House Crazy Sarah is enamored with really old houses like this historic gem located in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
The Eleazar Arnold House is now a National Historic Landmark, and for good reason. It is not only one of the oldest surviving homes in America (dated to 1693!), it is also a rare American example of a “stone-ender” building. The term stone-ender referred to one whole exterior chimney end wall that was built of stone.
This style of residential structure was popular in the western region of England and the concept was brought to the New World with the colonial settlers. Stone-enders can be found very specifically in northern Rhode Island and are rarely seen elsewhere in North America.
Eleaszer Arnold was the original owner who lived here for many years with his wife and ten children. (They were trying to populate New England, after all!)
The two-story structure has four rooms on each floor.
According to Wikipedia, the house was donated to the Historic New England group in 1919 (then called the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities). It has since undergone two major phases of restoration: the first stabilization efforts were in the 1920’s, and then in 1950, the house and chimney received a thorough structural rehabilitation.
In the second restoration, alterations were removed to return the building to its authentic 17th-century appearance.
Below is a series of photos taken in 1941, before the “modern” facade was removed:
The backside of the house:
Here’s how the house appears today after being stripped of the “upgrades” that were not appropriate to its early colonial period origination:
Notice the replica windows (made to look original to the home) were so much smaller than later eras.
Although this house is now an old house museum, it was hard to find any photos of the inside. But House Crazy Sarah was able to locate a handful of interior photos on a cool personal blog called The View From Here featuring 18th Century living.
The massive stone hearths are impressive!
A lot of the interior wood visible in these photos is newer – products of restorations over the years. Some of the original beams remain however, and in 2005, a dendrochronology study of the tree rings on the beams confirmed the 1693 construction date.
This old gal is a little worse for the wear, but considering she is over three centuries old, she has fared pretty well!