Property Crush

Look Inside: This Saltbox Colonial in a Small New England Town Dates Back to 1685

published Mar 4, 2020
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Credit: Rob Moreno Photography

The details

  • Address: 121 Chestnut St., North Reading, Mass.
  • Price: $575,000
  • Size: 2,368 square feet
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5

Why we have a crush on this property

As a lover of antique homes, I’ll never pass up the chance to scroll through photos of a house with some good 1700s bones. Even 1800s houses promise tantalizing eye candy. But this house for sale in Massachusetts takes its antique charm a whole step further. The saltbox colonial dates back to 1685. That’s right—pre-American Revolution. 

Credit: Rob Moreno Photography

The Elijah B. Parker homestead, as it’s known, is the oldest standing house in all of North Reading. Its listing calls for a new “steward,” rather than an owner, because that’s exactly what this place needs. 

Not just any old buyer can care for the kitchen’s original beehive oven, or its numerous wood-burning fireplaces. Then there are the hand-hewn beams and (hopefully creaky) wide-pine floors, not to mention those centuries-old doorknobs. It’s all the perfect recipe for a Colonial New England fever dream, and I want in.

One extra unique feature from yesteryear is the home’s former borning room, a small, warm room near the kitchen where babies were once born. These kinds of rooms were typical in old New England homes, and it’s got me wondering how many people came into the world in this very house over the years.

Credit: Rob Moreno Photography

For all its historical character, the house does have plenty of modern conveniences. It was renovated top-to-bottom in 1975, and offers baseboard heating, an updated half bathroom, and built-in banquette seating in the kitchen. Behind this dining area is a lovely bay window with views of the backyard. And upstairs, a living space with a skylight and exposed brick tops off the spacious home.

Credit: Rob Moreno Photography

Outside, the 0.96-acre property makes room for a small barn. Once used as a bookstore, the outbuilding could serve as a detached art studio, writing nook, or even a shoe-making workshop. According to the home’s owner, the neighborhood was home to a cottage industry for shoemaking the early 19th century. She discovered proof while digging into the yard to create a back lawn. After some heavy-duty earth moving, she found rusty old shoe patterns in the dirt.

Talk about history! This storied spot is listed by Robin Martyn with Churchill Properties for $575,000.

Credit: Rob Moreno Photography
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