The oldest houses in Gloucester, MA

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  1. Great photographs and a precious document. Thank you. GLO.140 and GLO.773 are with the same photograph, but different descriptions. Are there any information about the house at 502 Washington Street in Gloucester? I have been told that the house was built around 1790 and that it belonged to a Gloucester mayor.

  2. Why is there no pictures of the Herrick/Cole home on Coles Island? That I have been inside and I believe Pru knows about its history.

      • Gordon, I have a write up from Ann Mae Huke, who graciously showed me the house one day as I was staring at it with interest because it had my husbands Surname on it. The Cole Island house has this information: Benjamin Herrick came in possession of the house after the marriage of Samuel and Prudence Haskell in 1733. Or it could have been built by Benjamin after his marriage to Emma Gove in 1765. Although Benjamin Herrick bought numerous pieces of land including pastureland, thatch, and salt marsh there is no record of his ever buying an existing house. He did inherit 1/6 of his father, Samuel Herrick’s estate. Samuel died in 1764. His widow inherited her dower’s share or 1/3. The children (6) inherited the other 2/3 of the estate. The widow died in 1774 and her dower’s share was again divided between the 6 children.
        Since this building style prevailed from the mid eighteenth century until the Revolution or beyond, it could easily have been built by either Herrick in the period 1735 to 1765.
        The size and proportion of the rooms, the configuration of the Georgian panelling with the two small panels in the middle, and the height of the ceilings probably suggest a mid eighteenth century date and could well indicate Benjamin as the builder soon after his marriage.
        William Cole received the property in 1794 from Benjamin Herrick, a cordwainer.
        And that is all I know of this great home. The kitchen fireplace and warming oven is emmense. So beautiful.

  3. The house at 18 Arlington Street, Annisquam was the home of Asa Woodbury. Date: 1792.
    Do you have an image of this property?

  4. This is so fascinating. I hope to come and see all of this later this year. I’m a descendant of Roger Haskell, brother of William. (Haskell House). Is there any information about where he lived or his son Mark and family? I’ve been reading and can’t find as much about him and his family as I can about William and his wife.
    I’d love to know how that part of the family fit into this area.
    Cindy Divine Olsen

  5. This is so fascinating. I hope to come and see all of this later this year. I’m a descendant of Roger Haskell, brother of William. (Haskell House). Is there any information about where he lived or his son Mark and family? I’ve been reading and can’t find as much about him and his family as I can about William and his wife.
    I’d love to know how that part of the family fit into this area.
    Cindy Divine Olsen

  6. My relatives used to live in the house now at 41 Gee Ave. (The Anthony Bennett house). From what my dad said the family bought it from the ancestors of the Bennetts. Not sure if thats true. But they lived there and had a farm. I have several very old photos of the house. I think they lived there till the 1960s, then moved a few houses down to a smaller house. My relatives names were Lemuel III, Mary (maiden name Rowe). And Lemuel IV, William, Ella, and Eva.

  7. I️ was wondering if there is any additional information about the Gilbert-Butler-Stanley House at 829 Western Ave.
    My mother, Virginia MacEachern used to speak of her Stanley Grandmother, who had 8 fisherman brothers, (who never married) and 2 sisters( one of whom married a Boudreau). Her Gramma married a MacEachern from Prince Edward Island.
    Thank you for your time,
    Anne Dunford

    • The only information I have is from the link on the page: GLO.1115, Gilbert – Butler – Stanley House, 729 Western Ave, c 1704 . It takes you to, and then you can read the PDF Inventory description, which I’ve copied as follows: “The core of this house may date form 1704 when Jonathan Gilbert built a 22′ by 18′ house on this site. The Gilbert family was one of the first families to settle in Magnolia. At one time during the 18th century, the house was used as a tavern and coach house for the Salem-Gloucester stage. By 1851, the house and a large amount of surrounding land belonged to Daniel Butler, a prosperous farmer. The Butler family sold this house by 1899, but retained the surrounding land until the 1930’s”

  8. According to this article the William Haskell house was owned by my 3rd great grandfather A. Ireland. He was married to Elizabeth Herrick. I looked at the William Haskell house web page and in it’s history section makes no mention of any other owner. I’d like to know what happened there. If A. Ireland owned it in 1899 as this article states why is there no mention of it? Can anyone give me information on this and other houses owned by A. Ireland (Alfred Ireland)?

  9. Wonderful work on researching these gems. Many of these are my ancestors’ homes and I have never seen them before. I hope to visit the area at some point in the future and retrace the steps of my family. I’d like to mention that you noted on the Haskell – Herrick tavern ( Glo. 1056) that the Haskell’s and Herrick’s are probably related. I have Prudence Haskell married to Samuel Herrick in the mid 1700s in Gloucester. Prudence is the daughter of Benjamin Haskell who died without issue. I don’t know if this is in anyway related to this house but it is roughly in the same time period. Thank you for putting this all together.

    – Sarah Herrick

  10. I would like to correct the information on the house which is called the Caleb Norwood house, Annisquam. It belongs to me and the Macris info is wrong. The house was built in the 1760’s by Oliver Griffin, most likely right before or after his marriage in 1761. He built this house on land he received from his father Samuel Griffin, Housewright, who lived in an early 18th century house behind this house, at the end of Dennis ct.

  11. What a great effort. This is a valuable document on Gloucester architecture. Some of the dates have changed since the information was published or the inventories completed without deed research or dendrochronology. The two houses that are undisputably seventeenth century are the Ella Proctor Herrick house on Concord Street and the Edward Haradan house in Annisquam. The steep pitch of the roof is a giveaway of an early date. Most are 18th century. The story of the Wheeler-Ives house is the worst ever desecration to a National Register house. The chimney was removed. What you seein the photo is a box enclosing pipes from zero clearance fireplaces. Preservationists will not soon forget what happened to that house.

  12. Great collection, thank you! I was surprised to not see the Ben Adams Cottage listed at 62 Shore Rd circa 1646

  13. The house at 144 Wheeler st was built prior to 1640. The picture of the house is in correct. When the house was sold by the Ives family to the Steel family they completely changed it even though they promised not to.

    • Thanks for your reply Victoria, The GLO.102 link from Mass Historic has a much earlier photo, before the house was updated, but the configuration of the windows shows that the earlier and older photos are the same building. The MACRIS information as well as other online sources state that attribution of the house to the earlier date is no longer accepted as factual. I would be happy to add your photos and information.

    • This house is a very well known house and was NOT built before 1640. The Dyke Wheeler house was a great early 18th century house before it was totally renovated and added onto.

    • Victoria, we Steeles promised to not change the original 4 rooms – it is in the deed. We have spent approximately $200,000 to preserve those first-period rooms as they were, on the inside. They had not been well maintained, so we rebuilt them from outside-in (the supported structure was rotted). The rooms are first-period except for the outer supporting structure. For the same reason, we had to remove the original fireplace, as it was unstable and had had multiple chimney fires. Stop by to see the work we did to preserve this lovely home!

  14. Great collection of old houses and histories. Thanks! There are three houses with the same photo though, #60, #288, # 764, just FYI! Awesome work.

    • Thanks, I could not find it in the town directory or the MACRIS site, but I found it with Bing maps and added the photo to the page. Do we know any history of this house?

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