Swett-Ilsey House

Built in 1670 by Stephen Swett, the Swett-Ilsey House in Newbury, Mass., was originally one room deep. Over time, additions were made, nearly doubling the size of the house.

Over its 351 years, owners have included a carpenter, cordwainer, saddler, joiner, shopkeeper, innholder, chocolate miller, tobacconist and a blacksmith. It is believed they all performed their trades on the premises.

Historic New England founder William Sumner Appleton believed it was one of the oldest houses in the region and bought it for $2,400, making it the first building owned by the historic preservation organization.

The house’s 19th century features were removed to reveal its early architectural traits.

According to the Historic New England website, “it has one of the largest fireplaces in New England, more than ten feet wide, and containing three beehive ovens.”

The Ilsey family lived here for multiple generations from 1797 until 1911, when it was purchased by Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England).

After the house was restored, it was rented to a series of tenants who operated a tea room. In 1965, it became a museum.

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