In 1668, merchant and ship-owner John Turner built the house on Salem Harbor that was destined to become one of America’s most beloved historic homes. Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2007, The House of the Seven Gables is best known today as the setting of American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel.
The house remained in the Turner family for three generations, being handed down to John Turner II and John Turner III.
Sadly, John Turner III lost the family fortune and had to sell the house to the Ingersoll family, who remodeled the house, removing some of the gables, replacing porches and adding Georgian trim.
Hawthorne was a relative of the Ingersolls and when he visited the house, there were only three remaining gables. But his cousin told him of the house’s history and showed him interior evidence of the previous gables and he was smitten by the idea and sound of “seven gables.”
“The House of the Seven Gables” was published in April, 1851.
Caroline O. Emmerton purchased the house in 1908 and for two years restored it to become a museum. Emmerton founded the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association, and museum fees to support it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace was moved from its original site in Salem, and now sits adjacent. The House of Seven Gables Historic District is a National Historic Landmark.
The Seven Gables house is one of the oldest timber-framed mansions in all of North America and boasts 17 rooms and more than 8,000 square feet.