One of the oldest homes in Sippican/Wharf Village in Marion, Mass., this beautiful Cape house with gambrel roof dates to 1784 from deed research. The house was constructed by two owners, Barnabas Luce, innholder, and Stephen Cunningham, a mariner, seemingly as an inn for sailors who would dock their ships in the harbor just behind the property. It was later acquired by Edward Sherman (1790-1867), a shipwright and carpenter who built schooners at the wharfs in town. In 1868, his son Edward Franklin Sherman (1821-1907), also a ship carpenter, sold the waterfront property after his father’s death to Andrew A. Harwood, an admiral in the United States Navy, Commodore of the Washington Navy Yard, and through his mother, Elizabeth Franklin Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin! The property remained in the Harwood family until, 1955, when the property was sold to the Beverly Yacht Club. The yacht club was originally named after the town of Beverly, north of Boston, when members broke from the Eastern Yacht Club of Marblehead which was more prestigious. For the first 23 years, the club had no fixed location, but eventually settled in Bourne, and merged with the local Sippican Yacht Club. The Great Hurricane of 1938 destroyed their clubhouse and they were “homeless” for years until moving into this 1784 home, later expanding it to meet growing needs.
Built during the 1890s for real estate agent Harvey W. Everest, this home in Marion has such a stately presence even as a cottage. The Colonial Revival home features a large gambrel roof with two shed dormers and one central gable dormer. Mr. Everest in was active in town affairs, he petitioned to build a section of sea wall in town to help protect the buildings from storms and flooding during inclement weather. After building this home, he lived out his final days here, until the old age of 92. There is a horse hitch near the street too!
Sampson Spaulding (1711-1796) studied at Harvard University to become a minister. At the age of just 23, he was called to be the first minister at the new First Congregational Church in 1736. To entice the young minister to the rural new town of Tewksbury, this Georgian mansion was constructed, probably with help from his new congregation. He married Mehetable Hunt, a local woman, and they had six children. Rev. Spaulding was
stricken with paralysis in 1791 in the middle of a church service, and he died five years later. He became one of the first burials in the new cemetery in town, now known as the Tewksbury Cemetery. The gambrel-roofed Georgian mansion stands today as one of the oldest homes in Tewksbury.
The Reading Town Hall in Reading, Vermont is an imposing shingle-clad, gambrel roof building which sits in the village of Felchville. The hall was built in 1911 as a gift to the citizens of Reading by Wallace F. Robinson. Wallace Robinson was born in Reading in 1832. He went to Boston as a young man and entered into the provisions (groceries) market, and became quite successful, expanding into the wholesale provisions business and meat packing. He was active in civic and business affairs of Boston, most notably as the President of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and as a State Representative in the Legislature for two terms. By around 1900, Robinson had retired and had taken up a life of philanthropy, spending much of his wealth on memorial buildings and to places that had a lasting impact on him, including Robinson Hall at Dartmouth College and renovations at UVM. The design for the Reading Town Hall is especially notable for the fact that it was designed to resemble historic gambrel roofed barns found in the state.
The Thomas and Esther Smith House in the Feeding Hills area of Agawam, Massachusetts is a 1½ story, vernacular Georgian style house with a gambrel roof. Feeding Hills, so named for its bountiful soils, is an agricultural plain approximately five miles west of the Connecticut River at the eastern foot of Provin Mountain. The land was highly sought after by farmers, with many agricultural uses still taking place here to this day. This parcel of land was purchased by Thomas Smith, a carpenter, in 1757, who likely built the home soon after for his new family. The family occupied the home into the mid-19th century, harvesting crops and raising cattle for sustenance and sale. The agricultural property was subdivided numerous times and now sits on just an acre. The home and remaining land was purchased by the Agawam Historical Society in 2002, who maintain the property and educate on Agawam’s agricultural heritage.
One of the most charming homes in Warren is the Captain Cranston House, built in 1783. Captain Benjamin Cranston (1754-1823) served on multiple ships during the Revolutionary War and lived in his family home until after the conclusion of the War. He built this small gambrel home around 1783, the same year as his son was born. The family home was occupied by the Cranston’s until Mary, Benjamin’s widow died in the house in 1848 at the age of 92! The house is a modest three-bay home with an off-center chimney.
In about 1754, 32-year-old brickmaker, Jeremiah Page built this Georgian style, gambrel roof home on Elm Street. Page was born in Medford, MA in 1722 and came to Danvers (then a part of Salem) in 1743 based on the potential money to be made on clay beds under parts of the town. During the tea embargo of 1770, Jeremiah Page insisted that no tea be drunk inside his house. It is said that his wife secretly invited a few neighbors to have tea with her on the roof, saying, “UPON a house is not WITHIN it. ” This remark is quoted from 19th century poet Lucy Larcom’s poem about the house entitled “A Gambrel Roof.”
Upon the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Gage, the Commander of North American British forces and Governor of Massachusetts, took over a room of Page’s house for an office while Gage resided when the capital was temporarily shifted from Boston to Salem after the Boston Port Bill was enacted by the British Crown. Page, against British rule, took command of a group of local men as a militia and fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Page died in 1806 and the home was willed to his family until 1914. Later generations of Pages lived in the home until 1914, when it was acquired by the Danvers Historical Society and moved from its original location on Elm Street. In her will, Ann Lemist Page, a descendant of Jeremiah Page, asked for the house to be razed, else it fall into disrepair, but the historical society was able to change her will with a promise to preserve the property. It is still owned by the Historical Society.