Archive for the ‘1st Period’ Category

Happy Friday Readers, I’m back! This week’s Fantasy is a pretty great one, if I do say so myself. Today’s Fantasy is America’s oldest surviving timber frame home: the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Built between 1637 and 1641, the Fairbanks house has weathered well over 350 years and is still around for us to enjoy and study today.  Interestingly enough, we can really pinpoint the construction period for the Fairbanks house because the organization that owns the house requested a dendrochronology study to determine an exact date. For those unfamiliar with dendrochronology, it is the study of the age of a timber by counting the growth rings of the timber and comparing them to other rings formed at a known point in time.  The process is most often used to date the timbers that make up a house frame. (Photos from Wikipedia)

The house is a great example of continuous New England architecture.  Like many other venerable manses across our stony countryside, especially the ubiquitous connected farmsteads of the 19th century, it was slowly added onto over the years to become the house we see today.  The saltbox lean-to on the north side of the house was likely added later in the 17th century.  The east and west gambrel-roofed wings were added about a century later, when an extended unit of the Fairbanks family all lived there together. Both the small addition extending to the west off of the lean-to (originally built as a dairy, and later converted into the privy) and the mud room attached to the east wing were built during the 19th century. (For more information on continuous architecture, get yourself a copy of the book Little House Big House Back House Barn. Great book, you won’t regret it!)

The history of the Fairbanks house is, as you might guess, inextricably tied to the lives of the Fairbanks family.  The Fairbanks family called this place home for nearly 300 years, ending in 1904 when the last remaining descendant moved away at the age of 76.  Shortly after the house ceased its existence as a residence, the Fairbanks Family Association (a genealogical membership group made up of descendants of Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks, the family’s first immigrants to America and first owners of the house) purchased it and opened it to the public.

This intriguing link to 17th century New England is certainly an architectural treasure, but it continues to provide glimpses into the lives of its residents, as well, through the family furniture that’s found its way back home (or never left), and archaeological deposits around the grounds that continue to be studied.  It’s worth a visit to take a moment to step back in time and experience a home that’s been a part of over three centuries of history, and was the place that eight generations of a single family called home.

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the Countries oldest timber frame home.


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Hello Readers.

If you are anything like a lot of Preservationists (or Old House enthusiasts, if you don’t feel you fall under the Preservationist label), chances are, you like to look at historic houses for sale. Whether or not you’re actually in the market, sometimes it’s just nice to dream!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a great page where they list historic homes for sale,  They even have a  weekly blog that features some of the properties.  Here’s a recent post.

Now that you know of a couple of ways to kill an hour (or more) day-dreaming about what life would be like in these gorgeous homes, I’m going to feature something a bit closer to home for me, because I like to daydream. Fair warning, though!  I’ve been on a First Period/Georgian jag recently and this affects my choices…. Oh, and another warning…. please don’t hate me if you fall in love with this house immediately and start scheming up ways to sell your firstborn child in exchange for the amazing Samuel Davis House. Just in case you have an extra $800k lying about and you promise to at least give me a tour (or you want to get me an early Christmas gift….), here is a proper listing for the house. This listing is where many of these pictures are from, but there are more for you to ogle, if you actually go to the listing.

The Davis House was built in around 1680. It’s a fabulous Salt Box (have I mentioned my love of salt-boxes before?) and appears to be in pristine even “museum quality” condition… if you speak Realtor.

Can’t you just see your replica pewter tankards and redware in that corner cupboard? (Okay… maybe Ash and I are some of only a handful of people with replica pewter and redware… but you get the point)

Wallace Nutting called, he wants his photo-shoot back! Still though… Check out that hearth, even the gun seems “quaint” (again I’m channeling my inner Realtor).

And just in case you want to go fully Authentic, there is plenty of room on the grounds for you to plant your cuttings garden, so you can practice natural dying for your homespun textiles, flower and herb drying and midwifery!
Well, that’s all for today everyone, and I sincerely apologize for any drooling that your day-dreaming may cause!
Have a great weekend!

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