Featured image: The Whipple house when it was at its original location on Saltonstall Street.
United State Department of the Interior,
First Period Buildings of Eastern Massachusetts
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- View the 2007 updated list and descriptions of First and Second Period houses in Ipswich
In his landmark studies, “Massachusetts and its First Period Buildings” (1979) and The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 (1979), architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings demonstrates that eastern Massachusetts contains the greatest concentration of First Period structures in the nation. Cummings studied physical evidence of more than 100 First Period buildings to establish patterns of construction and decorative finish. He determined links between building practices in Massachusetts Bay and earlier English prototypes, demonstrating the New World carpenters’ and housewrights’ adaptation of construction techniques to a new environment.
As a group, the collection of First Period dwellings illustrates patterns reflecting both an evolution over time and, by the first quarter of the eighteenth century, the transition in the vernacular from the First Period to Georgian concepts of architecture. In the course of his study, Cummings documented more than 100 buildings and analyzed much of the information about the earliest period of New England settlement gathered by earlier antiquarians, historians, and architects. The present study of First Period buildings supports Cummings hypothesis that there are close links between English post-medieval domestic buildings in which the New World settlers were raised, and those that they and their descendants built in America. Many of the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony came from East Anglia; a smaller, but highly significant group emigrated from the southwestern counties of England. An examination of humble dwellings and ways of life in these regions of England provides important clues to the origin of the house plan similar to that found in Massachusetts.
Examples of the most common two-room, central-chimney plan can be found in both early seventeenth century East Anglia and in First Period Massachusetts Bay dwellings. This plan, in fact, has survived for 350 years and today is still found in the Cape Cod house and other “colonial” designs. English precedents can be identified for First Period frame construction, roof design, and, to a large extent, the use of materials and decorative features. For instance, in Essex and Suffolk, England, a distinct lack of stone meant that the timber frame prevailed. The same type of construction occurred in New England, but for different reasons.
In most regions of Essex and Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts, a scarcity of lime for mortar, too, made timber the preferred building material. Trends have been identified for decorative treatments as well, although in this case, many of these trends are regional as well as having English precedents. The evidence of one carpenter in certain areas and the connection with a specific region in England has been traced, as have the changes that evolved as carpenters and housewrights adapted to different conditions.
The identification of specific patterns of countywide building preferences and, especially, the large number of later First Period houses is important for increasing the understanding of craftsmanship in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century New England. For example, the use of a transverse summer beam supported by a post with a decorated carved shoulder, rather than the longitudinal summer beam is a feature that was concentrated in Essex County in and around Salem. This was a regional building trend apparently transported from the West Country of England; many of the early carpenters in the Salem area can be traced to the West Country. Cummings has suggested that in later decades of the eighteenth century there occurred a “revival” of heavier timber construction.
Preliminary evidence of those houses identified as “transitional” in this nomination suggests that such is the case, and the evidence calls into question the reliability of using certain construction features (e.g., joist spacing) for the purpose of dating later buildings. On the other hand, it confirms the relationship of other features, such as the appearance of quirked beading and reduced width of flat chamfers to a later First Period or transitional date. In summary, the group of First Period buildings is important for its representation of the development of house plans, the timber-frame construction techniques, and the decorations applied to structural members. The precedents for this style and form can often be traced to English prototypes, specifically to regions of England (East Anglia and the West Counties) from which early New England carpenters and housewrights migrated. ;and lacking in research that can enhance our understanding of these early life patterns.
PERIODS OF FIRST PERIOD HOUSE CONSTRUCTION
Houses Built before ca. 1660. There are three broad age categories to which First Period architecture is generally assigned. The first and earliest covers the decades from settlement to about 1660 “when the first immigrant generation of preponderantly younger settlers had come to full maturity.” Cummings has identified ten extant houses in Massachusetts for which structural evidence suggests construction before this date.
Houses Built from 1660-1700. After the earliest decades of direct transfer of many English vernacular architectural forms and building practices, New England buildings were increasingly designed and built by carpenters trained within the region and only occasionally influenced by new immigrant craftsmen. These “second generation” buildings have highly decorated wooden frames, are structurally more complex than earlier surviving examples, and fall into a limited number of common plan types. Most characteristic of their interior finish are chamfers with a number of decorative “stops” used on posts, carrying timbers, and other exposed interior framing members.
Houses Built from ca. 1700 to 1725. House frames built from ca. 1700 to ca. 1715 often exhibit less decorative embellishment than the wide or bold chamfers and stops of earlier decades. This is especially true of the character of the chamfering on major timbers which, instead of having quarter-round or wide decorative bevels, displayed narrowed or simplified reductions of older work. By about 1710-1715, carved and molded decoration became less popular; interiors were increasingly embellished with applied moldings and the frame was finished with “quirked beading” along the exposed edges of the timbers. By about 1725, the frame was likely to be boxed instead of decorated and enclosed rather than exposed, as the Renaissance influence of the Georgian style reached New England. The carpenter was superseded by the joiner as the primary craftsman responsible for introducing raised panel decoration for fireplace walls and other interior finishes.
DOMESTIC PLAN TYPES AND BUILDING FORMS
Single Eell: Among domestic buildings, there is less variation of floor plan in Massachusetts Bay Colony towns than in surrounding colonial settlements. The basic unit of construction throughout the period was the single cell, a single room of usually two structural bays, plus an end chimney bay in which the primary entrance and staircase were usually located in front of the chimney stack. The next most numerous house type was the double cell or “hall and parlor” ground floor plan separated by a central chimney bay with a front lobby entrance. One-room-plan houses include some of the earliest constructed, and they continued to be built well into the eighteenth century. Single Cell with lean-tos at Rear: Of the large group of single-cell First Period cores, more than half a dozen also had an early or original one-story lean-to. Most lean-tos were located to the rear of the main room, as evidence suggests for the plans of the Smith House in Ipswich
Single Cells Enlarged to Central Chimney Plans, a second room added at both stories. These additions transformed the original house size to the second major type of First Period floor plan, the central chimney, two-room, 2 1/2-story “hall and parlor” house type. The houses that were built in two First Period phases, growing from single- to double-cell central chimney plan include the Ross Tavern, Ipswich Two-Cell Central Chimney Plan, Two Stories plus Attic. The double-cell plan, which evolved from the East Anglican farmhouse with central chimney and lobby entrance in front of the chimney stack, was nearly as common a building type during the First Period as was the single-cell with various lower additions. (The former plan was well-established in East Anglia by the beginning of the 17th century, and spread to the western counties as the century progressed.)
Five-Room Central Chimney with lean-to Plan: Both one- and two-cell houses commonly had additional ground floor rooms in lean-tos, usually located behind the chimney on the rear wall. By the last decades of the seventeenth century, the framing structure of the house and roof were modified to enclose a wider rear range beneath an integral lean-to roof. This type appeared in Massachusetts Bay by the late 1680’s, including the Paine-Dodge House, Ipswich, ca. 1703 and the Smith House, Ipswich, (ca. 1725)
Two-Room-Deep, End-Chimney Plan. One exception to the homogeneity suggested by the limited range of Massachusetts Bay plans built with First Period construction methods is the arrangement of two rooms, one behind the other, with an end chimney. This “half-house” plan type is found in the Captain Joseph Gould House; in Topsfield.
Double Cell, Two-Room Deep, Raised Five Room Center-Chimney Plan (on both floors): By the end of the 17th century in surrounding colonies, but as late as ca. 1720 in the surviving examples found in this; area, the first-story plan of five rooms with lean-to was continued to the second floor under a wider and somewhat lower pitched roof. The only known example of this form type is the Capt. Joseph Gould House in Topsfield built in the early 1700s and enlarged to a central chimney plan in the late First Period.
Central Hall Plan Houses: Continued reliance on First Period methods of structural carpentry and decorative embellishment can be seen in a small number of brick houses, with none in Ipswich
Timber Frame. Almost all Massachusetts First Period architecture is timber-framed. The key components are a box frame composed of sills, posts, plates, girts, and bridging and/or binding beams. Above the house frame is a roof constituting a separate structural system. Between the corner and chimney posts, regularly spaced studs usually provide additional vertical support and originally served to contain wattle-and-daub (as in the ca. 1680-1690 Giddings-Burnham House in Ipswich. The studs also provide support for exterior horizontal boarding, although on occasion clapboards were nailed directly to the studs.
Alternative Walling Systems: There were three building systems which involved alternative walling methods in eastern Massachusetts during this period. Each was a relatively minor variant to the box frame. These were plank framing; log walling and brick masonry.
Plank Frame: Plank framing, like the thinner vertical-board cladding of early barns, did not entirely eliminate the box frame itself. Rather, in these buildings, vertical plank sheathing was substituted for the studs, while corner posts and braces were retained as with the house on Labor in Vain Road in Ipswich, ca. 1720-1730.
Log Walling: “Log” walling was an alternative to the box frame and has been associated with the sawmills of northern New England. It refers to walls built not of un-hewn logs, but of closely spaced and squared timbers dovetailed or jointed at the corners. The only First Period example of log building in Massachusetts, the Old Garrison House in Rockport, is of hewn timbers some 9 inches deep and up to 18 inches high. Brick Masonry. A small group of six known brick houses located in the West Newbury, Haverhill and Bradford area of Essex County form a unique cluster of late First Period transitional houses. Although all but one are two room with central passage plan, some retain interior timber-framed construction methods in combination with late First Period interior embellishments characteristic of the first decades of the eighteenth century. (The most complete is the Peaslee Garrison in Rock Village, Haverhill.)
Non-Domestic Structures. The only non-domestic structures of First Period construction identified in this nomination are three barns, a reused schoolhouse, and the frame of a meetinghouse. The barns are each typical “English” barn types with side entrances into a series of bays formed by transverse framing units, or “bents, ” composed of posts, cross timbers, and rafters that were raised as units during construction. Difficult to date, barns “rarely gesture to the clockwork progression of stylistic details.” An example is the pre-1730 Abraham Howe barn in Ipswich now reused as a house.
First Period building in eastern Massachusetts continued and extended the English timber-framing traditions that had evolved through the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The greater concentration of settlers from the eastern counties of England made the box-frame system of construction (and probably the principal/common rafter roof) the dominant pattern in Massachusetts, as in all of New England, throughout not only the seventeenth but also well into the eighteenth century. In addition, significant concentrations of immigrants from the Western English counties, particularly in the North Shore communities of Beverly, Salem, and Essex, introduced some of the more distinctive variants on the First Period Style, such as the transverse first-story summer beam, the “molded” post head, and the principal and purlin roof.
STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FIRST PERIOD TIMBER FRAMING
In Massachusetts, as elsewhere in New England, patterns were derived from English post-medieval carpentry traditions. The patterns evolved and developed into sub-regional patterns or competing building methods generally available to clients. Cummings: research concentrates on the direct transfer of English technology, especially that of the early and middle-seventeenth century. The Overhang. The framing of an overhanging second story, known as a “jetty, ” was not the product of initial settlement but of the full flowering of Colonial society in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The complexity of such construction, often considered a major characteristic of the First Period, was actually part of a “late seventeenth-century flowering of post-medieval architectural forms.” Framed overhangs, like facade gables, were “nonfunctional indices of material well-being or status” and mark these houses as those of economically prominent individuals. An example is the Ross Tavern, Ipswich. There is evidence that the half-lapped ceiling beams of the Ross Tavern’s framed overhang were carved or shaped as they projected to carry the overhanging second story. The exterior lower ends of the second-story posts were often carved with decorative pendant drops. The embellishment of the post head, in fact, is a feature common enough in Essex County as to be considered a regional characteristic for that area. Other examples are buildings whose overhang is located at the gable end, formed with molded end girts like those that on the side of the Ross Tavern which is further decorated with shadow-molded sheathing and applied dentils above the projecting girt. As several of these houses are also plank-framed, the hewn overhang may be related to the walling system employed. Examples are the Thomas Low House, Ipswich, ca. 1700; Giddings-Burnham House, Ipswich; ca. 1680-1690.
VARIANT PATTERNS IN EXTERIOR WALLING MATERIALS
Plank. The sixteen Eastern Mass First Period houses with plank walls constitute a pattern of alternative construction associated in New England with water-powered saw mills. Cummings has previously identified the major geographic outlines of this pattern in Massachusetts Bay. While plank building was widespread in Plymouth Colony and can be found in later domestic building in central and western Massachusetts, these sixteen buildings constitute nearly the entire number extant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
FIRST PERIOD ROOF TYPES
Roof framing in eastern Massachusetts usually evolved from specific English post-medieval prototypes. In Massachusetts there are three common structural systems: the principal and common rafter system, the principal rafter and purlin system, and the principal rafter system. While construction details of these roof types can be shown to have had earlier post-medieval English prototypes, these systems continued into the later eighteenth century (to greater or lesser extent) in combination with the undecorated and boxed frame of the later house. The presence of such roof systems, therefore, does not necessarily indicate a date or style, or suggest the hidden presence of First Period construction in the main frame of the house. They, like many earlier house construction details, continue throughout the 18th century irrespective of building’s interior or exterior “style.” The use of specific roof systems, however, suggests a geographic pattern within the area. The principal rafter and purlin system may, as Cummings (1979) has suggested, have evolved from the roof framing of the west of England. In Massachusetts and throughout New England, multiple purlins span the principal rafters at the level of the outer face of the rafters, which are usually located directly above the bay posts, and support vertically laid roofing boards. By the third quarter of the seventeenth century, this system had become predominant and nearly 100 houses in this nomination retain some evidence of such a roof system. This type is particularly concentrated in Essex County, where a large proportion of settlers had migrated from the west of England. Of houses with principal rafter and purlin roofs, only a dozen of the earliest retain evidence of the use of collar beams. Many are found only on the part of the roof covering the oldest section. Roof framing above a later First Period addition usually lacked collar beams. Consequently, the presence of roof collars in the Low House, Ipswich, is the primary evidence of its First Period construction, as the internal frame is now boxed. Buildings with principal rafter and purlin roofs include the Ross Tavern, Ipswich; 3rd quarter & later roof; and the Giddings-Burnham House, Ipswich, ca. 1680-1690.
Rafters: In the principal and common rafter system, principal rafters of heavy section occur at bay or transverse intervals. Common rafters are smaller, act as intermediaries between principal rafters, and are supported by purlins. Principal rafters may or may not have collar beams. Horizontal roof boards rest on the outer face of both sets of rafters. Cummings finds this roof type to be “the characteristic post-medieval English roof frame especially prevalent in the eastern counties” and also notes its 18th century revival. Originating in East Anglia, it had spread throughout England by the seventeenth century.
Less frequently found is the roof system composed of closely and regularly spaced pairs of principal rafters (without purlins). This system, too, may or may not employ collar beams. Here, the regularly spaced rafters themselves support horizontal roof sheathing. This system predominates in Middlesex County, where it also continued as a variant throughout the eighteenth century. In contrast to the other roofing systems, the principal rafter system appears to have had no exact English prototype. Cummings has speculated that it may be an American innovation related to the use of wooden shingle as a roof covering. Lighter in weight than English thatch, shingles did not require as much support under the roof boards.
Facade Gables: One feature commonly associated with First Period roof form is the facade gable. A large projecting gable at right angles to the ridge of the main roof usually held a small casement window providing extra light into the attic. Original facade gables appear in the Ross Tavern, Ipswich. The only original gambrel roofs are found on three later (ca. 1720 and 1735) “transitional” houses that continue First Period interior framing treatment. No other gambrel-roofed houses surveyed showed any First Period characteristics.
Barn Frames and Roof Types. Barn construction utilized the same roof framing systems as houses, the most common being the principal and purlin roof. However, the frame was constructed and erected in bents with posts, ties, and rafters raised in a single unit. These bents could and did vary in their framing in order to provide the appropriate framing for different functional requirements of the barn. One roof element apparently found in barn roofs earlier than in domestic roof frames is the use of struts angled between the tie beam and the rafter. The reasons for this are unclear. The Abraham Howe barn, Ipswich (ca. 1715; is an example (converted to residence)
INTERNAL STRUCTURE FRAMING
Typical floor framing in Massachusetts Bay First Period buildings had corner and chimney posts supporting the plates and girts of the box frame. Within this frame, bridging and binding beams, commonly called “summer beams, ” spanned each major room. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the most typical placement of the summer beams was longitudinal on the first floor with transverse summer tie beams above the second story. Over two-thirds of the houses included in this nomination are constructed in this “normal” manner. The summer beam’s major function is to hold floor joists that support the board flooring of the room or attic space above. When the summer acts as a binding or tie beam above the second story, it prevents outward movement of the upper part of the front and rear walls, thus performing a structural function as part of the roof frame. Floor joists exhibit an evolutionary pattern begun in England during the late 16th and early 17th century. The earliest, typologically, are those that are wider across the bottom than they are high. Such flat-wise joists appear in the Fairbanks House in Dedham (NHL) and in a reused location in the Giddings-Burnham House in Ipswich. The older type of joist joint is the tusk tenon, which has a beveled shoulder and matching mortise in the beam. All other houses in the nomination in which the evidence could be seen employed the open (or “butt”) cog joint, which generally began to replace the earlier tusk tenon by about 1665 in Massachusetts. Cummings has identified a pattern of widening in the spacing of joists over the course of the First Period, 18 charting a broad evolutionary development that can now be supplemented with information from many of the later houses identified in this nomination.
Spacing of floor joists: Giddings-Burnham House, Ipswich; ca. 1680-90, 20 1/2″; Goodale House Ipswich; ca. 1700, 21″. While these measurements confirm Cummings’ hypothesis for the increasing distance between joists throughout the First Period (up until 1725), First Period framing in the second quarter of the 18th century differs considerably. The progression of increasingly wider joist spacing does not appear to continue into the later period of transitional houses, nor is it seen in those with remnant First Period features built; during the Second Period.
Positioning of Summer Beams: The most common positioning of summer beams in Massachusetts Bay is longitudinal (parallel to the roof ridge) at the first floor ceiling, and transverse tie beams (i.e. perpendicular to the roof ridge), at the second. A small group of a dozen houses have second-floor longitudinal summer beams instead of tie beams. This use of the summer as a bridging (instead of binding) member at the second story can be found in at least one very early building in eastern Massachusetts, the Blake House in Dorchester (ca. 1650, NR). Longitudinal second-story summers are very common in Connecticut Colonial architecture, and Cummings suggests that their occurrence in Massachusetts Bay First Period houses may correlate with houses of less expensive construction. All but one of those identified by this nomination are in Middlesex County. While this positioning might be thought to be determined by the choice of one of the three major domestic roof-framing systems, the following list of the houses with longitudinal second-floor summer beams includes examples of houses with each of the three First Period roof types.
Crossed Summer Beams. The property in the present nomination with the most complex First Period ceiling framing system is the Ross Tavern in Ipswich (see Fig. 8), which has T-shaped summer beams on the first story to support an overhang on three sides of the house. First-Story Transverse Summer Beam. Most first-story summer beams are bridging units running in a longitudinal direction from the end to chimney-girt. A small number of houses, however, have transverse summer beams on the first floor. If first-story transverse summers connect upright supporting posts, they function as binding beams. The first-story transverse summer is almost exclusively an Essex county phenomenon. Cummings identified 90 examples, of which 58 are located in Salem or its derivative communities and 17 in other Essex County towns north of Salem. Structurally, they are associated with decorated story posts, which support their ends and add to the decorative quality of the exposed frame. More importantly, the pattern has earlier English regional origins in the timber-framing traditions of the western part of England, ” which was also the area where transverse summer beams lingered the longest. It is thus no coincidence that they should appear in great concentration in the Salem area, which had a high concentration of settlers from the western counties of Dorchester, Dorset, and Somerset. Houses with transverse first-story summers area are not identified in Ipswich.
Supporting Posts with Molded Post Heads. A feature associated with the transverse first-floor summer is the use of decorative supporting posts described as “molded” for the additional carving that adorns the projecting upper section. (See Map VI) The only house without transverse summers in which this feature was found was “Old Farm” in Wenham (#10). This building was restored and enlarged by the early restoration architect, Joseph Everett Chandler. (The chamfer stop on the “Old Farm” summer is also unique and may be the product of this restoration.) Molded post heads are found in the Goodale House, Ipswich, ca. 1700.
THE EXPOSED AND DECORATED TIMBER FRAME
Dwellings Built 1660s to ca. 1700. The decorative embellishment of the posts is one aspect of First Period finish work. The purposeful exposure and decoration of the structural frame is the major visual characteristic of First Period architecture. This decoration of structural carpentry is what differentiates the First Period from the otherwise similar structural system of “Second Period” or Georgian architecture. Major framing members of First Period timber-framed houses were smoothed with planes; those of the later period(s) were roughly adzed but otherwise left unfinished. Evidence of exposure of framing materials to light and smoke is a key element in identifying First Period frames. While the selection of which members were to be exposed and decorated changed over time (leaving, in some cases, only the summer beam in selected rooms exposed by the 1720s), the decorated frame remained for nearly a century both a basic organizing principle and a vehicle for demonstrating a craftsman’s technical virtuosity.
In First Period domestic and public buildings, the projecting edges of the principal ceiling supports (bridging, binding, and tie beams, generically called the “summer beam”) as well as the edges of end and chimney girts, plates, and posts were usually planed and carved with a chamfer. Where two timbers intersected, it was customary to arrest the chamfer with a decorative “stop” incised or cut into the end of the chamfer in one of many decorative patterns
The two most common chamfers, found on the summer beam, were the beveled (or “plain” or “flat” chamfer [Type B]) and the quarter-round chamfer (Type C).
Type B; beveled (plain, flat) chamfer on summer collar and cove stop (
Type C: quarter-round on summer and/or other major timbers stop type 2: lambs tongue Examples include the Giddings-Burnham House, Ipswich, ca. 1680-1690 Ross Tavern, Ipswich, late 17th century. While the decoration on major framing timbers represents the most common surviving First Period elaboration, it was only one element of the post-medieval aesthetic. Immigrant carpenters, joiners, and turners who came to New England brought with them not only a thorough knowledge of the stylistic treatment of houses, but also the complete sets of tools they needed to realize those ideals in three-dimensional form. Cummings has demonstrated that the continuing influx of craftsmen from England introduced Massachusetts Bay builders to newer English methods. Shadow Molding. Sheathed walls and doors were decorated with shadow moldings created by planes that were run along the outer face of a board at its juncture with another. This relatively rare interior finish is well-recorded by Cummings.23 Examples of houses displaying shadow molding include the Paine-Dodge House, Ipswich, ca. 1703.
Surviving doors or door surrounds in seventeenth-century houses are uncommon. An older reused door was found in the Giddings-Burnham House in Ipswich and is now in the collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.
The Decorated Frame House ca. 1700-1730. After 1700, the quarter-round chamfer disappeared and a narrow flat chamfer became common, especially in older settled areas of Essex County. Simple finishes were terminated, if at all, by the least elaborate stops. Most, but not all, the late houses with this form of finish are in Essex County:
Type A. flat/bevel chamfer on summer: stop 1: taper stop; stop 2; raised cove stop Smith House, Ipswich, ca. 1725; House, Labor in Vain Rd., Ipswich, ca. 1720-1730
First Period Framing/Decoration in Second Period Houses. Beginning in the early decades of the eighteenth century, framing members were left roughly adzed and encased by boxing which was often decorated with a quirk bead similar to that used on the exposed frame of late First Period buildings. In the Second Period, the aesthetic of an exposed and decorated structure was gradually supplanted by one that concealed the frame. Walls and ceilings were plastered, and the liberal use of feather-edged and raised-field paneling further obscured the structure. For a time, both First and Second Period features were often combined in a building. Frequently, the new boxed beams of the classical or “Georgian” aesthetic existed in some rooms, while others were built with an exposed and decorated frame. Houses deemed by the survey criteria as “transitional” contain quirked-beaded or flat chamfer decoration on summer beams in at least one room, even if other rooms were built simultaneously with their frame hidden beneath decorative boxing.
ATTRIBUTION OF BUILDINGS TO INDIVIDUAL CARPENTERS / SCHOOLS
The attribution of specific structures to known carpenters on the basis of stylistic or structural framing characteristics and documentary evidence of the carpenter is possible in a few cases. Thus, in Ipswich, we can assign three houses to the owner-carpenter of one house on the basis of similarities between his own house and others in the immediate vicinity, including: Giddings-Burnham House, Ipswich, ca. 1680-1690; Thomas Low House, Ipswich, ca. 1700; James Burnham House, Ipswich, 1677-1703.
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5 thoughts on “First Period construction”
At what period did they start notching the inside corner beams? Instead of having them exposed in to the corner.
I don’t recall ever seeing that done. Can you reply with a link to a photo?
Basically the upright corner beams and the braces were exposed on the inside of the rooms.
Hello… I am starting to research my house. The fireplace is pre Rumford, it’s a cooking fireplace, and large. The original house was either two rooms or four, two up, two down. The house is built on two levels and a friend has a similar house in Marshfield Ma and stated hers is 1600’s. The town is Wolfeboro NH and the realtor feels this was one of the earliest homes built. The cellar is low to high, dirt and has stone walls for a foundation. There is an addition – 1867 and I think the end room was once a stable of sorts. Do you think you can help me? Thank you!!!
Visit the Wolfeboro Historical Society. http://www.wolfeborohistoricalsociety.org/