December 14, 2018

Preservation Personals: 1808 New Hampshire Farmhouse Ready for Delivery

  • By: Rebecca Gale

I know you're ordering a lot of exciting packages this holiday season ... So how about one with an 1808 Federal-style farmhouse inside? I was originally built in Durham, New Hampshire, but now I reside in (carefully preserved) pieces in multiple storage trailers in Maine. How did I end up like this? Two centuries after I was first built, I was no longer in great shape, so my owner at the time arranged for the talented workers of Preservation Timber Framing to carefully document each piece of my walls, ceiling, floor, etc. and dismantle and store me until someone could be found to restore me back to my former glory.

It’s a bit of a sad story, I know, but I’m hopeful that I am just waiting for my next chapter. Originally, I was built by Israel Demeritt, with my beautiful paneled interiors probably done by Israel’s brother, Nathaniel, a joiner who copied many of my mantel trims from the famous Asher Benjamin's A Country Builder’s Assistant. I was passed through the family until I was eventually acquired by a University of New Hampshire entomology professor, Walter C. O’Kane, who gave me to the university in 1964. I was then used as a child development center for quite some time.

In spite of all that time and changing of hands, I am remarkably well-preserved and have been praised as an incredible surviving example of a timber-frame, Federal-style, center-chimney house. Much of my historic crown moldings, chair rails, and casing have been preserved, with layers of paint speaking to my storied past. Seven original fireplaces with remarkable surrounds were saved, along with window shutters that slide into wall paneling. My stenciled wood floors and bold historic wallpapers also remain.

Whoever decides to give me a new home will need to arrange for my road trip to a new location, but I have been carefully photographed and documented (and blogged about) so that either Preservation Timber Framing or another set of builders can put me back together. A carriage house frame from my original property is also available for purchase. I do need some updating to address deferred maintenance problems and to add modern conveniences, but with 3,600 square feet of unparalleled historic beauty, I like to think I’m worth the investment!

Ready to be part of a truly incredible preservation story? Click here to see my listing and here to see additional photos.

photo by: Doug Armsden

A photo of me from back in 1955, when I still stood tall in Durham, New Hampshire, and belonged to a University of New Hampshire professor.

photo by: Doug Armsden

Another 1955 photo showcases one of my seven beautiful, original fireplaces.

photo by: Doug Armsden

Some of my six bedrooms still have historic wallpaper, perfect for anyone who loves a bold pattern.

Rebecca Gale is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. In her spare time, you can find her visiting local museums, photographing historic buildings, or playing guitar.

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