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Colonial Cottages: Eastern White Pine in 17th Century Massachusetts

EWP Monograph Colonial Cottages 1

Built in 1636, the oldest wooden house in America remains in remarkably good condition after nearly four hundred years, and it’s made of Eastern White Pine. The Fairbanks House of Dedham, Massachusetts represents just one example of this natural and sustainable building material’s history in American architecture. Featured in Issue 1, Volume 1 of The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, a periodical produced in the 1940s, the home and others like it reveal the fine craftsmanship and attention to aesthetics that can still be found in the colonial architecture of New England.

This monograph details how Eastern White Pine was used in beams, joists, flooring, siding and finely wrought architectural details. These early houses of Massachusetts differ from later, more well-known colonial architecture. They tend to have steeper roofs, long and thin chimneys, and simple lines punctuated by decorative elements in domestic Gothic style. Another notable difference is that the wood used to build these homes was typically not painted, letting the beauty of the wood remain the single most striking visual element of each home.

Read the whole story and see photos of these colonial cottages at the Monograph Library, preserved and made available to the public by NELMA.


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