By Rena Behar
New England is full of remnants of America’s past. Whether they’re battlegrounds or historic monuments, there are stories around nearly every corner. And in a state full of history, this Massachusetts home just might be the oldest house currently on the market in the entire country.
Built in 1694, this Georgetown home is a classic example of First Period architecture. For the relatively modest price of $549,900, you can claim ownership of the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath property known as the Dickinson-Pillsbury-Witham House. It sits on an 8.5-acre lot, which also comes with an 18th-century barn and shed.
Past owners expanded the home on two occasions. A chimney and rooms on one side, including a distinctive enclosed staircase, formed the original structure of the home. Rooms were added on the other side of the home in the years after it was built. In the 19th century, there was a second, larger addition.
Recent owners have updated the kitchen, which now includes a gas stove, wall oven, and soapstone counter and sink, as well as a door that opens to a fenced patio. The home’s original details include multiple fireplaces, wood flooring, and wood-paneled walls.
Perennial gardens and stone walls surround the home, whose exterior features red window trim, wood clapboard, and shingles. The barn has original hardware as well as a loft with exposed wood beams.
Past residents included inventor Paul Pillsbury, for whom the house is partly named. According to a historic account written by John Louis Ewell in 1904, a letter from Pillsbury recounts an attack on the home by local Native Americans.
Ewell described the home as “an heirloom from the seventeenth century” modeled after a nearby home built in 1653. He mentioned the large living room fireplace with adjacent cooking stoves and candlesticks hanging from the ceiling beam, and even included a photo of the house.
“May the house long stand to attest the generous size and the thoroughness with which our fathers built the character of their architecture and the perils that beset them,” Ewell wrote.
As you’d likely surmise, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation doesn’t restrict what owners can do with the property as long as there are no federal funds involved. However, potential buyers should still check with the state historic preservation office before planning any renovations.
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