Historic houses of Georgetown MA

Spofford, Eleazer House 337 Andover St c 1765
GEO.2: Spofford, Eleazer House 337 Andover St c 1765

The home at 337 Andover Street was constructed by Eleazer Spofford. Eleazer Spofford was the son of Deacon Abner and Sarah (Colam) Spofford. The home remained in the hands of the Spofford family until the twentieth century. This two-and-one-half story Georgian farmhouse has been significantly altered since its original date of construction. Though built in the eighteenth century, many of its visible features reflect nineteenth century materials and styles. The dwelling measures three bays wide by three bays deep. Andover Street has been home to generations of the Spofford Family. In 1667 John Spofford and his family became the first permanent residents in what would become Georgetown. As well as operating farms in town, the Spofford family also had a saw mill on a stream running across Andover Street. The Spofford’s also donated land for the Hill School.

 Dorman, J. - Smith, David C. House 138 Central St c 1779
GEO.53: Dorman, J. – Smith, David C. House 138 Central St c 1779

Shoe manufacturing became a major industry in Georgetown, and the Central Street area became attractive for shoe shops and manufacturers. According to town directories Mr. David C. Smith (a mechanic), resided in the house at 138 Central Street.

302 Central St., Georgetown MA, the Captain Benjamin Adams house
302 Central St., Georgetown MA, the Captain Benjamin Adams house (ca.1754-1770)

The house at 302 Central St. is believed to have been built by around 1760 by Captain Benjamin Adams, whose military title derived from service in the French and Indian War. This was evidently the first house in the town to be painted white, “which was considered quite aristocratic” (Nelson). Adams took up the tanning and curing of leather, becoming known as “Tanner” Adams. At Abraham Adams death in 1771, his son Benjamin Adams occupied the “New House and Barn, Tan House and Yard” and in 1772 Abraham’s estate paid £75 “To Benja. Adams for 3 years & ¾ time spent in in his father’s service & and at the Tanner’s Business….” assisted by his brother Jesse for the past year and a half.

Subsequent owners of 302 Central St. included Col. John Kimball (1796-1857), who married Capt. Benjamin Adams’ daughter Louisa in 1823. Lieut. Col. of the 2nd regiment Infantry, Essex Militia in 1836, he was also representative to the General Court in 1833-1835. Col. John Kimball also had an extensive tanning operation on the property, and the old barn by Penn Brook (no longer standing) was believed to be the tannery building dating to Benjamin Adams occupancy. The Kimballs, including John’s brother carpenter-housewright Joseph Kimball, were active in the Franklin Temperance Society, perhaps giving the place repute as the “Temperance House.”

This house is one of several Federal-era houses in Georgetown that exhibit Georgian stylistic features, including a massive center chimney, gable roof, five-bay facade and two-bay depth. The entry doorway surround is detailed with Tuscan pilasters supporting a pedimented entablature, identical to the house at 91 Nelson Street. Download Form B for 302 Central St. Georgetown

Brocklebank, Capt. Samuel - Nelson, Solomon House 108 East Main St 1670
GEO.6: Brocklebank, Capt. Samuel – Nelson, Solomon House 108 East Main St 1767

The construction history of the lot begins in 1670 when Samuel Brocklebank is believed to have built a dwelling on the property. Parts of this house are reputed to be contained within the present building, although this is not evident from the exterior, which displays no evidence of having been built in stages; The existing two-story, gambrel-roof, center-chimney house appears to have been built by Solomon Nelson, Jr. after he acquired the property in 1767. By 1800, according to a map showing the town center at that time, various branches of the Nelson family owned large tracts embracing both sides of East Main Street and both sides of Elm and Chestnut Streets in this section. All of these branches descended from Thomas Nelson (1615-about 1648), whose family, like the Brocklebanks, had come to Massachusetts Bay Colony with Ezekiel Rogers. Five members of the Nelson family—four descended from Thomas Nelson’s son Sergeant Thomas Nelson (1638-1712) and the fifth from the immigrant’s son Philip (1636-91)—owned the land around Elm Street and the contiguous section of East Main Streets. Three were the sons of Thomas’s grandson Solomon Nelson (1703-81) and Mercy Chaplin, among them Solomon Jr.

Hazen - Kimball - Aldrich House 225 East Main St c 1710
GEO.7: Hazen – Kimball – Aldrich House 225 East Main St c 1710

The First Period portion of the Hazen-Kimball-Aldrich house is a 2 1/2 story 5 bay central chimney structure with an added lean-to facing the street. A larger 2 1/2 story barn (15 bay) was drawn up to the left-hand end and converted to living space in 1906. A two-story enclosed porch projects from the left end of the barn addition. The right-hand rooms and chimney bay of the house comprise the original single cell 2 1/2 story dwelling. The left-hand rooms were added within a few years of the first construction and the lean-to followed probably by the mid 18th century. The house’s chamfered late First Period frame is exposed in two rooms, and there is clearly visible evidence of the stages in the building’s growth. In the right-hand room, there is an exposed longitudinal summer beam, with flat chamfers and extremely long lamb’s tongue stop.

Nelson, Henry Mighill - Dole, Luke Lincoln House 43 Elm St c 1724
GEO.87 Nelson, Henry Mighill – Dole, Luke Lincoln House 43 Elm St c 1724

The Luke L. and Eliza Dole House is a distinctive example of Federal Period domestic architecture in Georgetown, and evinces the single-pile rear chimney plan form characteristic of Essex County and the North Shore region. Built ca. 1787, the house is one of the oldest dwellings on the street. It is essentially intact and distinguished by original materials and an entrance with Federal-style architrave.

Nelson, Joseph - Tidd, Luther P. House 81 Elm St c 1738
GEO.12 Nelson, Joseph – Tidd, Luther P. House 81 Elm St c 1738

Aaron Nelson was the great grandson of Thomas’s son Philip (1636-91). Aaron’s grandfather Joseph (1682-1744) was, according to local historian Henry Mighill Nelson, the “first of this name to settle in Georgetown.” After Aaron Nelson’s death his land appears to have been divided among his children, in particular Joseph (1769-1856) and Jonathan (1772-1852), and when they died, what remained then passed to Joseph’s son Charles (1803-74) and Jonathan’s son Sylvanus (1803-82). The house at 81 Elm Street was one of at least two Nelson family houses on Elm Street that appear on the 1798 Federal Direct Tax list for Rowley. According to Nelson’s 1888 historical account, a house was built on the site “before 1747” by Joseph Nelson but does not specify which Joseph, Joseph Sr. (1682-1744) or Joseph Jr. (1709-69), Aaron Nelson’s father. Another account asserts a dwelling was built by the elder Joseph and that he “probably spent the last of his days with his son Joseph, to whom he gave the house and about thirty acres of land.” If this statement is accurate, some portion of the existing house may have been built before 1744

The front façade of the house faces south with the east end of its gable roof facing the street. Window spacing and placement of the center chimney indicates that the east end of the building is the original section with a three-bay front façade having itsentrance on the left side in front of the chimney, in the manner of 18th-century “half-houses.” At some later point, probably still in the 18th century, a two-story addition was made to the west end of the first house to balance the plan and front façade and positioning the brick chimney in the center. The spacing between the now central entrance and the two added bays of windows is quite extended compared to the original fenestration leaving a significant blank space, which may have once contained windows or suggest that more than two stages of expansion occurred. The east gable end has a single windows centered on the first, second and attic stories. A two-story kitchen ell on the rear (north) side of the house was added in the early 1800s, with various shed-roof appendages coming still later.

Dickinson - Pillsbury - Witham House 170 Jewett St c 1700
GEO.15 Dickinson – Pillsbury – Witham House 170 Jewett St c 1700

The Dickinson-Pillsbury-Witham house is locally believed to have been built some time before 1700 by James Dickinson; it is known to have been standing by 1704, when it came into the possession of Samuel Dickinson. It was purchased in 1801 or 1802 by Paul Pillsbury from his uncle Oliver Dickin­son. It may be the least altered First Period house in Georgetown. Typical of its era are the massive central chimney, small narrow windows (six-over-six light sash with heavy muntins) and second floor hewn overhang, indicative of the house’s lateness within the First Period (1630-1730). The interior of the house reportedly retains its visible framing timbers of oak as well as some original paneling. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

GEO.21 Tenney, Oliver House 1 Lull St c 1750
GEO.21 Tenney, Oliver House 1 Lull St c 1750

Built by Oliver Tenney of Newburyport in the early 18th century, this house passed down through that family until 1951. The rooms on the righthand (east) side of the house are apparently older in their interior finish, the dining room having a Federal-style mantel with reeded frieze applied to a paneled wall of the Georgian period.

GEO.21 Tenney, Oliver House 1 Lull St c 1750
GEO.255 Adams, Abraham – Shute, William M. House 23 Nelson St c 1760
GEO.298 Spofford, Abel - Perley, William Putnam House 85 Spofford St c 1765
GEO.298 Spofford, Abel – Perley, William Putnam House 85 Spofford St c 1765
EO.304 Merrill, Thomas Jr. - Palmer, John Jr. House 6 Tenney St c 1762
GEO.304 Merrill, Thomas Jr. – Palmer, John Jr. House 6 Tenney St c 1762
GEO.307 Tenney, David - Young, Jacob Haskell House 18 Warren St c 1790
GEO.307 Tenney, David – Young, Jacob Haskell House 18 Warren St c 1790
GEO.313 Jewett, Samuel - Paine, Benjamin B. House 68 Warren St c 1787
GEO.313 Jewett, Samuel – Paine, Benjamin B. House 68 Warren St c 1787
GEO.17 Adams - Clarke House 93 West Main St c 1725
GEO.17 Adams – Clarke House 93 West Main St c 1725

Yhe land on which this house was built was purchased by John Adams in 1714 from an unnamed member of the Prime family, early settlers of Old Rowley. The house was built by John Adams or his son William between that time and ca. 1730. The house was examined by researchers from Boston University in 1985-1986 for possible inclusion in a survey of First Period buildings of eastern Massa­chusetts. These scholars assigned it a date of ca. 1725, based on its ground-floor transverse summer beams.

Flint House 175 West Main St c 1780
GEO.19 Harriman, John – Weston, Flint House 175 West Main St c 1780

his house was built by John Harriman, son of Jonathan Harriman, who bought a portion of the land adjoining the western shore of Pentucket Pond in 1715. Their descendant H. N. Harriman was later the town clerk and publisher of the Georgetown Advocate.

4 thoughts on “Historic houses of Georgetown MA”

  1. The authors seem to have missed Capt. Benjamin Adams House, 1754, at 302 Central St. where he ran his tannery and cider mill from c. 1770, later operated by Col. John Kimball. MHC and GHC have its Form B on file for information on it. Otherwise I have a copy with photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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