The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725

By Abbott Lowell Cummings, 1979

Abbott Lowell Cummings was Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (aka Historic New England) and a member of the faculty at Antioch College, Boston University, and Yale University. This richly illustrated and highly detailed book describes how settlers in the new world drew from architectural techniques used in their native England. Well-authenticated structures that span the first century of settlement at Massachusetts Bay are indenified within Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties.

Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts: A Conference Held by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

Over two hundred First Period houses are still be standing in Massachusetts. Ipswich is believed to have 59 First Period houses, more than any other town or city in the country.

First Period Buildings of Eastern Massachusetts

(United State Department of the Interior)

North Shore First Period and Colonial Houses: Photos, histories and descriptions

John Balch house, Beverly MA First Period houses of Essex County - The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 By Abbott Lowell Cummings, 1979 Abbott Lowell Cummings was Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (aka Historic New England) and a member of the faculty at Antioch College, Boston University, and Yale University. This richly illustrated and highly detailed book describes how … Continue reading First Period houses of Essex County

summer_27_deacon_knowlton_1688Ipswich: Every House has a story:  Information from the  detailed listing for the Ipswich Historical Commission.

Ipswich First and Second Period houses: Featuring 139 Ipswich First Period and Second Period houses, their stories, and new high resolution photos

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groveland_main_st Groveland Colonial houses - Groveland, MA was settled asthe East Parish of Bradford, a part of the town of Rowley in the early Colonial era. Before Bradford was separated from Rowley in 1672, it was called “Rowley on the Merrimack”, or just “Merrimack”. Bradford in turn was annexed by Haverhill in 1897 after a bloody and violent conflict. Groveland officially … Continue reading Groveland Colonial houses
West Newbuy Massachusetts Colonial houses of West Newbury MA - The town of West Newbury provides the following history: West Newbury’s history as a tow began in 1635 when 23 men and their families, all from England, sailed through Plum Island Sound and up the Parker River, landing in Newbury. As more settlers arrived and families increased, land in Newbury became scarce, and some people … Continue reading Colonial houses of West Newbury MA
mer_51_stevens-dea-thomas Colonial-era houses of Merrimac, Massachusetts - Merrimac sits on the Merrimack river abutting the southeastern border of New Hampshire. Settled by the English in 1638 as a part of Salisbury and later as a part of Amesbury around the village of Merrimacport, it was known throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as an agricultural and fishing community, with a small amount of … Continue reading Colonial-era houses of Merrimac, Massachusetts
John Ward  house, Salem MA First Period houses of Salem, Massachusetts - Salem, MA has about 18 First Period houses (built during the first century of English settlement, approximately 116-20-1720). In his landmark studies, “Massachusetts and its First Period Buildings” (1979) and The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 (1979), architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings demonstrated that eastern Massachusetts contains the greatest concentration of First Period structures … Continue reading First Period houses of Salem, Massachusetts
gloucesterhouse The oldest houses in Gloucester, MA - The area that is now Gloucester MA was inhabited briefly by European settlers briefly around 1626. The settlement was abandoned, but people returned slowly, and the town was founded as Gloucester in 1642, taking its name from a city in South-West England. Although farming was an important occupation, the community developed into an important fishing … Continue reading The oldest houses in Gloucester, MA
Claflin-Richards house, Wenham MA Antique houses of Wenham, Massachusetts - In September 1643, the General Court of Massachusetts granted that Wenham should be a town in its own right and send a representative to the General Court. It was the first town to be set off from Salem. Because many of its early settlers came from Suffolk County in England, where there are two small villages, … Continue reading Antique houses of Wenham, Massachusetts
John Balch house, Beverly MA Colonial-era houses of Beverly, Massachusetts - Featured image: the John Balch house by Daderot The area of the Massachusetts that is now the town of Beverly wast settled in 1626 by Roger Conant. Originally part of Salem and the Naumkeag Territory, Beverly was set off in 1668, and incorporated as a city in 1894. This page displays the First Period, Georgian, and early Federal … Continue reading Colonial-era houses of Beverly, Massachusetts
new_236 Colonial houses of old Newbury, Massachusetts - This page displays the First Period, Georgian, and early Federal houses of Newbury, Massachusetts. The following images, and text were provided by the Newbury Historical Society in 1989, and are online through the Massachusetts Historical Commission site (MACRIS). Photos are displayed alphabetically in order of street name. House numbers may have changed. Click on any image to view a larger photo. … Continue reading Colonial houses of old Newbury, Massachusetts
row_47 The ancient houses of Rowley, Massachusetts - This page displays the First Period, Georgian, and early Federal houses of Rowley, MA, settled in 1639 as a plantation by Reverend Ezekiel Rogers, who had arrived from England on the ship John of London with approximately twenty families.The town was named after Rowley, East Riding of Yorkshire, where Rogers had served as pastor. At the time it … Continue reading The ancient houses of Rowley, Massachusetts
568001 17th and 18th Century houses of Topsfield, Massachusetts - Topsfield originally was part of the 17th-century coastal plantations of Salem and Ipswich, with large tracts of its territory granted to residents of Ipswich between 1634 and 1642. At first known as the “newe medowes at Ipswich,” but was given its present name in 1648. In 1650, it had enough settled population to be incorporated as an … Continue reading 17th and 18th Century houses of Topsfield, Massachusetts
ips_g Historic Ipswich in black and white - These late 20th Century photos of historic houses in Ipswich are from MACRIS, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Click on any thumbnail to view the photo.
Newburyport colonial houses Newburyport Colonial homes - Newburyport, MA was settled in 1635 as part of the town of Newbury. In 1764, the General Court of Massachusetts passed “An act for erecting part of the town of Newbury into a new town by the name of Newburyport.” View: Postcards from Newburyport Stories from Newburyport The following photos of First Period, Georgian,and early … Continue reading Newburyport Colonial homes
ham_22 Colonial houses of Hamilton, Massachusetts - The part of Ipswich known as the Hamlet (now Hamilton) was “set off” as a separate parish (church) in 1714-15. The Hamlet was incorporated by the name of Hamilton on June 21, 1793. Rev. Cutler of the Congregational Church in the Hamlet had served in Congress before becoming one of the town’s longest-serving pastors, was a strong advocate of Federalism, … Continue reading Colonial houses of Hamilton, Massachusetts
ess_23 Historic houses of Essex, Massachusetts - The inhabitants of the part of Ipswich known as Chebacco (now Essex) established their own parish in 1679, but were still residents of the town of Ipswich. Among its early residents were many of the most important and influential people in Ipswich history.On April 6, 1818, two hundred and six men of Chebacco petitioned the Legislature for incorporation, and the town of Essex … Continue reading Historic houses of Essex, Massachusetts
dan_218 The old houses of Danvers, Massachusetts - Danvers, MA  was settled in 1636 as Salem Village, and was the home of many of the accusers and the accused during the Salem witch trials.  The Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers is a historical landmark. According to legend, the King rejected the town’s petition for its own charter, with the words, “The King Unwilling.” In 1757, the town was … Continue reading The old houses of Danvers, Massachusetts
marblehead_header_2 Old Town, a colonial neighborhood in Marblehead - “Old Town” in Marblehead, MA is a visual delight, packed with colorful early 18th Century homes and a few dating to before the 17th Century. Navigating its narrow streets during the tourist season can be challenging, so I prefer to visit the town in the spring or fall. The Open Space Plan for Marblehead, MA … Continue reading Old Town, a colonial neighborhood in Marblehead
View an interactive Google map of historic houses in Ipswich, Massachusetts Interactive map of historic houses in Ipswich - Click on the icons on this map to view historic houses in Ipswich and read the stories of the people who lived in them. View houses by address