Historic New England will be celebrating its centennial on June 5 with free admission to 36 properties. Now that summer is almost here, there couldn't be a better way to celebrate the colonial ambience than visiting as many of these historic sites as possible. To celebrate their centennial year, on Saturday, June 5, the historic properties will be open free to the public. Hours are from 1 to 5 p.m., tours are on the hour, with the last tour starting at 4 p.m.
Roseland Cottage, 1846, Woodstock, Connecticut
For 100 years, Historic New England, formerly known as Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, was started by William Sumner Appleton, Jr. in 1910 for the purpose of preserving buildings, places, and objects with historic significance. Over the years it has shared New England home and family life with millions of visitors. One of the homes on tour is the Jackson House built in 1664, a classic example of early New England architecture and the oldest surviving house in New Hampshire and Maine. It was built by Richard Jackson, a woodworker, farmer, and mariner in the English post-medieval style, but is noticeably American in its use of wood.
Jackson House, 1664, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the oldest surviving house in New Hampshire.
Sarah Orne Jewett House, 1774, South Berwick, Maine
A house on tour in South Berwick, Maine is the Sarah Orne Jewett house built in 1774 in the Georgian architecture style. The house was owned by her family since 1819 and Sarah spent most of her life in this house which provided material for her books. Don't leave South Berwick too soon because Sarah was instrumental in preserving another house in town, the Hamilton House, built in 1785, which was used in her historical romance, The Tory Lover. The Hamilton house is decorated with antiques, painted murals and country furnishings to create America's colonial past. There is a formal garden on the property.
Hamilton House, 1785, South Berwick, Maine
Swett-Isley House, 1670, Newbury, Massachusetts
The Historic New England's first acquisition was the Swett-Isley House purchased in 1911. Built by Stephen Swett, the original portion of the house was constructed on a single-room plan with chimney bay and faced south. In 1720, the home was enlarged and a new roof was added over the existing roof. Although the chimney, which was then located at the northwestern corner of the main block, was retained, the upper stack was probably modified when the new roof was installed. A new central chimney was added. The large fireplace contains three beehive ovens.
Inside the Swett-Isley House
The Boardman House built in 1692 in Saugus, Massachusetts for the young family of William Boardman is another house purchased by Historic New England in 1914. It remains remarkable intact since its construction. The interior is decorated with chamfering and stop chamfering wood decoration When the home was restored, seventeenth century shadow-molded sheathing and eighteenth century sponge painting was uncovered. By 1696, a real lean-to was added for the new kitchen. Although most of the architecture uses the medieval English building traditions the roof was developed by New England carpenters. The home has basically gone unaltered which is a visual window into the seventeenth and eighteenth construction style techniques.
Boardman House, 1692, Saugus, Massachusetts
Rhode Island has four colonial homes that were acquired by Historic New England. One of them is the Arnold House built by Eleazor Arnold in 1693. It is a rare surviving example of a "stone-ender," a once common building practice developed in western England. It was donated to Historic New England by Whipple Arnold and has gone through a complete structural rehabilitation and restoration in 1950.
Arnold House, 1693, Lincoln, Rhode Island
Another stone-ender building donated to Historic New England is the Clemence-Irons House built in 1691 by Richard Clemence. Through the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, the home has grown to thirteen rooms. In order to return the home to its original seventeenth appearance, Norman Isham was commissioned to determine the original architecture of the home. The original home consisted of one-and-a-half stories with a rear lean-to and a steep gable room. Unlike the typical one room plan, he found evidence of four rooms on the first floor.
Clemence-Irons House, 1691, Johnston, Rhode Island
The properties that will be open to the public are:
Connecticut - Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, 1846.
Maine - Castle Tucker, Wiscasset, 1807, Hamilton House, South Berwick, c. 1785, Sarah Orne Jewett House, South Berwick, 1774, Marrett House, Standish, 1789, Nickels-Sortwell House, Wiscasset, 1807, Sayward-Wheeler House, York Harbor, c. 1718.
Massachusetts - Beauport Sleeper-McCann House, Gloucester, 1907, Boardman House, Saugus, 1692, Browne House, Watertown, c. 1698, Codman Estate, Lincoln, c. 1740, Coffin House, Newbury, 1678, Cogswell's Grant, Essex, 1728, Cooper-Frost-Austin House, Cambridge, 1681, Dole-Little House, Newbury, c. 1715, Gedney House, Salem, 1665, Gropius House, Lincoln, 1938, Lyman Estate Greenhouses, Waltham, 1804, Merwin House, Stockbridge, c. 1825, Otis House Museum, Boston, 1796, Pierce House, Dorchester, 1683, Phillips House, Salem, 1821, Quincy House, Quincy, 1770, Rocky Hill Meeting House, Amesbury, 1785, Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury, c. 1690, Swett-Isley House, Newbury, c. 1670, Winslow Crocker House, Yarmouth Port, c. 1780.
New Hampshire - Barrett House, New Ipswich, c. 1800, Gilman Garrison House, Exeter, 1709, Jackson House, Portsmouth, 1664, Governor John Langdon House, Portsmouth, 1784, Rundlet-May House, Portsmouth, 1807.
Rhode Island - Arnold House, Lincoln, 1693, Casey Farm, Saundertown, c. 1750, Clemence-Irons House, Johnston, 1691, Watson Farm, Jamestown, 1796.
Most of the homes on tour date between the mid-1600's to the early 1820's, but there are a few that date into the twentieth century. Historic New England has hundreds of years of history to share with visitors. If you can visit only a few of the houses on June 5, the homes will be open all summer for a nominal fee. Visit Historic New England's website for hours.Source: Bryan Wright
Historic New England
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