Built to last, America’s oldest all-brick house is looking for a buyerin Medford, MA. At over300 years old, this home has been around for eight wars, including the American Revolution, 17 world’s fairs, and45U.S. presidents.
The 2,640-square-foot home sitsatop a small knoll behind a granite wall. According to the listing agent,Louise Ivers, the historic home was recently taken off the market so thata new driveway could be installed. The sellers still want to find a buyer, she adds.
The homehasfour bedrooms and one bathroom, and most of the rooms come with a fireplace. Nine-over-nine windows let in plenty of sunlight; on days when the light is scarce, there areseven fireplaces that provide illumination. The first floor features hand-hewn wooden beams and a staircase.
The house is so interesting because it is a classic example of a circa 1680 solid brick house, says Ivers.
The home is believed to have been built around 1680 by Peter Tufts (yes, as inthe university, which his descendant later donated the land for) and is considered by many historians to be the oldest all-brick house in the United States. The solid brick exterior is a combination of Flemish bond and English style, but the materials are local-the family owned a brickyard in Medford.
After a close call with the demolition ball in the late 1880s, the property was saved when Gen. Samuel Lawrence gave it, along with an interior remodel, as a wedding gift to his niece. It’s also been known as the Fort or Garrison House due to the thick walls and porthole windows on the west side and front of the house. Thehome was placed on the city seal of Medford in 1892.
The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now known as Historic New England) acquired the home near the turn of the previouscentury and managed it for the next 50 years. It was eventually purchased by the Medford Historical Society and Museum in 1980.
According to a 2016 reportin Wicked Local Medford by John Anderson, president of the Medford Historical Society and Museum, the house has been rented out on a month-by-month basis since the caretakers moved out in 2013. The MHSM has spentmore than $45,000 to address safety and livability issues, but has run out of funds to continue its stewardship of the property.
Living with so much history is not without its conditions. The deed includes a permanent preservation restriction administered by Historic New England, which states that the property cannot be subdivided or demolished and protects the whole exterior and much of the interior. The group performs annual inspections for compliance and must approve any work done on the house.
According to Ivers, the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is idealfor someone who appreciates history and old homes. Potential buyers with a deep love for the history ofNew England will feel right at home here.
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