This tiny building next to the John Palmer House featured previously was built in 1854 by Thomas Snow as an income-producing property. According to the sign, Snow was a grocer in town and must have rented the small building, which was developed on a small sliver of land, formerly a side garden. I’d guess that the building was originally 1 1/2-stories with the brick first floor added underneath sometime later. The house is vernacular Greek Revival in style and the scale is exactly what makes Marblehead so charming to get lost walking in!
John Palmer House // c.1683
In 1682, John Palmer acquired a small piece of land in Marblehead, soon after building this First Period home. The house is said to have framing timbers made of English walnut, salvaged from a sailing vessel off shore, with one timber formerly a mast and still displaying rope marks. The house was willed to his son after his death, who built a larger home soon after nearby. This house was “modernized” with double-hung windows which likely replaced the smaller, diamond pane casement windows typical in homes of this period.
Captain John Prince House // c.1761
In 1758, John Prince married Anna Bowen in Marblehead. Within a year, they started their family, and needed a new residence to serve as their family home. This house was constructed by 1761 and is oriented to the south, taking advantage of the narrow lot. The house has a large central chimney which would have warmed the interiors throughout the cold, New England winters.
Alexander Watts House // c.1755
In 1748, Alexander Watts, a merchant and sea captain purchased land in Marblehead, building a dwelling house, shop, and barn. This home was likely built in the 1750s, not long after he purchased the lot from David LeGallais, a merchant and prominent landowner in town. The gambrel-roofed Georgian house with its elaborate entry stands out on the street for its large frontage, with many other period homes sited on narrow lots, with the side of the house facing the street. He likely lived in the shop nextdoor until he had enough money to build this separate, more elaborate dwelling. Captain Watts died in 1772, and the property was willed to his “wife Rachel for her widowhood, and at her decease, one-half was to descend to her heirs, and the other half to his kinsman, Alexander Watts of London, England”. By the 1780s, the property was noted as “much decayed” with his widow likely struggling to maintain the property, renting the shop to others for income. On April 13, 1795, the estate was divided, meaning Rachel, Alexander’s widow, likely died at the home.
Haskell House // 1830s
Located next to the John Wright House (last post), this gorgeous 19th century home blends the Federal and Greek Revival styles elegantly under one roof. The house was likely built in the 1830s when the Federal style was waning in popularity and the Greek Revival style was THE style for houses and churches in New England. By 1850, the property was owned by William T. Haskell.
John Wright House // c.1770
Jonathan Wright bought land on State Street in Marblehead in 1770 to build a new home for his family. The large property included his Georgian, gambrel-roofed home and a small pond/marsh in the rear. Sadly, John died by 1773 and his widow Abigail had to sell the property to settle the debts of the estate. Isaac Martin bought the house, and it passed down to his son Thomas, a wagoneer, when he died in 1777. The marsh was eventually drained by the town in the 20th century, likely due to issues with mosquitos and disease and the old barn was converted to a residence behind. The old Wright house has remained a well-preserved Georgian residence for 250 years!
John Adams House // c.1795
In 1795, mariner and fisherman John Adams had this late-Georgian house built in Marblehead, which resembles many homes in the area built a century earlier. The house was apparently built by Benoice Johnson, a cabinetmaker from Roxbury who settled in Marblehead. The gambrel-roofed house had a later lean-to added on the rear for additional square footage. Adams died in 1816 and the house remained in his family until the Great Depression!
Jacob Cropley House // 1884
Marblehead is known for its Colonial-era architecture, so its always fun to find a stellar Queen Anne house in town! In 1884, Jacob M. Cropley, a shoe manufacturer, built one of Marblehead’s finest victorian residences on a hill overlooking the harbor. Cropley ran shoe and leather mills in Massachusetts and Wolfeboro, NH, making great money. The house was located on a prominent site on Pleasant Street, and was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1904 about the time that Cropley and his family moved to Boston. The house was purchased by David Lefevour, a grocer, who moved it back on the lot, saving the house from the wrecking ball. On the former house site, a post office was built by the U.S. Government.
Merritt House // c.1725
In 1725, Samuel Merritt, a fisherman, inherited some of his father’s land in Marblehead and built this house. After Samuel Merritt died in 1743, his second wife Mary, her daughters Mary and Elizabeth and her son-in-law James Dennis, lived in the house. They added the one-story lean-to, giving the house a saltbox roof in 1762. This house, and many others in Marblehead are the reason why human-scaled historic neighborhoods built before the automobile, are some of the best places to explore. Historic preservation equals tourism, which results in tax revenue and property values, stabilizing neighborhoods and cities from the ebbs and flows of the economy. Gotta love it!
Samuel Sparhawk House // c.1870
In 1870, Samuel Sparhawk built a large Second Empire style mansion on Mugford Street in Marblehead. Samuel and his brother Peter were among the first large shoe manufacturers in Marblehead, and did very well for themselves. Samuel also worked as Director of the Marblehead Savings Bank. In the early 20th century, the property was sold to Asa A. Schofield. In 1910, a fire at the Second Congregational Church destroyed the 1832 building and embers carried and burned the roof of the old Sparhawk House. The mansard roof was replaced with a simpler hipped roof with dormers.