Boston’s Oldest House

Boston is old. Any doubts? The Dorchester Historical Society (founded 1843) acquired Boston’s oldest house for the purposes of preservation in 1895.

The James Blake House was built in anticipation of the wedding of England-born James Blake to Elizabeth Clap, daughter of the local Deacon. It was considered a model to be emulated of a 17th century home.

Blake’s relations lived in the house until 1825. For the next half-century after that, it passed from hand to hand, until bought by the City of Boston. In a classic example of clearance for civic purposes, the City planned to raze the building to make way for street widening and greenhouses to supply the new Emerald Necklace of Boston parks.

The Dorchester Historical Society got permission to drag the house 1200 feet to a new location in one of the new, Olmsted-designed parks.

Today, the building houses the historical society, and, among other artifacts, the quirky Edward A. Huebner collection of bricks taken from historic houses and painted with their likeness.

Elizabeth’s uncle, Capt. Roger Clap, wrote a ‘minute and authentic account of the early history of Dorchester,’ available in its entirety on Google Books.

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One thought on “Boston’s Oldest House

  1. Pingback: Looking Backward « Looking Backward

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