The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, also known as The House of Seven Gables, is located in Salem, Massachusetts. It was built in 1668 by Captain John Turner and is the oldest timber frame house on its original foundation in the United States. What is the significance of this old, New England home? It was the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel, The House of Seven Gables.
Unlike The Wayside, Hawthorne never lived in this home, but he often visited his cousin, Susanna Ingersoll who regaled him with stories of the home. At the time that Hawthorne visited, four of the gables had been removed to match current architectural trends, but Ingersoll showed her cousin the beams and mortises in the attic illustrating where the additional gables used to be. If you’ve ever read the story, you know that the house is practically described as an additional living character.
In the early 1900s, the home was purchased by Caroline O. Emmerton who worked with an architect to make the house reflect the one in Hawthorne’s story. Restorations included adding back the missing gables, creating a secret passageway in a chimney and adding a cent shop like the one run by Hepzibah Pyncheon in The House of Seven Gables.
Other historic Salem buildings have been moved to the grounds at the House of Seven Gables and can be toured with museum admission. Most noteably of these is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace.
If you are in Salem, I definitely recommend a stop at The House of Seven Gables. Unfortunately, due to the oppressive heat (it was 90 degrees at 10 AM), we didn’t get to see much more in Salem. After we left the museum, we headed north towards Acadia. Check back next week for our first look at Acadia National Park!
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