The Oldest Timber Frame House in North America
The Fairbanks House is believed to be the oldest surviving timber frame house in North America. It was built for a family of Puritan immigrants from Yorkshire in England, Jonathan and Grace Fairebanke and their six children. Dendrochonology (tree ring dating) has confirmed a construction date of the late 1630s-early 1640s. The house was passed down to succeeding generations of the family until the early twentieth century. In all, eight generations of the Fairbanks family lived in the house. Through the Fairbanks Family in America, Inc., the extended Fairbanks family still owns the property. Over the years, the original portion of the house was extended with additions as the family's needs changed and as the fashions of the times dictated. The current east and west wings were added in the early nineteenth century.
Like no other historic house
Abbott Lowell Cummings, former Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University, says the following about the Fairbanks House:
"The Jonathan Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts, is one of the most important historic houses now standing in the northeastern part of the United States. Its value to the area and to the nation as a whole lies not so much in its claim to being the oldest house in New England but in its architectural significance... It may be said quite simply that no other house of the mid-17th century in New England has survived in such unbelievable unspoiled condition. It is extraordinary that so early a structure should preserve such a high percentage of original features. It is a veritable storehouse of information concerning the small handful of houses which survive from this early period."
Ghost Tours come to the Fairbanks House!
Come see why some people say the oldest timber-frame house in North America is also the most haunted! The one-hour tour runs every Saturday at 7:00 pm.
Prices are $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children. Tours are limited to 10 people, so please call ahead for reservations:
Come visit history!
The Fairbanks House is open to the public for tours from May through October. Tours are available Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tours begin every hour, on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3:00 pm.
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