Joshua Norwood Cabin // c.1680

This old, leaning home sits just outside downtown Rockport and is said to be the oldest house in Rockport. The plaque on the house says it was built in 1680 by Joshua Norwood, the son of Caleb. Joshua Norwood (1682-1775) was born in Gloucester nearly 100 years before the United States was a country, but the plaque on the house means the home was built two years before Joshua was born. I would estimate the home was built in the early-mid 1700s. Joshua married Elizabeth Andrews and they had 16 children. The family apparently resided in the northern part of modern-day Rockport, in this small home for some years until it was moved by wooden barge to the current site, when Sandy Bay (downtown Rockport) saw a huge population surge with the harbor in the early 19th century. The tiny half-cape home was added onto once with the entry room at the front, but besides that, it looks much like it would have hundreds of years ago. There are a lot of mysteries about this home, so if anyone knows more, please share!

Rev. David Jewett House // 1806

About the time that the First Congregational Church (featured previously) in Rockport, Mass. was built, the congregation began construction on a home for their pastor, David Jewett. The home was built in 1806 and sits right next to the old church. David Jewett (1773-1841) was born in Hollis, NH., and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1801. He was ordained pastor at the Congregational Church of Rockport on October 30, 1805, a position he held for more than 30 years The Federal style home features a central doorway with a fanlight above and it is flanked by pilasters topped with an entablature.

John D. Sanborn Mansion // c.1865

One of my absolute favorite homes in Rockport (there are many) is this mansion, which sits away from busy Bearskin Neck and the hustle-and-bustle of the village. The John Dearborn Sanborn Mansion was built around 1865 and is an elegant example of the Second Empire style of architecture in Rockport. John Sanborn was born in Hampton, NH, and eventually moved to present-day Rockport, marrying Laura Tarr of a prominent local family. Sanborn appears to have been a merchant and ship-owner. It appears that Sanborn was involved with the California Gold Rush, and is thought to have been one of the first men to send gold via the Pony Express, a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail using relays of horse-mounted riders that operated from 1860 to 1861. It is possible that his investments with gold allowed Sanborn to build this stunning estate in Rockport, set behind an iron gate and perched upon a hill. I like to think that his wife Laura would sit in the tower and look towards the sea from the windows.

John Deane House // 1896

John Milton Deane (1840-1914) was born in Assonet Village in Freetown, Mass., to a prominent local family. He attended regional schools before becoming a teacher. As an 18-year-old school teacher, Deane enlisted in Assonet’s militia company, in 1858, upon increasing tension between the slave- and free-states. The local militia company joined the 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts Militia, which was organized for active service on April 15, 1861 in response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops to put down the insurrection in the southern states, the beginning of the American Civil War. After serving and a small break, he again joined the Union forces as 2nd Lieutenant with the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the 29th Massachusetts on March 25, 1865 at Fort Stedman, Virginia. His citation reads “This officer, observing an abandoned gun within Fort Haskell, called for volunteers, and under a heavy fire, worked the gun until the enemy’s advancing line was routed.” After the conclusion of the Civil War, John Deane continued teaching for a year before opening a dry goods store. He built this home after a decorated military and sales career, in 1896, on a prominent lot facing a branch of the Taunton River. The Queen Anne style home exhibits a prominent corner tower, porches, and decorative corbels.

Bacon-Sampson House // 1814

Rufus Bacon, a lawyer, moved to Assonet in 1814 and built a modest Federal Cape house on the town’s Main Street. Rufus worked in town at a law office for over a decade until he moved to New York, selling his property in 1828 to Earl Sampson, who ran a profitable corner store just down the street. Sampson completely modernized the home, adding the Greek Revival doorway, chimneys, and south-facing veranda. After Sampson died, the home was either purchased or gifted to the Assonet Congregational Church, and occupied as a parsonage. The property has since been deaccessioned by the church and is a private home.

Cudworth House // c.1790

This house in Assonet Village in Massachusetts has SOOOO much potential, I just want to save her! The Cudworth House was built at the end of the 18th century, possibly for John Cudworth a mariner who owned a wharf just across the street. By the mid-late 19th century, the home was renovated, given the steep gable, bracketed details, and projecting entry. The house has seen better days, and needs some serious TLC to bring it back to livable conditions.

Bowen-Barrows House // 1789

After the Revolutionary War, Assonet became a prominent village for shipbuilders and sea captains, who loved the inland location but easy access to the sea via the Taunton River. This transitional Georgian-Federal style home was built in 1789 for Jonathan Bowen, a ship master, who likely also had a shipyard in the village. In the 19th century, the property was purchased by Augustus Barrows, another mariner. The home is extremely well-preserved and sits on a hill just outside the main village. The narrow door surround features a transom and is flanked by pilasters which support a triangular pediment with dentil trim. The traditional Georgian central chimney is a nice touch as well!

Nichols Homestead // c.1815

At the end of the War of 1812, Captain John Nichols settled in Assonet and appears to have had this Federal style house built soon after. The house remained in the family for at least two successive generations, seeing little exterior modifications during that time. After John’s death in 1848, the property was inherited by his second-born son, Thomas. Dr. Thomas Nichols left town as a young man and studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and returned to Freetown to begin the practice of medicine in 1847, likely to assist his ailing father. In Freetown, Thomas was involved with the local church, politics, medicine, and worked for a local gun manufacturer. After Dr. Nichols died with paralysis, his son, Gilbert inherited the family home. The family home is a great example of the Federal style with a symmetrical facade, low hip roof, twin interior chimneys, and central doorway with sidelights and blind, elliptical fan above. The side porch was likely added in the early 20th century.

Briggs House // c.1790

The village of Assonet in Freetown, MA, has a great collection of late 18th and early 19th century homes built along the riverfront. This home is a great example of a late-Georgian cape house, built in the late 1700s or early 1800s. The home was constructed when Assonet was developing into a prominent, inland commercial fishing port. From this, a shipyard was constructed nearby, where shipbuilders constructed vessels along the river. By the 1850s, the house was owned by Charles Briggs, who worked in the village as a nailer (maker and seller of nails) and his wife Bathsheba. The cottage features a high pitched roof, boxed-eave cornice, and windows standing out from the plane of the house. They really don’t make them like they used to!

Hovey House // 1897

In 1897, tailor Charles L. Hovey and his wife Bertha, had this house in Waban built for their family. The architecture really stands out as an eclectic blending of styles, common at the end of the 19th century, when architects and builders would design homes to exhibit architectural details from multiple styles, all under one roof. The shingled house has a steep gable roof and three gabled dormers, which reflects Queen Anne theme. The diamond-pane windows and the technique of cantilevered dormers and the second floor overhanging the first, is First Period-Medieval in style, a unique interpretation of American architecture. What do you think of this home?