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This Old First Period House

May 16, 2014
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Coffin House (1678), Newbury. Photo from historicnewengland.org

For today’s “Fun Fact Friday” on our Facebook page, we did a post on how Ipswich has the most “First Period” homes in the country.  But, does “First Period home” mean?

“First Period” generally refers to the first period of settlement in the United States – the early 1600’s-early 1700’s.  Due to this early time period in American history, “First Period” architecture is only found in the areas of the United States settled before 1700 and most of these structures are found in coastal New England

Historic New England has a fantastic Architectural Style Guide which covers the style and characteristics of the “First Period” (or “Post-Medieval English”).  The structures are wood-framed and covered with clapboard or shingles (due to the abundance of wood).  The homes are typically two stories tall and have chimneys located in the center of the home (the best and most efficient location to heat the entire home).  The homes also feature steep roofs and small windows with diamond panes.

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Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House, Wenham. Photo from wenhammuseum.org

Historic New England also has a fantastic slideshow on their website, featuring great examples of “First Period” homes.  Many of these homes in Essex County are open to the public on “17th Century Saturdays”, the first Saturday of the month from June-October.

Whipplehouse

Whipple House (1677), Ipswich

Rebecca Nurse House, Danvers

Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers

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