Visit our Museum. Visit History.
The oldest Timber Frame House in North America.
The Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA is the oldest known wood structure still standing in North America. Built circa 1637-1641 for Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks and their six children, it was home to eight generations of the Fairbanks family over the course of 268 years. The Fairbanks House is now a historic house museum and on the National Register of Historic Places.
~ Like No Other Historic House ~
Abbott Lowell Cummings, former Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University, said that the Fairbanks House… “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.”
~ Happy 400th Anniversary to Jonathan & Grace Fairbanks! ~
That’s not a typo! Jonathan and Grace (Smith) Fairbanks were married in Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England on May 20, 1617! Nineteen years later they crossed the Atlantic with their six children and purchased 12 acres of land in Dedham, then called Contentment.
How do we know the actual date of Jonathan and Grace’s wedding 400 years ago? The Fairbanks House has in its archives a certified copy of their marriage certificate dated May 20, 1617. The Fairbanks Family in America, Inc. obtained this copy of the original in the 1940’s from the General Register Office of the United Kingdom.
What’s the perfect anniversary gift for 4 centuries of marriage? Post your ideas on our Facebook page – The Fairbanks House. Those posting our three favorite suggestions will receive a prize from the museum gift shop!
To celebrate this monumental anniversary, stop by the Fairbanks House on Saturday May 20th from 12 to 4 for anniversary cake and popcorn and half price tours of the House museum. You can see this historic document for yourself!
~ Our Mission Statement ~
The Fairbanks House Museum is the oldest timber frame home still standing in North America and a prime example of early colonial architecture. The museum seeks to preserve, conserve, research, and interpret the Fairbanks family homestead, its collections, and the stories of all the generations that lived and worked there. We hope to engage and educate the Fairbanks family, the community, and the public at large about the house, its tenants, and their important place in both local and national history.
We welcome volunteers to help us with museum tours and special projects. Immerse yourself in Colonial America.
Membership in the Fairbanks Family in America is open to all – lineal descendants and friends of the Fairbanks House.
Support the oldest timber frame home, an example of historic American architecture, and a national treasure.