Pickering House

Pickering House

The Pickering House (circa 1651) is a remarkable Colonial house, owned and occupied by ten successive generations of the Pickering family including Colonel Timothy Pickering. This house is believed to be the oldest house in the United States continuously occupied by one family. It is located at 18 Broad Street, Salem, Massachusetts and is open to the public under the auspices of the nonprofit Pickering Foundation.

Although the core house is first period, it has evolved considerably over the years. Architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings, in his "Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts", concludes that the right-hand side of today's house was built for John Pickering, Sr., a carpenter, before his death in 1657 upon land granted to him in 1637. This original house was two stories tall, with a single room on each floor, and an entry bay. The left side was then added circa 1671 by his son, John Pickering II. In 1751, Deacon Timothy Pickering raised a rear lean-to up to a full two stories, which is how the house exists today.

In 1841 the front facade was reworked in the Gothic style, with the facade gables probably dating from this time. Many of the house's external features date from this alteration, including the roof finials, round windows in the gables, cornice brackets, and exterior entry porch. Family records also suggest that a passageway was cut through the chimney stack at this time, and that the exterior chimney was remodeled to today's columnar style at this time. The fine Gothic-style fence with its cut-outs and obelisk finials was also added in this renovation. In 1904 a two-story ell was added to the rear. In 1948, Boston architect Gordon Robb carried out interior restoration work.

See also

*List of historic houses in Massachusetts


* Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., "Architecture in Salem: An Illustrated Guide", University Press of New England, Hanover and London, reissued 2004.

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