New England Has Two Of The Oldest Buildings In The Country
Of the eight oldest buildings in the United States, half of them happen to be located in New Mexico. The Daily Passport recently highlighted each of these landmarks. Of the remaining four oldest buildings in the country, two of them are in New England.
Both of these old structures are believed to date back to a similar timeframe. One of them dates back to 1637 and the other to 1639. In addition, you can still visit them both. Hop on Interstate 95 and drive for about two hours, and you can potentially hit them both on the same day.
Let’s start in Massachusetts to visit the first New England building that is among the oldest in the country.
Located in Dedham, Massachusetts, at 511 East Street, the Fairbanks House dates back to 1637. It is the oldest wooden (timber frame) building still standing. “The house was built for Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks out of oak and cedar by a master carpenter and master mason, and this high-quality construction has been largely responsible for the house’s longevity,” Daily Passport explains.
The house was literally “home” to eight generations of the Fairbanks family over the course of 268 years. The Fairbanks House became a museum after the last family moved out in 1904. You can now book a tour each Friday, Saturday or Sunday at four different times. The house still has many of the main elements preserved. There is still no heat, electricity, or running water.
Next, we will head south to Guilford, Connecticut.
Henry Whitfield House
Located on a street named after it (248 Old Whitfield St), the Henry Whitfield House is the oldest stone house still standing in New England. This too, is now a museum. The Daily Passport states, “The house dates back to 1639 when Reverend Henry Whitfield and other English Puritans founded the town of Guilford as a place of religious freedom.”
There is a statue of Henry Whitfield and three floors for visitors to explore. Currently, there is a visitors center, gift shop, and options to tour the house. The estate continues to research and refine the site’s history, saying, “The museum is in the process of changing its interpretation – confronting the facts about the site’s history to acknowledge past injustice, recognizing how that injustice manifests in society today, and working toward an equitable future for all people.”