, around 1654, the west wing was added. The two wings, which have typical New England gambrel roofs, were undoubtedly completed no later than the time of Fayerbanke’s death, in 1668.

From the entry porch in the original portion of the house, stairs lead around the chimney to two second-floor bedrooms. The east wing is entered by a small porch in the angle where the wing joins the original house. This wing has a parlor and small bedroom on the lower floor, and a large second-floor room which is reached by a winding stairway. The west wing, which is entered from the hall of the original house, was probably used as sleeping quarters by laborers on the farm. Some authorities believe that the original house was built with oak timbers brought from England — a custom of emigrants that originated in the need to erect houses quickly for defensive purposes.

Today, the Fairbanks House, which has always been in the possession of the Fairbanks family, is open to the public. It is furnished with family heirlooms. In spite of interior alterations occasioned by repairs, plastering, painting, and wallpapering, the antiquity and authenticity of the structure is obvious even to the casual observer. The house is excellently maintained — a labor of love on the part of the Fairbanks descendants, for whom the dwelling is a family shrine. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Fairbanks House

511 East Street
Dedham, Massachusetts  02026

House of the Seven Gables – Salem, Massachusetts. View of the house side, showing oldest part of the house.

House of Seven Gables, Salem – Long known as the Turner House, the House of Seven Gables is now identified — perhaps inaccurately — with the novel of the same name, published in 1852, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The earliest section of the weather beaten, rambling house was built in 1668 by a Salem sea captain and merchant named John Turner. It was occupied by three generations of the Turner family before being sold to Captain Samuel Ingersoll in 1782. An active captain during the Great Age of Sail, Ingersoll died at sea leaving the property to his daughter Susanna, a cousin of famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s visits to his cousin’s home are credited with inspiring the setting and title of his 1851 novel The House of the Seven Gables.

Showing medieval influence, the house has been expanded at various times and the number of gables increased from the original four to seven. In 1910, it was restored. Numerous pieces of furniture used by various owners are exhibited, as well as items associated with Nathaniel Hawthorne. The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association owns and operates the property.

Over time the organization’s trustees acquired and moved to the site five additional 17th, 18th and 19th century structures: The Retire Becket House (1655); The Hooper Hathaway House (1682); Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace (c1750); The Phippen House (c1782); and The Counting House (c 1830). Today, The House of the Seven Gables’ campus constitutes is own national historic district on The National Register of Historic Places. The property is open to the public throughout the year.

House of Seven Gables

115 Derby Street
Salem, Massachusetts 01970

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