Got a letter in the mailbox the other day, from Historic Salem, Inc.. They're an advocate and preservation program for historic homes in Salem, MA. You may notice while walking around Salem the house plaques with the date the home was built, the name(s) of the first owner, and what their role in the economy or community was at the time, etc.
Being February, and next week being Valentine's Day, Historic Salem wanted all the residents of these marked homes to put a heart on their plaque and share across the internet they're love of their home and it's uniqueness.
Steph and I dwell in an early 18th century home, built for Jonathan Archer and his family (wife Abigail) - we dressed as them for Halloween this past October. Built in 1710, this home is rich with history, though most of its more modern history (mid-1800s though the mid-1900s) is unknown or undocumented. At first glance, it's apparent that this home has undergone some major changes over the years. The sheer size of it alone doesn't make a whole lot of sense for that decade - maybe, especially, for a leather shoe maker (even though it's entirely possible Jon Archer was like the Jimmy Choo or Gucci of leather shoes back then and could afford such a behemoth of a house). But, after being passed down a couple of generations, additions and expansions must have occurred.
One of the big indicators of change is the north side of the home - the part that jets out from behind the house and meets the sidewalk more flush than the south front half. In our home you have to step up 3-4 inches to enter the room on the north side of the house, because later in the 1800s, as heating and cooling became more efficient, ceilings we pushed higher and so each floor below has higher ceilings in this part of the house compared to the rest.
Our unit, the top unit, does have 300 year old pumpkin pine floors and exposed beams, so it is possible that the home was originally as tall as it stands today. But, the west part of the house, near the rear of the driveway - the section with the last 2 window sets - must have been added on because it's not symmetrical with the side door (also at the time, the side door was the main door of the house and opened to the garden - and the door out on the sidewalk probably did not exist).
The way the home has also been carved up over the years makes the layout of our unit a bit hard to navigate, too. It's very compartmentalized and rotates around a center stair, like most colonials.
Either way, this home is quite cozy and #ilovewhereilive - both here in Salem and in this house.
On your next visit to Salem, take a walk around the downtown and see these nearly ancient homes with your own eyes and imagine no electricity, no heat but fire, and no WiFi...
Carved into the entry steps in front of each main entry to the house.