Swain - Gaylord house : an architectural and historical interpretation


Material Information

Swain - Gaylord house : an architectural and historical interpretation
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Benedict, Harry III
Griffin, Rod
Jones, Laura
Steele, Dorothy
Taylor, Julie
Preservation Institute: Nantucket
Department of Architecture, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Nantucket, MA
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Historic preservation
41.279017 x -70.095934

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:

Full Text



Architectural and Historical



Harry Benedict III
Rod Griffin
Laura Jones
Dorothy Steele
Julie Taylor


Historical Overview . . . . . . . . 1

Physical Context . . .. . . .. . 13

Building Description . . . . . . .

Analysis of Interiors . . . ...... .6

The Structural System: Construction and
Description . . . . . . . . . 5

Evolution of the Lean-To Plan and
Evaluation of the c. 1934 Renovation . .. .

Maintenence Renort . . . . . . .. 9

Appendix . . . . . . . . . .


The focus of this interpretation is an eighteenth

century lean-to residence located at 3 Weymouth Street in

Nantucket, Massachusetts. Historically the building has

been referred to by its first known owner, Richard Swain.

In an effort to distinguish this from additional Swain houses

we have affixed the name of the present owners, Mr. and

Mrs. Henry Gaylord.

The building has been adapted to meet the needs of successive

owners. It is this facet of the house which has proven to

be most challenging for our interpretation. An analysis of

the house has included a historical search as well as a close

examination of the actual fabric of the building. Although an

analysis of such a house can never be conclusive, it has resulted

in a clearer understanding and appreciation for this particular

building which can be applied to architecture in general.

Historical Context


Original Settlement

The association of 3 Weymouth Street with Richard Swain

links the house to a family instrumental in the settlement and

development of Nantucket. Reference to Swain's ancestors in

relation to Nantucket first occurs in 1659, approximately one

hundred years prior to the construction of the Swain-Gaylord

house. In February of that year John and Richard Swain I were

listed among a group of men from Salisbury, Massachusetts who

applied to purchase the western portion of the island Although

the native inhabitants were Indians, the transaction occuned

between the Salisbury group and Thomas Mayhew of Massachusetts.

Mayhew had been granted title to the island by representatives

of the English government in 1641.

The Salisbury group consisted of non-Puritans and

separatist sympathizers who were attempting to escape Puritanical
oppression on the mainland. As a result,the island was viewed

as a religious asylum for Quakers. Paradoxically, the Quaker

influence dominated the community and in a sense created a closed


The original purchasers realized the need for local

organization and economic stability. Consequently, a proprietor-

ship was formed to manage the division of land. A proprietorship

was a concept common in 17th century New England in which a

group of individuals held in common a parcel of land to be developed

for their mutual advantage.3 Under this system the settlers

acquired individual house lots measuring 38 acres and retained

the remainder for common pasture land.

The original land division and settlement occurred at

Sherborne (Sherburne) which was located to the west of the

present town of Nantucket. This settlement was created around

a sheltered harbor known as tetpaum, This was a small harbor

but it adequately served the community wnich focused primarily

on sneep raising with some supplementary fishing

Land division was accomplished by the proprietors with

William Mayhew, Peter Folger and Richard Swain I designating

individual lots and common lands. The result was a crescent shape

development surrounded by small plowed fields. (See Figure 1)

Land was divided accordingto function, resulting in square

house lots and long agricultural strips. A sensitivity to

contours is also evident in the plans.

Expansion occurred as the proprietors attempted to attract the

necessary artisans and laborers. This was achieved by creating

half share positions and expanding the proprietorship to 27

shares from the original 20 shares. The system-retained feudal

overtones, however, and eventually resulted in an insurrection of

the half share men in 1670.4

As an insular community, the people were naturally dependent

on the sea. Economically it became a greater factor as whaling



The History of Nantucket, A. Starbuck

was instituted. This was a practice derived from the native

Indians but differing in purpose. The Indians engaged in

whaling primarily to provide food, whereas the settlers concentrated

on producing marketable items (i.e. oil for lighting and tallow

for candles). The whaling efforts were limited to off shore

ventures until 1712 when a larger species of whale, the

spermacetti whale was killed and found to be a more profitable

source of oil. Large 30 ton vessels were constructed and

deepLaea expeditions begun in the early 18th century. The
advent of deep sea whaling transformed Nantucket, exposing it

to the wealth and. influence of Europe.5

Removal from Settlement Site

The changes in whaling techniques resulted in a significant

change within the Sherborne settlement. The iftlpum -harbor

proved inadequate for larger vessels and the closing of the

harbor during a storm finally forced the re-location of the

community. The settlement moved to Great Harbor, the present

site of Nantucket. Strips of land had been surveyed around

the harbor in 1678 as the Wesco Acre lots. These were subdivided

and incorporated into the town center. Development continued

around the waterfront as -. try-porks, piers and warehouses were

constructed to service the whale industry.

Demands for space required the additional surveying of

land located south of the town center. In 1717 the Fish Lots

were laid out as residential and agricultural lots with

additional space for maritime storage. Directly south of the

Fish Lots were the West Monomoy lots, surveyed in 1726. These

were agricultural and residential lots which overlooked the

harbor. The actual boundary between the West Monomoy and Fish

Lots is difficult to document since the surveyors of the parcels

used impermanent reference points (trees, swamps, etc.). The

boundaries are somewhat ambiguous for that reason.

The result of these new land divisions was a cohesive community

in which lots were closely related and bounded by public paths.

See Figure 2. This closely knit plan is in marked contrast to

the earlier Sherborne settlement of widely dispersed plots.

The compact community was a necessity in a settlement so closely

oriented to the sea. The location near the water allowed the

people to watch for departures and arrivals and was also

necessary in times of emergency) such as fire or war.

Social History

In the 18th century Nantucket was thriving economically and

culturally. By 1750 one half of the 5600 people in Nantucket

were Quakers. This movement was significantly effecting the

lifestyle and aesthetics of the community. Architecturally

the ideals of the Quakers resulted in simple designs, such as

the lean-to style. This form persisted because of the practical

and unpretentious qualities of the design. Houses constructed

in this style were generally undecorated. The main facade



The Architectur ,.of, isor. ic -Nantucket
Clay Lancaster

abutted the street and ancillary structures, such as barns,

were located in the rear of the lot.

The Swain-Gaylord house is characteristic of the lean to

variety common in the 1750's. The exact date of construction has not

bedn determined, however, by 1760 there is mention of a

Richard Swain house in the West Monomoy-Fish Lot area. This

ieference ocdurd in a deed between Richard Swain's brother,

David and Joseph Swain. Unfortunately, the location of the house

is not specifically defined. The first known owner of the

property is Richard Swain, a local housewright and great-great

grandson of Richard Swain the original proprietor. Swain was

married in 1753 to Anna Gardner. He may have purchased or

constructed a house soon thereafter.

In 1767 Richard Swain sold the house to a mariner, Richard

Chadwick. The total price was 120 pounds, 6 shillings and

8 pence.

The Monomoy area was inhabited by mariners because of the close

relationship to the harbor area. The area was not as prestigious

as the Orange St.(Old Main St.), section but.Chadwick was apparently

very successful. He owned shares in the South Wharf, warehouses,
two houses and a schooner.

Chadwick remained fairly prosperous during a difficult

economic period. The Revolutionary War slowed whaling and

resulted in emigration from Nantucket. The population decreased

from 5600 in 1750 to 4620 in 1790. The whale'.industry recovered

from the temporary setback and the community entered another

period of economic growth.

Richard Chadwick's will provided for the transfer of the

Swain-Gaylord house to his wife and three sons. (See Appendix

P. V ) In 1787 a document was drawn up to equitably divide the
house between two sons, Nathaniel and David, while reserving

certain portions for their mother. (See Appendix p.VI ) Each

family was allotted certain rooms as well :s equal passage up

the stairs. The division of the house in this manner allowed

the families to continue to function separately rather than

as one large group. This type of arrangement was particularly

advantageous when the men were involved in whaling and absent

for large amounts of time. Combining the households reduced

living costs and provided a measure of security. This may

have been the situation in the Chadwick household since David

Chadwick was a mariner.

By 1819, Nathaniel Chadwick was the sole owner of the

house. An inventory compiled at his death indicates he was

a successful housewright and business man with an estate of

5,561.00 dollars. Chadwick owned several houses, shares in

the Pacific National Bank and was a part owner in a sloop, the

"Two Friends". (See Appendix p.V1l)

A stipulation in Nathaniel Chadwick's will transferred the

house and property to his children and grandchildren upon the

death of his wife, Margaret. The real estate was to be sold

to finance their future. The executors of the will sold the

house and property to Reuben and John Meader for a total price

of 381.95 dollars.

This transfer occurred during the period of greatest activity

in whaling on Nantucket. The War of 1812 had severely

restricted activity and destroyed one half of the island fleet.

The initial recovery was slow, however, in the-interim the

whale herds had multiplied. Another factor in Nantucket's

success was the discovery of Japanese whaling grounds and

lengthy expeditions to the Pacific. The whaling vessel Sarah

returned from a three year expedition in 1830 with a cargo

worth 98,000 dollars. This type of activity continued until

1842, after which the industry began to decline. The

economic base of the community gradually eroded as the need for

whale oil and other byproducts declined. The specialization

in whaling had created a great deal of wealth but resulted

in a less diversified economy. Agriculture and sheep raising

had effectively been phased out in the 19th century, :

leaving the town with few alternate formal of income. The

Great Fire occurred in 1846, destroying the town center. Rebuilding

began immediately-but the population was reduced by a migration

to California during the gold rush.

The Swain-Gaylord house was owned by John Meader, a local

blacksmith, and Reuben Meader, a cooper, during the 1830's.

Both men became involved in whaling and owned shares in South

Wharf. The Meaders eventually moved to California and were

involved in copper mining for a number of years. Unlike most,

they returned to Nantucket and by 1850 were listed among the

richest mention the island10

In 1838 the house was purchased by the Meaders' brother-in-

law, John Colesworthy for 550.00 dollars. The deed describes

the Swain-Gaylord house as being "bounded on the south by

Weymouth lane, on the west by land of the said John Meader,

whereon his dwelling standeth, on the north by land of Joseph

Mac Cleave and on the east by land late or formerly of

Thomas V. Mac Cleave."11Apparently John Meader had purchased

the adjoining lot or constructed a house en a portion of the

Swain lot. The deed also reserved one half of the well and

a passway to the pump for the Meaders.

The Colesworthy family inherited the house after John

Colesworthy's death. His children, Mary, William, John, Henry

and Edwin owned the property on a share basis. Edwin and

Henry purchased the other three shares for 300.00 dollars in

1867. Three years later Edwin purchased Henry's share for

70.00 dollars. This indicates a general decline in property

values after 1850.

Robert and Maria Joy purchased the house in 1895. The

Joys owned additional property in the area and may have

purchased the Swain-Gaylord house primarily as a business

venture since they resold it the following year.

Nantucket began to develop as a resort town in the 1870!s.

Redevelopment first began in the waterfront area with the

impetus being the desire to attract tourists. The transportation

systems were improved and general concern shown toward the

aesthetic qualitia of Nantucket. The influx of tourists

signalled the beginning of the purchase of homes by off islanders

for use as summer residences.

Samuel and Julie Hosmer purchased the house in 1896. Their

son, Samuel, inherited the estate in 1919 and apparently

resided in the house during the summer months, spending

the majority of the year in Lovell, Massachusetts. Samuel

willed the house to his son, Emory, in 1933. The house was

resold the following year to Winthrop Coffin of Brookline,

Massachusetts. It was subsequently resold to Nellie and

Edward Evans in 1934.

A concern-with.retaining the historic character of Nantucket

was evident in the 1930's. The creation of a tourist business

resulted in an~expansion of new housing facilities and, at the

same time, popularized the rehabilitation of older housing stock.

This latter trend is apparent in the Swain-Gaylord house.

In the 1930's a shed addition was constructed on the west

elevation to accommodate a modern kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Other portions of the interior were reworked to adapt the

building to 20th century lifestyles. The work di, lays an.-..

awareness of the evolution of the home and'a concern with

preserving the character of the 18th century work.

Philip Heywood acquired the property in 1944, Eleven

years later he sold the house to Florence Powell.

The present owners, Henry and Nancy Gaylord, purchased

the house and its furnishings in 1970. Mrs. Gaylord is well

acquainted with Nantucket, having spent summers at her mothers

house at 31 Liberty Street. Until recently, Mr. Gaylord

operated his own insurance business in Stamford, Connecticut2.

They now reside in Florida during the majority of the year.

Physical Context


The Swain-Gaylord house is located on Weymouth Street

which is one of several lateral streets connecting Orange and

Union Streets. Documentation of the original lot demarcation

is difficult since boundary descriptions are in relation to

owners of the neighboring property (i.e. bounded on the west

by land owned by Paul Frye). The lot is assumed to lie in the

original first lot of the West Monomoy shares. However, as

reported in the Mc Cleave Dickie house report (PItN 1977) the

division between the Monomoy and Fish lots is indistinct.

The proprietors surveyed the area in 1726 and designated

Weymouth Street as a" highway on the south side of our share

twelve foot wide and to begin on the east side of old Main Road

and to run to the east end of our share."

A major factor in the street layout and general character

of the neighborhood is the existence of the harbor to the east.

The major streets in the area -Orange Street (old Main) and

Union St.- follow the contours of the harbor.

A steep bank known as Quanaty Bank exists between Orange

and Union Streetand in fact forms a physical barrier between

the two streets at the north end. The bank slope gradually

decreases in the vicinity of Flora Street. At this point,

connecting streets occur between the two major arteries.

The higher elevation caused by Quanaty Bank results in a

commanding view of the harbor area. Houses located along the

bank are oriented toward the harbor rather than the street.

The homes located along the bank are generally larger than

those in the interior of the block.

The Swain- Gaylord house is well integrated into the

neighborhood. Houses are generally 13/4 to 2 story buildings

with ridge lines parallel to Weymouth St. Buildings located

on Orange and Union Streets are generally of a larger scale.

Shingled houses dominate the area but a few clapboard houses

are interspersed throughout the neighborhood. Since the

Weymouth St. houses abut the street, the main garden and yard

area occurs to the rear of the lot. Hedges and shrubs planted

along the front create buffer zones for the houses and delineate

property lines.

The property lines of the Swain-Gaylord house are marked by

vertical board fence on the north, east and west sides.

A cobblestone driveway, added in 1977, creates an interesting

textural pattern in contrast to the road and yard. This

driveway terminates at the rear yard with the boundary marked

by a wooden gate.

The yard area is quite private and consists of a brick

patio area separated from the main grass yard by low boxwood

hedges. Border gardens include many varieties of flowers fht

soften the fence line area. (See Figure 2)

The garage located on the property first appears on the

tax roles in 1948.2 It was designed to conform to-the basic

lean to style of the house.

Another lean-to house is located directly north of the

Swain-Gaylord house. However, the ridge line is perpendicular

to the street and the slope ol the roof is not as great as

that of the Swain-Gaylord house.(See photo 1).

This house and the garage essentially block the house from

view on the Mulberry Street side.

The front facade of the Swain-Gaylord house is barely
visible from the east since the house is set back from the

street slightly farther than is 5 Weymouth Street. (See
Photo 2). 1 /

The front facade is dominated by a wisteria vine which

canopies oVer the front entrance. (See Photo 3)

This vine creates a transition

zone from the street to the

house. Most importantly, the

wisteria serves as a unique

identifying 'symbol of the


The most striking view of the

house is achieved at the crest

of Quanaty Bank. At that point

the form is silhouetted and, the

saltbox profile is clearly

displayed. The open space

existing between the Mc Cleave-Dickie house and the Swain-

Gaylord house allows for a broader vista and a clear view of

the side elevation. (See Photo 4)

The streets in the Weymouth Street area are one way

because of their narrowness. Union Street is one way north

into town and Orange Street is one way south out of town.

The connecting streets run east-west and alternate directions

starting with Flora Street being one way west.(See Figure 1)

These patterns strongly effect the amount of traffic on

Weymouth Street. Since Weymouth street does not continue



i 3


Swain-Gaylord House
and neighborhood

MALT too
p~n~r\\-^^ \

1. ivIST-Vt riG
4. t>Av LILI5S
(6. P-ltYRA-&5AS
7. PtLA N
9, RoSES

(!. 1u~eltoos BELOfsl A
12. AR\ cLt.>5
I RHo>Ow ft^RO t^
14. 1o LLYI4co4K
15". PRTO N I.AS
Io. lolEm TRe-E
"0. BOX3^eo sT1ROT

19. iOSTO0~3N) -ASl




Ft. L -- -z'

through to Pleasant street but stops at Orange, traffic is

less than on the through streets in the area such as Dover

Street or York Street. The east-vest streets are

narrow and ascending because of the slope of Quanaty Bank.

This creates a strong vertical


The island located at the

base of Weymouth Street is

unique in the area and provides

a chanelling function. Traffic

is actually diverted from

Weymouth street around Francis


.These various traffic

patterns tend to limit the amount of traffic on Weymouth

Street and channel traffic past the house in a east-west

direction. This presents the most effective view to the

observer. In addition, the location of the house near the ... ,!

crest of Quanaty Bank accents the mass and profile... .In

general, the house is integrated into the environment of the

street and contributes significantly to the neighborhood.

Building Description


General Form

The Swain house is described as an integral lean-to.

The time of its construction is referred to as the Hangover

Transitional period which lasted from about 1730 until

1790, during which time the Georgian style was also popular.1

Most lean-to homes had three bayed facades and were two and

one half stories high as in the case of the Swain house.

The two story lean-to was not only popular on Nantucket

in the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century,

but was also predominate in New England. The desirability of

the style was due to several factors, especially on Nantucket.

Most of these homes were oriented to the south which gave

meaning'to the catslide or long roof line going to the rear,

to the north.2 The lean-to is known for its rear roof reaching

down, to expose less than the first floor in the back. The front

roof line ends at the second story. The lower rear roof helped

to direct the north wind over the house while the south side

or the front received the warmth of the sun. Also, this back

extension helped to insulate the house because, generally,

a fireplace was located in the rear chamber as wel as the
extra protection of the expanded space. Space was increased

in a less pretentious manner by the use of the extended roof

line which easedd the Quaker attitudes prevalent during

this period on Nantucket.4

The Swain house is an integral lean-to which designates

that it was originally built with its catslide roof.

Other homes of this period were expanded by having their rear

roof lines extended out and therefore, adding space to the

home. This type of house is referred to as the added lean-to.5

Both types are more commonly known as salt boxes but this term

was not used until a revival of interest in colonial architecture

during the late nineteenth century.6 The early kitchen item,

the salt box,had a slanted lid and became a logical and fitting

reference for the lean-to style. The integral lean-to or salt

box had a full first floor, the second floor with a rear sloping

ceiling, and an attic. The Swain house reflects these qualities.

It is possible that the Swain house could also be

described as a half-house. A structure of this type was built

seemingly in hopes of future expansion. The chimney was not

centered but placed to the right or left of the facade,

aligned with the front doorway. With the chimney placed

close to an outside wall of the home, then it became more

efficient to add on to that side of the structure. This way

existing fireplace facilities were made use of in the addition.

Evolution of Floor Plan

The Swain house still reflects the early, typical floor

plan of the half-house. The front door placement indicated

the fireplace location in the construction. To determine

the evolution of this present floor plan, it is necessary to

discuss the purpose or the original intentions of these

types of homes. The entrance would open up to the staircase

which was usually winding with a closet beneath. The main

room or great room, off the front entrance, would have been

equiped with .a large fireplace and bake oven. This room most

often was square with the lean-to area broker p into three

chambers behind. These chambers would have been a milk room

or pantry, a borning room, and a third room larger than the

other two with a fireplace. The purpose was to allow for a

hollow area on the end of the chimney wall to permit future

fireplaces when and if the house was expanded into a full house.

This empty space may have been in some cases a hall way

leading from the front to the back of the home. The second

floor reflected the first with a main chamber above the great

room and a sloping ceiling over the lean-to area.

The Swain house resembles this floor plan. The

great room is presently used as a living room. It is possible

that this home had only two chambers in the lean-to area as are

still in existence. Although the addition of the shed on the

west side of the Swain house expanded the area beyond to the

back of the chimney it can be speculated that there may have

formerly been a solid chimney mass or a narrow passage way

through this side of the house. An interesting reference is the

Bunker research found in the appendix as to a discussion of

the split of the plan in order to accommodate two families.

The cool cellar of the Swain house is located in the

north east corner of the basement, presently under the first

floor bedroom. Originally, this chamber above the circular

brick area may have been the pantry or milk room. It was

entered through an opening in the floor by a ladder which


there is evidence of on the north ceiling area. The cool

cellar area was used for food storage due to the fact that

it kept items cool and seldom froze. There is some speculation

as to whether the cellar is part of the original structure

but it was common in many of these style homes to include

them from the start.

Roof Covering

Commonly wood shingles were used as roofing. The Swain

house, at this time, utilizes gray, asphalt shingles. It is

not known for certain at what time these present shingles

were applied to the roof.


The siding is presently wood shingles. Wood shingles

were most often used after 1700 as exterior coverings for

Nantucket homes. This offered a practical approach to the

harsh, damp weather of the island as it still is today. Painted

wood clapboards and trim on these Nantucket homes must be repaint-

ed often, sometimes yearly. The shingles weather well and

can be easily replaced. The Shingles are exposed five inches

to the weather which gives thea soft, gray patina. White

cedar was used in most cases.

A photograph-postcard made of the house between 1925

and 1930 shows the Swain house along with the other homes on

Weymouth. The photo gives the impression that this home

may have had a clapboard facade. Besides this evidence, there

is no other indication that it ever had clapboards.

K" > i
/WI I-1^***c ^ ^


The decorative trim of the Swain house is painted barn

red. This includes the cornice, drainpipes, windows, doors,

corner boards and rake boards. These items were painted in

1977. Beneath the red paint, there is evidence of gray

paint previously used. Prior to the gray paint, it is -

unknown whether it had always been painted or not.

The cornice is simple with adapted twentieth century wooden

gutter extending across the roof edge in the front of the .

house.10 The gutter is disguised as the crown moldingi4nd

there is no finishing detail on it, being a simple line

across with a plain facia and bed molding. The gutters, a

late nineteenth century innovation, extend to wooden drain-

pipes that lead down to the ground on each end of the facade.

Gutters on the west side, the shed roof, are of the same style

and material as those of the front but are held in place by

wooden brackets fastened to the bed mzoldingThe same situation

is true of the rear roof edge* Both of these areas have

drainpipes which lead dow o the ground or a wooden shoot

formed by two boards to carry the water away from the house.


It is not known when these gutters were added. The cornice

returns on the facade end at the gables and act as openings

for the gutters.



Rake boards follow the ridge line of the gables.

They are five inches wide and do not taper. The feather ends

of the shingles are covered by the boards, helping to prevent

water leakage.. Also, the gables do not extend out and the

rake boards are flush with side roof edges. Double corner

boards, 5" wide provide a tight weather seal where the

shingles end at the edges of the external walls. The corner

boards extend from the bed molding down to the foundation.

Trim around the windows consists of a plain chamfered

head and a sill which is finished with a " bead along the

lower edge. The frames are constructed, presumably, of

white pine. The method of construction for such frames

involved the joining of head and sill with the architrave by a

tusk-tenon mortise joint and held in place with a wooden

peg. Also, the head and sill project out farther than the

architraves, a common occurance. The frames were secured

in the wall by mortising the projecting ends of the head and

sill into the studs.11

It appears that all but two window frames, the first floor,

rear bedroom window and the west attic, hall window, have

been replaced during the lifetime of the Swain house. A

distinguishing feature between the older first floor frame and


the others is the absence of4he bead on the lower sill edge.

It is not known if these two exceptions are original but it

is felt that they are older. The various types of muntins

found on the inside sashes also exhibits that there were

replacements made at various different time periods according

to need.

Trim around the three exterior doors are of the same

tusk and tenon construction.

Window frames on the second floor of the facade abut

the soffit. There is an insertion board above each head

that alows the frame to reach the soffit.


Another aspect of the window frames is the practice

of cutting out the back section of the sill, from the

architrave to the sill. The purpose of this is not ascertained

but the seemingly newer frames do not include this aspect.

4f ,




Windows on the Swain house vary as to their size. The

lights are of the typical dimensions of the Hangover Transitional

Period of six inches by eight inches.12 They are double hung

with the upper sash stable and the bottom sash able to slide up.

The combinations vary from 12/12, 6/6, 4/4,6/9 and 8/12

panes. Typically, the early salt box would have had the

most and largest windows in the front. The Swain house has

two 12/12 each on the first and second floor of the facade.

The placement of the two south east end windows is not

origina31ue to evidence on the interior 4 braces

that crossed the corners of the front facade. The placement

of these braces would 6eae not allowed for window space.

Many salt box homes had two front windows oinach floor placed

close together to avoid interference with the braces or else

had only one window for each floor.14

Windows placed on the east and west sides vary in size

and in accordance to room placement. There is little concern

shown for outside appearance in rhythm, giving an unsettled,

scattered feeling. The shed addition of the 1930's one 6/6

window which has larger lights than the rest in the home,

seven" by nine" panes. The rear exterior wall includes

three consecutive 8/12 windows and one 6/6 window. It is

possible that the center of the three 8/12 windows was

installed during the 1930's restdation activities.

Scuttle and Skylight

A scuttle is located flush to the eastside of the chimney

on the south side of the roof. As there were great dangers

of roof fires, these openings were useful for checking on

stray sparks or even to aoow for easier access in case of an

actual fire. It consists of a wooden frame on the outside

of the roof with a hinged top at the ridge that opens out to

the back. Presently covered with asphalt shingles, it is hard

to detect unless open. A screen covers the scuttle on the

interior for convenience in use.

Also, located on the roof, about the center on the second

floor ceiling is located another opening similar to the scuttle.

It is a frame on the roof but has glass set in the cover and

acts as a skylight. It opens to the ridge of the roof.


The chimney is located on the west end of the roof ridge,

where it is centered. It is aligned with the front door as was

the custom of this style. It is constructed of brick and

mJdtar. Being that it is not of old materials, it is not

known when it was replaced on the Swain house. There is a three

course rim around the top and it is of common bond method. A

slate cap covers the entire opening extending one stretcher

length up in the air from the rim. It is flashed with lead to

prevent leakage.


A 0"7NO'l ED. T S

"any individuals have made contributions to this project.

Those to whom we are exceptionally grateful are: Hank

and rancy Gaylord who allowed us into their home to have a

unique learning experience; Paul Buchanan who very gener-

ously shared his knowledge and love of historic architecture;

Paul ~rye, Jean PRichmond and neighbors whose pe-sonal insights

were greatly a-oreciated; the staff of the Foulger Museum and

the Deeds and robate offices of rantucket who were patient

and helpful in our research; and F. Blair Peeves and Robert

Giebner whose devotion to preservation made this experience


Interior Analysis


Much of the structural framing is exposed on the building's

interior. All corner posts, girts and summer beams are partially

exposed. In some arts of the house, floor joists are exposed.

In the attic and on the second floor, pri(iple rafters and some

purlins are visable.

The house was built in a transitional period 'during which

some attempt was made to decorate visable structural elements.

For example, beams were b-aded as opposed to being chamfered as

they were in the earlier nart of the 18th century, With the

exception of the new end girt in the shed addition, beams have

18th century beads. The end girt has a 19th century bead,

although it is a 20th century addition, in an attempt to emulate

the original beads.

There are two occurances of beams -.tho t beads. One can

be seen in the dining room running east/west on the south side

of the room betw'een-the fireplace gireer and the joist framing

the stair opening. This short beam is chamfered and is possibly

salvage material which would account for its individuality.

The other chamfered beam is in the upstairs front hall.

The west end girt is beaded from the front of the building? to

six feet into the hall. Trom that po'nt to the north -r-ll of

the bath, the beam is chamfered (The plastered ceiling and wall

in the hall show evidence of a seam at the point r7he-e bead becomes

chamfer indicating that ther- nay have been a wall. The wall

77ould have e-tended across the hall, running throTugh the present

stair oneninr).

Before plastering of walls and ceilings came into common

use, beams and posts were not cased in. Plastering contributed

to the use of casing in the late 18th century.1 No structural

members in the Gaylord house were originally cased in even

though the front rooms of the house were probably originally


Most exposed posts in the house are chamfered gunstock

posts. An exception to this is the former northwest corner post

of the house which is flush with the wall. This post, as well

as the post to the east of it in the same wall, has a Jacobean

folk capital. The Jacobean style w.as popular in England in

1603-25. Another example of a Jacobean folk canrital can be

seen in e3 New Street.2 WThen the shed addition was nut on, the

corner nost and capital were made to look like the old nost. The

new capital is longer and more refined than the old capital.

(see photo 2)

6Y6 u/fIIi

Floor joists are exposed on the first floor in the dining
room and bedroom ceilings, and on the second floor in the rear
hall and northeast bedroom. These joists are unbeaded though
exposed joists were beaded dui&ring this period.3 They were, however,
probably originally exr*osed because these rooms ,7ere paneled,
not plastered as morre imn)ortant rooms of the house would have
been.4 There are indications of lath and nail holes on the ceiling
joists in the dining room and first floor bedroom, so those
rooms at one time had plastered ceilings. (see photo 3)

O- Jk


NJ,,) /- l~1af

Less important rooms had fewer decorations applied to

the exposed structure. In the attic, the rough hewn rafters

and purlins have no decoration. Beams and posts in the basement

have no decoration except in cases where salvaged material has

been used. There are, for example, two fireplace lintels

resting on brick piers surporting the foundation for the living

room fireplace. (ser hhoto 4) The older supports in the basement

are hand hewn. Some of the joists (notably those on the ceiling

of the root cellar) are rough logs.

Structural elements were originally painted. This was

more for protection of the wood than for decorative reasons.

Traces of paint can be seen on posts, beams and rafters through-

out the house except in the basement. Colors include blue

and white.


The house has two floor thicknesses, each one inch, on the first

floor. Nantucket homes typically had this condition for insul-

ation purposes. The second and third floors originally had one

one inch floor thickness (the third floor nowr has a new floor

laid directly on the old floor). All original floors arrt wood

random width pine floorboards with butt joints.. They range in

width from 11" to 1'-10". Floors are s-t parallel to the subfloor.

Floors which run in a north/south direction are: living room,

first flnor bedroom, entry, master bedroom, second floor front

hall, and second floor bath. Floors which run in an east/west

direction are: diningroom, second floor rear bedrooms and rear

hall. The attic presently has floorboards 9"'to 1'-4" floorboards

running east/west in the main part and 3 1/4" floorboards

running east/west in the bath; however, the original floor has

wide floorboards running in a north/south direction.

The joists (north/south) and subfloor (east/west) to the

dining room have been replaced sometime in this century, and the

floorboards have been taken up and replaced, not necessarily

in the same configurations as before. They are, however,

original floorboards.

The floor in the first floor bedroom, which is above the

root cellar, may have originally been one floor thickness.

This is evidenced in the fact that the shoe molding on the west

wall of this room extends below the floor level and sits on the

subfloor. The quarter round shoe molding dates to 1825 or-later

according to Paul Buchanan, director of architectural research

at Colonial 7illiamsburg.

The basement floor is a modern poured cement floor. The

floor in the root cellar, which is 10" above the rest of the

basement floor level, is an older cement floor. Exposed parts

of the cement reveal a slate floor and brick around the base

of a ladder which once led into the root cellar.,

Floors in the shed addition are newer materials except for

the addition part of the dining room in which old boards were

used, and the bath in which old boards were used. The kitchen

has modern 9" vinyl tile.

Floors are varnished except in the second floor bath, second

floor rear bedrooms and rear hall which are painted light brown,

and the floor in the third floor bath, which is painted green.


In general, walls in the Swain (Gaylord) house are plastered

in the front rooms of the house and paneled in the rear. Newer

materials include some drywall in the shed addition and Gelotex

panels in the attic.

According to Kelly (Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut),

plaster would have been in common use by the 1750's but it was

usual for paneling to be used iin the less 'important rooms of

the house.

Vertical.wood paneling occurs in the dining room, on the

west wall of the first floor bedroom, on the east wall of the

second floor northwest bedroom,:on the west wall of the second

floor northeast bedroom and in the second floor rear hall.

Boards are l'-0" to 1'-5" wide with battens except in the first

floor bedroom where some of the boards are beaded and some are

not--an indication that the boards were re-used.

Rooms that are plastered are the livingroom, the entry hall,

the master bedroom, the second floor front hall, and the second

floor bath. On plastered walls, woodwork is reduced to a base-

board. In the living room, the baseboard is 5" to 7" and in the

master bedroom, it is about 3".


On The north vlall of the living room between the fireplace

and the croor to the dining room, there is Tainscottinr 2'-2"
high. It is a single board. The purpose of it may have bern to

protect the wall from firewood stacked in that corner. On the

wall directly above it on the second floor, in the master bedroom,

there is a board starting abolt a foot above floor level foing un

to 2'-5" above floor level running horizontally from the fire-

place to the door to the rear hall. This board does not seem
high enough to have been a chair rail; the purpose of it is

unknown. (see photos 5 and 6)

..k .- --< pi^ b ^^ ^r-
It is believed that the wall between the dining room and
the first floor bedroom has been moved abolt 2'-10" to the

east. Evidence of the former location of the wall c'n be seen

on a ceilin- joist in the dining room (see rhoto 7). The wall,

in its present location, runs right over a patch for a trap door.

In this same wall, there is a Datch for a door

(see photo 7). There are nail holes for door trim and indications

of butt hinges having been used (according to Paul Buchanan,

butt hinges were used primarily in furniture o-rior to the 19th

century). There are indications of white naint on both sides


of the wall.

Like walls in the front rooms of the house, ceilings in

those important rooms were originally plastered. Ceilings in

the rear rooms of the house were exposed joist ceilings.

The second floor rear bedrooms and rear hall originally had

exposed ceilings, but are plastered now. .The northeast bedroom

and the hall r e nnlstered between the joists and the ceiling of

the northwest bedroom is plastered under the joists.

In the attic crawl space, one can see original ceiling

lath for the master bedroom, substantiating that the ceiling

was always plastered. The lath is the hand-split type, which

can be dated to the period of the house, according to Paul

Buchanan. This lath is nailed to the bottom of the joists.

Lath for Dplster wnlls would normally be nailed to the wall

studs, but there are at least two exceptions in the Swain

house. In the second floor northwest bedroom on the north

wall, lath is nailed directly to the roof sheathing. The


other example is on the back of a door in the master bedroom.

There are indications of 1" to 1 1/4" lath nailed horizontally

on the single board. The board was obviously taken from a

wall, but whether or not it was in this house is not known.

There are no other indications of lath nailed directly onto

a nlank wall. (see photo 9).


The front door is the most elaborate door in the house.

It features a five light transom, and beaded vertical boards

on the outside. It is crossed with plain horizontal boards

on the inside. This is similar, but more elaborate, to 17th

century outside doors in Connecticut.6 The exterior door on

the rear side of the house is similar to the front door.

Like the front door, it has three vertical boards which are

beaded, It is not, however, crossed with horizontal boards,

but with wide battens on the inside of the door. There is 7" x 8"

light in the unper T.rt of door. 3oth exterior" doors have

st-rap hinges. The -"'ear door has foliated strap hinges 1'-9"

long. The end of the hinges are formed into an eye hung unon

a shoulde-ed iron peg driven into the door jambi(see photo 10).

According to Telly,,these are the earliest tyne of hinges,

The same type of hinges can be seen on the Jethro Coffin House

on Nantucket. The front doorAis hinged on the inside with

foliated str-a: hinges which re modern reproductions (see photo

11). The re:- door has a wooden latch--1'-9" in len th --

which wold have been typical of the period of the house.

The front door latch has been replaced with an iron door latch.

Theother exterior door--the door to the shed addition--

is a newer door with two panels, four lights and an iron door

latch. All exterior doors also have modern screen doors.


Most of the interior doors in the Swain house are board

and batten. In some cases, doors are a single board as large

as 2' x 6'. More detailed doors occur in the livingroom.. The
door between the livingroom and the entry hall is a two panel

door with the more deco tive side facing the hall (see figure 3)

-- --a--n -^l- -^ rd a

The doors between the livingroom and the diningroom and between

the livingroom and the bedroom are the same kind of door.

In the case of these two doors, the decorative sides face

the livinqroom.
The door between the dining room and the bedroom is typical

of the majority of doors in the house. It is one bo3rd, plain

on the diningroom side, with battens on the bedroom side.

A door between the dining room and the nantry in the shed addition

is an older door with evidence of having been latched higher on
the door. Most of the doors in this house have been through

a lot of changes. 'Doors in rooms with fireplaces were originally
hinged so as to swing into the room towards the fireplace (heat

was less likely to escape from the room). These doors have

been rehinged so that they now sinq against walls.
Some doors have old hinges with modern nails, indicating that the

door has been moved (see photo 16).


ra D24WIA

'1 ((11

(Cy1'KFacv K;7A-*-
C~~O Kldl

^or d'rd' l Ii AVI KerM
tt ^M~vin~/\

Twentieth century doors have been rmade to look like older

doors. ost of the neweer doors are board and batten. These

new doors have wooden latches and sm.1ll wooden kobs, as do the

old doors.

The older the door, the simpler the door trim and the door

stop. The oldest doors have a very simple trim around one side

of the door opening ,which acts as the sto,.

Door latches mre all wooden latches, the oldest ones being

over one foot in len.th. A latch string opens the door from

the opposite side of the latch.

Most of the hinges in the house are H hinges of varying

dates, vTils in hinges date from the 18th century to modern

tines. In the living rcom alone, there are four different kinds

of nails in hinges (see figure 4)


'-- w---- -r- ^-"


There are four sets of, stairs in the house ann none of :them.

appear to be original. The stairs from the basement to the

first floor are 20th century. Access to the cellar wns; originally

through a trap door which was in the northeast corner of what is

now a first floor bedroom,down a ladder (There is no sign of this

trap door in the floor above,indicatirnr_ that it was in dis ,se

at the time the floor was laid). Evidence of a ladder termination

can be seen in the root cellar by the holes in the cement floor.

The present basement stairs are located under stairs going

from the entry hall on the first floor to the front hall on the

second floor. They terminate in the kitchen. The stairs.to

the second floor have also been rebuilt, ,alth'in-h the risers

and trends look old and may have been reused from an earlier

st.ir. Underneath the stairs in the basement one can see notches

in the plank wall which may have accommodated sunnorts for an

earlier stair. Nothing conclusive can be drawn. from these

notphes, however, as they do not follow an .ngle that would

be logical for a stair in this location. The secondary stairs

from the first floor to the second floor encased in a s)ace

to the.,eastof the fireDlace. They terminate in the rear hall

of the second floor. There is a left handed rail 18" above the

C~!L~-C3J 6?lrm~e4 aC
~2a4t 6C4-ll)






These stairs have been changed also. There are notches

under the stir TThich indicate a o-evious stair,(see 6hoto 18).

An indication of an even earlier stair is a floorboard in the

second floor rear "7ll2 which is -ctual.ly a winder(see nhoto 19).

The stair to the ittic is over the secondary stair from

the first floor to the second floor. It is an enclosed stair

'nd has a straight run. The handrail is righthanded nnd 17"

above the step.

There may have been an additional stair or a different

stair from the second floor to the attic as evidenced b- a

patch in the floor which may have been the location of a

newell Post (see photo 20).


There arr four fireplaces in the house, one each in the

livirnroom, diningroom, masterbedroom and second floor northwest

bedroom. All are co ttructed of mortared brick. All have mor-

tared brick hearths except for the one in the master bedroom

which has a new brick hearth laid without mortar. Since the

fireplace was redone, the hearth was apparently done without

mortar in an attempt to be true to the original hearth.

The livingroom and bedcro-m fireplaces are similar in size

and construction. They are all 1'-3" deep, have metal linings

and plaster sur-ourds. The livingroom fireplace is symmetrical

deqoite the assymetrical nature of the flue. According to 'aul

Buchanan, svr-e try would not have been sought -ffter at the time

the house was built, so this is not an accurate restorition.

Bedroom fireplaces have wood mantels. According' to Duprey,

Ivbho4 1?


*' '
~dn, ~tfrvalJ


kIL2 4jerk ^&^ai^ u^415c-f

p., (,, P-ozi r l riar ha-

iiv ivlq LrOo n~

r[~h ~e~rr rirzfl~

mintels are a 19th century innovation.8

The fireplace in the dirin' room is 2'-6" deep and the

orenin- is 6'-7" wide and 4'-5' high. The lintel for the fire-

place is hand hewn oak and either- taken from the original fire-

or salvaged from another house. There are two old fireplace

lintels in the basement salvaged for use in siJnrorting the-.

foundation of the livingroom fireplace. These lintels are both

about 7 feet lorng. This would be too short for the 'dining room

fireplace and too long for the other fireplaces. If the dimen-

sions of the fireplaces have been changed, however, these lintels

may at one time been on fireplaces in the house. That the

fireplaces Twere rebuilt and the lintels were used in the foundation

of the new fireplace seems a strong possibility.

The Structural System:

Construction and Descrintion

The visable form of early houses is directly attributable

to their structural framework, therefore it is of vital imnort-

ance to any study of architectural historic buildings, the Swain

House being no exception. In his close examination of Connec-

ticut's early domestic architecture, J. Frederick Kelly expounds on

the virtues of the errly house frnme and its construction.

H'e auote a n~ssage of his here:

"Aside from its technically architectural aspect, the
massive framing of our early houses is a thing to
delight an-one nossessed of the smallest amount of
architectural sense. A feeling of boundless strength,
of security and steadfastness, as well as a notable
kind of dignity, is inseparable from the nonderous
timbers which go to make up these mighty frames.
The framework of, the early house was a logical and
straightforwa-'d solution of the problem which con-
fro nted the builder; its simplicity and reasonable--
n ess are facts simply beyond criticism."'1

Numerous modifications have been made in the structural

system of the Swain House over the years but the basic frame-

work aone:rs typical of lean-to houses built during the first

half of the 18th century. Thd main members of construction are

oak and hewn with a broad-ax from straight tree trunks.

Although we have not ascertained the date power sawing

supplanted hewing on Nantucket, the use of the broad-ax for

shaping major members persisted until the latter part of the

eighteenth or the beginning of the nineteenth century on the

New England mainland. Even afte'- power sawing was in general

use for cutting planks, the utilization of the broad-ax for

main members curiously continued. Evidence of hand hewing

can readily be seen on the interior exposures of posts,

girts, and summer beams in #3 Weymouth. Generally, these members

are very smooth, almost as if planned. Principle rafters, on

the other hand, were left roughly finished because the craftman's

ability to create a smooth surface wasn't decoratively essential

to areas not in everyday use.

Small timbers such as ceiling joists andstuds were sawn

out because they could not be securely held in nlace if hewn.

Sawing was accom-nlished by means of a mill or sash saw. This

was a nower s aw with one or a number of lonc narrow blades

working vertically with a recip-rocating motion. Wall planks

and floor boards were also s.twn. in this manner .-d are distin-

guished by parallel cut marks running perpendicular to the boards

edge. The underside of the second story floor seen on the north

side of the house nnd wall planks adjacent to the cellar

stairs display such mar,ks,

Original plank wall at
basement stairs.Sash saw
cuts observable on closest
plank at bottom.

The circular saw was a later invention.

A simple braced frame was used in the Swain ,House. For

the purpose of this discussion we can lirrmt our immediate

concern to the original dimensions of the house without its

later one story west shed addition. The frame consists of a

sill laid on a foundation of field stone and brick. (see photo )

The corners were framed together by means of a mortise 'nd tenon

joint (see diagram 1). The joists of the first floor were

South brick foundation wall(front).
Apparently built in two parts with
bottom curvilinear section added when
this areaof cellar was excavated.
The lower wall acts as a retaining
wall for the earth supporting the up-
per section.Its shape gives it addit-
ional strength to bear lateral loads.



A .
4. Tl1i6+{C

Rough hewn log joists under
Great Room, looking toward
east sill.Foundation here is
field stone, believed granite.
It i s dry laid.North foundation
is fieldstone w/new mortar.TWest
addition foundation is field-
stone w/new mortar.A partial
brick foundation wall of full
cellar hei ght supports a later
sill for the original exterior
west wall.

/ -



r i
'UP~C i

r 1
I r
~` ia
ei ;,

"` I
IS~, d


~ici tFTAII

framed into the Sills, their top surfaces beinr flush. Original

lop floor joi sts under the great room (living room todny) d pan

the room's -idth and it is presumed additional first floor joists

would have spanned the Twidth of additional rooms although little

evidence for such a condition remains today due to much structural

re arrangement. (See photo) '

Log floor joist under Great Room
S .,tenoned into hewn member at fire-
place hearth. This mortise and
others on member are oversized,
indicate ng the hewn piece is not
original to this location.


UDon each of the four corners a vertical membe-, one corner post,

was fastened by means of a mortice and tenon joint. Posts were

held in lace by corner braces morticed, tenoned and pegged to

both the girts above and corner posts. (See photo)

Front gi-t -(plate) at sec-
ond floor S.E. window w/peg
for brace. Brace was cut to
accommodate window placement.

It is unknown but would be, typical if the posts on the front

wall were one piece from sill to plate in other words, through

the height of two stories. The front or south wall of the house

has one visible intermediate post support bet-een corner posts

(at the southwTest corner of the living room) and probably another

that is concealed in the r-all between the windows which supports

a summer beam above. (See photo)

Great Room looking S.W. Front girt
and chimney girt meet at inter-
mediate post in corner. Summer
beam at ceiling supports east-west

The rear or north wall of the house has two visible intermediate

posts that reach into the second story a height of 2 feet 3 inches

above the floor. These posts are single continuous members.

Vertical studs of unknown spacing are placed between posts.

Heavy horizontal timbers called girts --ere placed ator the

studs at the second floor level and framed into the posts. The

girts are known as the front, end, and rear rirts depending on

their location.(See last photo) In addition to these girts in

the exterior walls, additional timbers were framed across the

front section of the house in a noi'th-south direction. Two of

these members rre chimney girts and they lie parallel only l--

feet apart. One of these girts can be seen in the living room

on the fireplace wall (west wall) connecting to a post in the

north-west corner of that room. The other is concealed in the

east front stairwell and is supported by the chimney massing at


Great Room looking N.E.Intermed-
iate exterior post at corner.
Major girder at rear wall sup-
porting summer beam spans entire
width of house, east-west.

the back of the fi-eplace opening in the second story northwest

bedroom. It can be seen throu.ih cubby-hole opening at floor

level in the second story bathroom. The tops of these chimney

girts appear to be on the same level. This unusual condition

is not readily explained at this time. A third member that spans

north-south is a summer beam, exposed in the living room ceiling

almost on center. One end is supported by the ffont girt, the

other by a major girder that spans the entire width of the ori-

ginal house in the east-west direction. The summer beam supports

floor joi sts in the front part of the house spanning end girt

to summer then to fi-epl ce girt. The summer beam and two fireplace

girts tenon into the maior east-west gi-der which is supported

by fireplace massing as it -asses through it. (See previous photo).

On the north side of the house, second floor joists soan

north-south from rear girt t o the major girder or to a minor

girt placed on the large fireplace. This major girder accomodates

a 6 inch drop from south to north in the Swain House. The lower

ceilings in the backs of integral lean-to houses give greater


head room in the second floor.
The framework in the rear of the second floor is similar
to the floor below. One summer beam and one fireplace gi-t are
exposed in the master bedroom and ca-ry third floor joists east-
west. Here though, summer and girt span front plate (uppermost
front girt) to two of the four p incipal rafters supporting the
no-th lean-to roof. The connections to principal rafters are
accomplished with mortise, tennon nnd double pegs. Mill sawn
third floor ioist are exposed in the northeast chamber and hallway.
(See photo
/' / R/I'FTEN

/ '

,/ .

The system of roof construction employed in the S,ain House
consists of 4 ,airs of principle rafters into which were framed
horizontal purlins that are pegged .(See photo ). Horizontal
purlins necessitate the use of vertical roof boarding that ex-
tended up and down from ridge to plates, in the same direction
as rafters themselves. (See Dhoto' ). Although the intersection
of principal rafters at the ridge is obscured ae can assume a
ridge pole, commonly used as part of the purline system is employed.
(See photo )

Through the attic crawl space we c.n see the extension sheathing

of horizontal boards and a second floor stud that is nailed, not

tenoned into the east end princi pal rafter. In addition, a

missing floor board reveals that the tops of the summer beams

are flush with the tops of the front late and that the rafter

is tenoned through the summer into the plate. (ee photo ).

Third floor, south facing roof on
right.Purlins and ridge pole obsur-
ed, although two of the five purlins
on the north facing roof are visi-
ble on the second floor.

Peg point coming thru principle
rafter indicates location of

Macy House, 0 Tattle Court. A lean-
to of earlier date with similar
structural frame. Note principle
rafters,purlins,ridge pole and
horizontal exterior sheathing.

Macy HOuse.Detail of rafter ends
morticed, tenoned, and pegged.

Third floor crawl space, under south sloping roof.
Missing floor board reveals floor joist (lower right
hand corner) notching into chimney girt.Cover board
over plate conceals joint detail of rafter, plate,
and girt intersection. One of four purlins on south
roof seen here.

Same location as above photo,looking east.Note hori-
zontal exterior sheathing vertical roof sheathing,
and stu4 nailed to principle end rafter.

Evolution of the Lean-To Plan
Evaluation of the c. 1934 Renovation




According to Lancaster, the lean-to plan was a logical exped-

ient for increasing accommodations; it provided for additional

lesser chambers and storage space on the 2nd floor. and several

full size rooms on the first floorpnacluding a rear keeping room

or kitchen. First introduced to Nantucket with the construction

of the Thomas Macy House (c. 1700) on Tattle Ct., the Lean-to style

persisted through the 18th century. The Swain House, at 3 Weymouth

St. fits tightly into what has been termed the 'Hangover Transitional',

not merely because it is a post 1730 lean-to, but also because

its plan resembles that of earlier lean-to's (i.e. the Thomas Macy

House, the Elihu Coleman House (1722), and the Seth Coffin House

(1740's). A comparison of the plans of the Thomas Macy House and

the Swain House shows a distinct similarity in design though the

plans are inverted.

^ A St TCoM ) %oSpBoOM 1 xL ATi
Boo ] [Or Routot)


Fi5TDEz Fir gLboI PLArJ o TO4S RrfloMATt-> FIST -L06 -LAO c:
dMYV Ioougf Ncor ,^-^CL-\)IN O^t'Z ^^ ^^

Despite our uncertainty of the original Swain House plan,

it is obvious that care has been taken to preserve the typical

layout. In a typical lean-to, the front door was closely aligned

with the chimney, situated towards one side of the house. In some

houses the chimney mass and front stair would abut the end wall,

as in theoriginal plan of the Thomas Macy House. In others, like

the Swain House, a space was left between the chimney mass and the

end wall for a passage hall or pantry. Indeed, in the Swain House,

there may have even been enough space for a small chamber, that is,

if the present chimney mass occupies the original location. The

Bunker Report (Appendix, p. Vi ) supports this notion. Normally, to

the other side of the chimney there would be a great room, 16 -19

feet square. The older 'added lean-to's' and the early 'integrated

lean to's would have a large cooking fireplace at this location.

But, later on, the large fireplace would be shifted to the rear

where the major kitchen functions were then concentrated.

The lean-to design allowed space for three additional rooms at

the rear; the kitchen, the borning room, and the milk room -- the

latter two located in the corner behind the Great Room. Typically,

beneath the bornagra m, -therewa might well be a round brick cellar

used for storing vegetables. The 9' diameter and location of the

round cellar at the Swain House mat- Eha-that- nfthe Thomas Macy

House. At the front entry of early houses, a medieval winding stair-

case customarily ascended against the chimney to the 2nd floor,

This tradition was later displaced hb a pO are-nct fonr a long narrow

entry with a straight run, winding at the top, as in the Swain House.

There is no telling whether this is the original stair. &aenraidring

the amount of reworking. Marks on the 2nd floor west sill and con-

current wall heaves suggest a possible early winder staircase, as in

the Macy House. It is also likely that the rear stair-has.Lbeen

modifiedafrmQa winding staircase which was commonly retained into

the l9thmr.entury. Interestingly, the changes in the Swain House
over time are very subtle, and generally don't involve a change in

the allocation of space. Moreover, the alterations signify minor

stylistic changes and miner changes in living needs, such as the

enlargement of the fireplace or slight movement of a partition.

These changes display sensitive reverence to the antiquity of the

building, yet at the same time perceive the pressure for modern
change (i.e. the need for a first floor passage to the c. 1934

shed addition).

Inevitable. when talking about plan evolution, we are in a

world of conjecture. Little is known for certain. What we can

ascertain from lath marks, patches in the floor, or notches in a

joist only take-_usbaci k to a certain point, not necessarily that of

the original construction. Undoubtably, the Swain House has under-

gone several phases of renovation. The most noted is the reworking

done in c. 1934 by Earl Ray, a local carpenter and cabinetmaker.

It is almost impossible to a.liern exactly what was done in c. 1934,
partly because of the compatibility of the renovation and partly
because of the lack of a written record. However, Ray's personal
capabilities and philosophies do give us insight into the type of
work that he did.
The precedent for restoration and renovation in the 1920's and

1930's probably began with the Historical Association's (Shurrock)

'partal...restoration' of the Jethro Coffin House in 1927, and is

further embodied in the renovations of the Old Jail (1920), Richard

Gardearr II House (1927), Hadwin-Wright House (1927), Whaling Museum

(1929), and the William Starbuck House (1930*s). t~e impetus for
renovation was probably aesthetic as well as economic. During the


twenties, Nantucket, like most of the U.S., was experiencing a climate

relative prosperity. But, even on Nantucket, that prosperity was

shortlived with the onslaught of the Depression. Curiously,efforts

at restoration and renovation did not stop. Due to the economic

feasibility of stabilization vs. new construction, the burgeoning

pride in the community, and the existence of talented local crafts-

man, renovation projects continued into the early thirties.
Of particular concern here is Earl Ray's c.1934 renovation at
3 Weympouth St. The owner of the building at that time was 4ellie Evans.
Born in 1898, Ray spent the early part of his career working with his
father, William c. Ray, also a local carpenter though not a builder.

His father's liekfch-intera.inraestoration influenced the direction
of Ray's early .wo.k.-unftr.qi 1.9.2 en,.according to his Ledger Book

(begun in 1928), he started his own business. From that point Ray

dealt primarily with historic fabric. Jean Richmond, his daughter,
said that he "didn't like to change anything", and would undertake

an individual study to secure a legitimate restoration.2 In 1937, ait
after his father's death, Ray moved from his shop at 40 Union St.
to a new location on Fair St., behind the present day Woodbox Rest-
aurant. After entering the service in 1941, Ray did not continue his

business, except restoring furniture on a personal basis. The reason
being that he had no time in leu of all the furniture restoration he

was doing.3 The reverence and artistry of Ray's work is witnessed
in the meticulous restoration of his own houae on Tattle Ct. (the
Thomas Macy House) in 1949. But, perhaps the most impressive examples

of Ray's capabilitiesaFk found in his restorations and reproductions

of old grandfather clocks and barometers to which he devoted the last
30 years of his life.
The extent of Early Ray's project on the Swain is uncertain. We

don't have any records or detailed personal accounts to document

his work except for his 1928 Ledger Book. Paul Frye, the neighbor
at 5 Weymouth St., does recall that the west shed and one rear

window (the middle one) were added in c. 1934i With some certainty,

we can attribute these additions, the reworking of the rear portion,

and the minor partition changes on the 2nd floor, to Ray. It is also

likely that the entire chimney was reworked at that time or slightly

earlier, but not by Ray since his first attempt at reconstructing

a chimney was on his own house in 1949. The harmonious treatment

of the ornament can hardly be disputed. His concerted effort at

reproducing 19th century beads and cabinetwork, using replica 18th

century hinges, and creating a matching Jacobean capital for the

shed addition support, indicate the seriousness of his renovation.

s An interesting example of

r his attempt at creating

ed compatible millwork is

,t w shown in a Ist floor pantry

cabinets:. While in each
case, the same motif is

copied, Ray's replicas are

slightly more embellished,

1 : giving his work a personal touch.

The reason for the c. 1934 renovation was partly structural,

as shown by the reflooring and replacement of the n.thb sill and

vertical supports in the cellar. The rear stair may have been

changed by Ray to accommodate the larger fireplace, but since we don't

know when and by whom the fireplace was done, little can be said here.

The reworking of the Swain House cannot be called a restoration

because the structure was not brought back to its original state

(which is not exactly known). Although the additions and changesshow

judicious respect for the original character of the building, they

are not intended as restorations. Rather, they provide for modern

conveniences. Nonetheless, our inability to construct a reliable

chronology illustrates the sensitivity and effectiveness of the

project. Whether Ray's project corresponds to the general trend

favoring renovation in the thirties can be determined with further

study of the individual projects and cumulative works of the local

craftsmen, such as Ray.

Maintenance Report


Eighteenth century buildings were designed to withstand the

opposing pressures of time and weather. But, inevitably, a building's

life span has constraints. The damp and variable sea environment of

Nantucket presents unique maintenance problems that require utmost

care and attention. No structure can endure the test of time with-

out ample stabilization and maintenance. For instance, neglect to

keep exposed surfaces of wood buildings clean and painted will result

in the more dramatic and far reaching problems of wood decay and

eventually structural deterioration. Maintenance does not only involve
the correction of surface flaws, but more importantly requires the

detection of hidden problems, such as a shift in stress from a primary

member to a secondary member due to settlement. Wate- penetration

and the subsequent weakening of structural members is a major consid-

eration for maintenance. A self perpetuating cycle of deteriorating

will follow if the introduction of water is not stopped and tw affected

areas treated. In order to retard the ensuing problems that result

from water penetration, settlement, or even the natural aging process,
immediate ill conditions must be eradicated quickly and thoroughly.
Minor problems and normal maintenance requirements must be monitored

according to an organized program of maintenance.

The intent of this maintenance report is to point out potential

problems that may cause difficulties in the future. Owing to the
c. 1934 renovat&n and current efforts at stabilization, the Swadh House

is in very good c4dition, both structurally and cosmetically. However,

the high incidence of unplanned maintenance for historic property

requires that the owners be constantly on guard. Preventative main-

tenance is generally far more effective and less expensive than later

replacement of structural or ornamental elements. If a sill, for instance,


is allowed to deteriorate with the intent of replacing the sill later,

the damage incurred during the interim may include cracks in the plaster

of the floor above, or leaks caused by settlement gaps. Of course,

the extent of maintenance lies totally with the owner. Whether a build-

ing should be stabilized or fully restored or improved is a personal

value judgment. At some point it would be useful to study the building

over a long enough period to examine the aging process and its effects.

Using a checklist and periodic close analysis, the owner could eval-

uate the problems. In an attempt to ensure comprehensiveness, this

report may appear more critical thaU intended.


The exterior of an old house is the most obvious indicator of

age and weathering. From the condition of exposed surfaces, the

'squareness' of the frame, and the lay of the topography, a great

deal can be learned about maintenance requirements. The variability

of Nantucket weather bears a heavy toll on wood buildings. Exteriors

are constantly afflicted by the damp salt airlandthe scorching sun -

- ideal conditions for wood rot and structural deterioration. In

general appearance, the exterior of the Swain House is well maintained

and appealing to the eye. The main entrance on the south (front) side

is sheltered by a massive hysteria which apparently causes no damage

to the structure. Oi.rientation of the house on the lot doesn't appear

to affect the location of problem areas, though the most severe

weathering seems to take place at the corners.

A. Roof:

A weather tight roof is basic in the preservation of any structure.

Because the roof shede the rain, shades from the sun, and buffers

the weather, it is a highly vulnerable element in the shelter. A poor

roof will permit the accelerated deterioration of historic building

materials -- masonry, wood, plaster, paint. In the ,Swain House, it

is likely that the roof pitch maintains its original form as laid
out using the 18th century method discussed earlier. Deflection
between principle rafters is noticable but very minor. The present

layer of asphalt shingling lays on top of 3 other layers and is in

very good condition. Leakage due to defective shingling is not a

current problem, but the condition of underlying sheathing is not

known. Growth of moss along the north slope could be harmful and

could shorten the lifespan of the affected shingles, but this condition

is unavoidable. When the shingles are replaced next time it is advis-

able that the layers of used shingles be removed to increase the

holding power of the nails. Roofing consultants from Marine Lumber

recommend that a roof have no more than 2 courses of shingles (the

Swain House now has 4 courses). Also, at tht point the sheathing
could be better examined. Periodic checking of the underside of the

roof from the attic after a storm or winter freezing may give early

warning of any leaks.

Evidently, the mortar and brickwork in the chimney is an early

20th century improvement and remains to be sound and functional. The

slate slab covering the chimney opening was added recently by the
Gaylords. No maintenance is required except for periodic cleaning
of the chimney flues. A more pertinent maintenance consideration

concerns the bare flashing and cdlterflashing. There are no rips or

substantial gaps in theflashing, but if at some stage the counter-

flashing does not adhere tightly to the chimney, asphalt roofing
compound could be used to eliminre thA openings.
The most common sources of roof.leak. are cracks in chimney

masonry, settling rafters, plugged gutters, unsealed scuttles, and

protruding hailheads. Of these, it seems that roof scuttles ant

skylights cause the most recurrent leakage problems. The reasons

are obvious -- improperly sealed breaks or protrusions in theroof

plane facilitate the seepage of water. At 3 Weymouth, the attic

roof scuttle has been covered with asphalt shingling and is not

operative, yet it is still a possible source of leakage since the

celJptex around the inside opening is water stained,. Detection of

the source is not certain since water may travel under the roofing

or along a rafter before emerging as a visible leak. Furthermore,

it is possible that this situation may already be stabilized. The

rear second floor skylight is functional and is a good source of

ventilation withi-n noticable le&ks.

B. Gutters, Cornice detail, and Trimt

Gutters and downspouts are major support systems for the roof

and structure. Since a variety of debris fill them, causing water to

back up and seep under roofing units, they are critical points for

maintenance. If neglected, water will eventually cause fasteners,

sheathing, and roofing structure to deteriorate. During winter, the

daily freeze-thaw cycles can cause ice floes to develop under the

roof surface. The pressure from these ice floes can dislodge the

shingles. Chipping paint on the soffit is a hint of gutter problems.

Fortunately, at the Swain House, the gutters do control runoff. But

they are not without problems. At the southeast corner, the gutter

and cornice are)islightly loose and should be examined more closely

for possible rot. Also, the bottom of the northeast downspout is

rotted about 3 inches upland the fasteners on most of the downspouts

are no loner flush. There is no cause for immediate alarm, but these

conditions should be monitere:. The gutter for the shed addition

is not operating properly and consequently the splattering runoff

water has cause some rot damage to the bottom shingles. This problem

could be remedied by inserting a screen trap at the drains to avert

clogging and spillover. Screen traps should be inserted in all of

the drains. The *V, design of the south gutter is prone to leaks

and some form of plastic or wood filler is needed to seal the faulty

joint. The gutters should be cleaned regularly, particularly in

the fall and spring.

The fascia and bed molding on the south faade. and the cover-

boards on both the south and north fajeades are stable. Paint peeling

is concentrated at the corners and along the rakeboards and should be

scraped and painted in the spring or near future. Paint coatings

not only combat wetting, but also protect against ultraviolet radiation.

All exterior painted surfaces, including the window frames, should

be closely inspected every 2 years. Trouble areas, such as the rake-
board, could be treated with an additional coat of paint to allow

consistent weathering.

C. Windows, Siding, and Doors:

The windows at 3 Weymouth are not known to be original, but

represent several phases of addition. Window openings are frequently

trouble spots for the seepage of air and moisture into the building.

Since 1970, the Gaylords have replaced four sashes (2nd floor master

bedroom 1, 2nd floor front hall 1, Attic 2) because of wood rot.

Recently, aluminum frames were added to all of the windows and thus

far have proved to be effective. Currently, all of the windows in the

building are functional and there are no signs of wood' or peg decay..

Regular painting and cleaning is, of course, a necessity.
The exterior wall.covering is wood shingle. The shingles on all
faces of the structure have maintained their thickness and appear

stable. The life expectancy of a wood shingle can be loosely approximated

at 15 25 years depending on climate and orientation. The dampness

of the Nantucket climate has encouraged a minor case of mildew,

particularly on the north and west fascades. Mildew could also be

the root cause for paint flaking on the trim. Mildew is a fairly

common exterior painted surfaces and is a visible result of fungus

growth on the surface of organic matter. Mildew fungus can be

detected by the gradual spread of rot and by its appearance as tiny

spots of brown, black, or green discoloration. It flourishes on the

nutrients found in house paint, but penetrates much deeper into the

surface of the wood. The treatment procedure for mildew is included

in the maintenance chart.

The front, rear, and side exterior doors all operate effectively

under varying environmental conditions. The gate in front of the

driveway is also in good shape, but its awkward position* tis res-

ponsible for recurrent scraping and wearing on the southeast corner

of the building. Passage into the backyard can be cumbersome if

carrying a'large object,such as furniture or a ladder. This is not

a problem, but the wearing on the corner should be watched.


The foundation and framing are obvious points that require

investigation and strict maintemance. Weakness due to settlement or

structural deterioration will disrupt the stability of the entire

building. Valid analysis of any structure begins in the basement

where the skeleton of the building is most exposed and where moisture

and leakage are most apparent.

A. Foundation Walls

The foundation wall for the Swain House is comprised of brick,

fieldstone, and centerblock. The differing materials denote the

evolution of the cellar space and later stabilizations. With one


or two possible exceptions, the foundation wall seems perfectly stable.

At the southwest corner, there are gaps in the stone foundation that

cause the sill to cantilever over the foundation. Since the area is

unexcavated, it is difficult to assess tne importance or tne breast.

However, judging from the sturdiness of the existing stone supports

and the lack of settlement problems, it would seem that the corner

is secure. The brick wall towards the north of the old west founrtion

wall (between the shed and original structure) serves as a structural

element only along its north-south axis. The east-west section carries

no structural weight. The mortar is flaking along the north-south

portion, but the condition of the wall is satisfactory. Pure lime

mortar (18th century) crumbles under moisture attack and lacks thes-,

strength and durability of 20th century cements. In the past, the

old west foundation wall has received considerable attention, as

indicated by 2x4 wedges placed above the centerblock wall. If problems

did exist, they have been stabilized. The chimney foundation is a

critical vertical support and is in excellent condition. Condensa-

tion on the inside of the round cellar and west masonry wall illustrate

the tendency of old builders to exclude insulation and vapor barriers.

The moisture condition is usually worst in winter when there is high

interior relative humidity and less ventilation. Correction of moisture
problems will dealt with in the section concerning dry rot.

B. Sills:

The sills in the Swain House also reveal separate phases of

stabilization -- the south and west sills being latter replacement.

A void or slippage in the sill could cause damage to plaster, wood

trim, or window frames in the floor above, as well as cause a major

deflection of the floor itself. There is evidence for slight settle-

ment in the east sill at the south corner of the swaian 1buse.


As of- yet, there are no detrimental repercussions, except for a

noticable bow in the living room floor. The absence of a similar

bow.on the 2nd floor implies that the condition is localized. 3

Without, .' evidence for serious wall fractures or rot in the sill,

we cannot ditern the implication of the slippage. The physical

limitations of the unexcavated space prohibit a preliminary analysis

of the sill itself. If the bow in the floor becomes more dramatic

or the wall plaster fractures, it would be advisable to call in a

carpenter -- and possibly budress the sill with a new timber.

C. Joints, Beams, and Dry Rot:

Knowledge of the characteristics of wood and its various diteriora-

tion processes are necessary to understand procedures for preserving

and maintaining a wood structure. The weakest links in timber const-

ruction are the joints. Over time, as a building settles, the joints

will occasionally dislodge and create gaps that are particularly

vulnerable to weather penetration. Exposed joints are a natural trap

for liquid watet. Diftision of water through the inside of a timber
is counteracted by rapid drying on the outside, thus accelerating

deterioration and causing a swell that if opposed will have drastic

effects. Expansion and contraction during damp and dry weather often

precludes the value of wedges for horizontal beams. Moreover,

the solution involves limiting the amount of moisture allowed in the
building. The wood in a normal dry building contains about 12-14%
moisture. Trouble starts when the level of water is raised by moisture

from an external source (Rot fungi feeds at 30%). Lessening of moisture

can usually be achieved~by improving the ventilation and applying

a damp proof course between the timbers,


In the Swain House, moisture does seem to be a serious problem

as shown by the amount of active dry rot. Several of the unhewn beams

in the middle of the cellar have rotted almost all of the way through.

PRV RoT ?r-uN ^^LLAf)

Dry rot, or merulus lacymaus, is the most serious anddevastating
and drying
fungus,caused by the continual wetting of wood members. If moisture
conditions persist, it can actually spread to dry members located in
other parts of the building. A few signs of dry rot are the cracking
and bui4Jing of joinery, a dead hollow sound when tapped, deep cracks

across the grain, and a musty smell. J.reatmentm notony, includes a

reduction in moisture, but also stabilization of the wood members

themselves. The slightest infection by rot fungi increases the water

absor ivity of the wood, and therefore increases the likelihood of

fungi growth. Qualities that should be considered for an in-situ

timber preservative are -- ease of application, deep penetration, high

toxicity to insects and fungi at low concentrations, permanence, absence

of smell, and reasonable cost. It seems that the most effective

chemical preservative to date is pentachorphenol (5% solution) which

ca&n be applied by brush to all wood surfaces. Penta can also be obtained

in a 10% kvimeos substance that is more appropriate for relatively dry


areas like joints. This may be especially useful in the Swain House

where reused members have often left g~a :at the joints.

BA5 C-MiF-r

Other recommended preservatives are copper and zinc napthenatt, but

it seems that they work best when used in conjunction with penta.

Preservatives will arrest the growth of rot fungi, but cannot restore

strength to wood that has been attacked. If the member has been

structurally weakened, the decayed end should be cut away and replaced.

Otherwise, the entire member should be reinforced with new timber.

At some point, it might be helpful to contact the Sokety for Pres-

ervation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) for professional advice.

D. Infestation:

Another maintenance consideration associated with moisture and

cellars is infestation. More specifically, in New England, the

problem insects are powder post beetles. In the Swain House, powder

post beetles have tunneled holes in several cellar beams. Contrary

to common belief, powder post beetles are not a recurrent structural

New England Field Service Office, 141 Cambridge St., Boston, MA.

enigma. The beetles lay their eggs in the vessels of the wood (hard-

woods) and when the larvae emerge they churn through the sapwood

seeking. starch granules. Since the beetles seldom penetrate deep into

the wood, it is not normal for beetles to cause real structural damage.

Hence, it is likely that the structural considerations in the Swain

House stem from dry rot and not infestation. In any case, if desired,

the infested wood can be steralized by fumigation with toxic vapors,

such as methyl bromide, and preserved with insecticide wax and/or



A. Floors

As mentioned earlier the Swain House has been extensively re-

worked at various times. Location marks on the floor boards in the

1st floor living room indicate that the flooring has been re-laid,

probably in the 19th century. Despite the slight deflection and

uneveness of boards, the floor seems sound and does not creak. The

floor in the rear portion of the 1st floor has also been relaid, prob-

ably later in c. 1934. Here, the subfloor and joists were replaced

giving the floor added strength and levelness. In both cases, the

original broad planks were reused. The floors on the second storey

have also been altered to accommodate stair and floor level changes.

Again, original, or at least old boards, were re-laid. While the

floor boards on the 2nd floor are very sturdy, the attic floor creaks

and suffers slightly from structural duress. The condition is not

harmful since the attic carries, and was designed to.car~g, less weight.

In the attic there is greater spacing between the joists.

If the floors ever need repair-in the future, it is important to

preserve the continuous joint lines between the boards without patching

across them. Minor sag problems commonly result in a gap between the

the joists and subfloor. If the gap is large and the joist is other-

wise sound, a 2x4 can be nailed to the joist, snug up against the

floor boards. The floor surfaces in the Swain House are well main-

tained. Routine maintenance of original floors include occasional

cleaning with vacum and damp mopping, preferably with a string mop

and soft water. For future reference, a chart for floor finishes has

been added at the end of the maintenance report.

B. Windows and Doors:

The windows all operate smoothly and are properly treated with

linseed oil annually to preserve the integrity of the wood. Since

there is no major chipping and curling of paint at the bottom of the

sash and sill, it is safe to assume thatithe window frames don't

leak. The exterior LmamiJainm frames are a helpful deterent against

leakage. All interior doors-.ad door frames are flush and seem to

fit compatibly even in damp weather.

C. Plasters

Cracks in plaster are endemic to old houses and are to be expected.

The loss of key with the lathing or cracks may result from settlement
of the structure, prolonged moisture, deterioration of nails, or deflec-

tion of ceiling joists. An important question to ask is, how recent

are the cracks? and are they an ongoing problem? If so, the struc-

tural members and moisture condition should be checked. Deterioration

of plaster is strongly affected by._the presence of water. In the

Swain House, the most notable cracks are above the south and east

windows of the 1st floor living room, above the southwest window on the

2nd floor, and above both fireplaces on the 2nd floor. Heaves in the

ceiling plaster of the 2nd floor reveal the location of the joists

for the attic floor. There is a minor sag over the 2nd floor master


bedroom fireplace that may mark a loss of key -- the key being the

plaster that holds the ceiling intact. In most of these instances, only

minor patchwork is needed. But, in the living room where the cracks over

the windows are recent, it is advisable to locate the source as pos-

sible. They may denote a structural flaw triggered by the early re-

moval of the braces to create window openings. On the other hand,

they may represent recent water penetration. Signs of damp plaster

imply that leaks are coming either from the roof or internal pipes.

Checkpoints for moisture are the attic ceiling, the inside of exterior

walls, and the ceilings and partitions under the bathrooms.

Fireplaces and Stairs:

Evidently, the fireplaces were redone in the early 20th century

and are all in operating order. The absence of smoke stains in the

front of the fireplaces is a hint that the fireplaces draw well.

Since the fireplaces are seldom used, cleaning of the flues is prob-

ably not a routine requirement. All four staircases are structurally.

sound with no unusual bounce or gaps in the treads, risers, or side

stringers. The newel post for the attic stair should be tightened

before it gives way.


A. Electrical:

The electrical system has been completely modernized and up-

graded. Surface wires have been properly insulated and there is no

evidence for frayed or out-of-service wores. The number of electrical

outlets is adequate.

B. Heating

The house is heated by two gas furnaces which provide ample

heat from April to November. Maintenance of this type of gas heating

system is minimal.

C. Plumbing

A few years ago, a leak in the 2nd floor toilet bowl caused

ceiling damage in the kitchen. That situation has been stabilized

and there have been no subsequent plumbing problems. The slight

crack in the old first floor toilet bowl should be monitored to avoid

at similar occurence.


The garage was built for its present function in 1948. While

the building itself is stable, the shingles and trim are in need of

immediate attention. The south and west shingles are in comparatively

bad condition as shown by the cracks, cupping, looseness, and loss of

thickness (1/2). Major deterioration along the ground shingles and

above the doors is severe. Peeling of paint is concentrated on the

east and west trim surfaces, and on the bottom and top parts of the doors.

The owner plans to reshingle the building and paint the exposed surfaces

within the next year. The roof shingles are reasonably new, but the

rear (north) gutter is totally rotted out and should be replaced.

An alternative to replacing the gutter is to place a sloping board

at ground level to divert runoff water. Otherwise, the new shingles

will go through the same rotting process.


Routine Maintenance Items



Time Periods

All exterior wood surfaces
(Rakeboard, Gutter, Gcecar-
board, Downspouts, and
Window frames.

Chipping paint on all
surfaces except soffet.
Rear gutter leaks at
the seam.

Scrape, apply preservative, Periodic.
like penta or cupernol, Examine annually.
and paint. Rear gutter
should be caulked before

Painted surfaces where Minor mildew on exterior 1.Remove mildew by scrubbing
mildew is a problem, surfaces is likely, with a sterilizing solutionn
of 3 qts. warm water, 1 qt.
liquid bleach, and 2/3 cup
trisodium phosphate.
2.Rinee with fresh water
3.Apply mildew resistant
paint to prevent possible
contamination by fresh fungus

Garage wall shingles. Loose and worn. Replace. Soon


Clog easily.

Clean and insert screen

As needed, part-
ticularily Spring
and Fall.

Original floor surfaces. Very good. Occasional cleaning with Periodically.
vacum, followed by damp
mopping with soft water.

Interior window trims Good. Linseed oil. Annually.
muttins, styles, and rails.

Stair rails and newel posts.

Stable, except in attic
where newel post is


As soon as possible
Check regularly

(2-5 yrs.)
Short Term Maintenance Items



Time Periods



Wall Plaster.

Generally good some
fractures over living
room windows.

Fill gaps and adhere loose
flashing with cement roof-
ing compound. Replacement
is a major project.

Patch and check for mois-
ture penetration. Observe
any noticable floor changes
due to settlement. When
source is located, stabil-
ization is necessary.

Check every 2

As needed.

Ceiling plaster.

Stable, but at the jun-
ction of beams and ceil-
ing on the 2nd floor,
flaking and loss of key
may worsen in the future.

Moniter and secure by
patching if necessary.

Watch closely,
but actual stab-
ilization may be
long term.

Floor joists and beams in
the cellar. (Dry rot)


Signs of extensive decay Cut away defunct structural
and structural weaken- 'beams and stabilize with
ing. new members. Treat sound
beams with penta. Improve
ventilation and cut off
sources of water. Add damp
proffing. Contact SPNEA.

Minor case of powder
post beetle attack.

As necessary.
Get professional
advice soon.

Fumigate with poisonous
gas, such as methyl bromide -
and apply insecticide wax.

Possible leakage points
at scuttle and interface
of Celotex walls.
(Visible water stains)

Trace source of water stain- Check for leaks
ing. Once source is located, and new water
seal with caulk or filler, stains regularly

East sill
1 inch.
known for

has slipped
Impact is not

Moniter closely for surface
changes. If spinoff problems
arise, have sill and sill
Joint investigated.





_ __

-~~I;IFt";4*P"T~K"~- ? -:-I ---~--."I

Aluminum window frames.

Seal between aluminum frame Every 2 yrs. or
and window frame, as needed.

Long Term Considerations



Time Periods

Asphalt roof shingles.

Exterior wall shingles.


Replacement or application
of asphalt roofing compound
- depending on condition.

Stable, but minor spread Clean with warm water.
of green fungus. Replace when shingles
cup or when 5/8 inch
thickness is halfed.

As needed.

Check annually.
Replace as needed
(apx. 15-25 yrs.).

Chimney flues. Good. Clean chimney sweep, Periodically.

Horizontal wall sheathing Spillover of rainwater Fix gutters to control Damage to sheath-
(West wall) from the gutter has caused spillover and check ing is not a
slight rotting of the condition annually, pressing problem.
bottom sheathing board,
as well as the overlying
wood shingles. If rot
spreads, it could damage
the sill and decrease the
utility of the sheathing.

Structurally sound. Support as necessary


- -



Foundation Wall


Finish Type



Inexpensive. Easy to apply and touch
up by blend patching.

Not long wearing. Should be waxed.
Vulnerable to water. Becomes brittle
with age.


Moderate cost. Longer wearing and
more stain resistant than shellac.

Long drying time. May require filler
on oak floors. Surface has gloss.
Waxing recommended.

Quick-Dry Fast drying allows room to be put Medium wak life. Surface has a
Varnish back in service sooner. Easy to gloss.
touch up by blend-patching. No
waxing needed.



oil Finish

isaw c-surface of all varnishes.
Long-wearing and highly resistant
to staining and scarring when
properly applied. No waxing.

Easy to apply and touch up,
Doesn't leave glossy reflective film
on the surface.

-Einal finish has rich lustre aAd.
patina; easy to touch up.

Can be mis-applied. Not compatible
with certain stains; plastic film
can separate from wood. Can't blend
patch. Surface has a gloss.

Not long wearing. Waxing is rec-

N ot longt-wearinr Long drying time.
Will 'darken with- age.

The Old-House Journal, January 1975
p. 6.







I '

. --..; .-;. ..~PU~r-.~-

'n "r FlDIX

Chain of Title


Bk. 7
Pg. 179

Bk. 3
Pg. 398

Bk. 11
Pg. 124

Bk. 6
Pg. 168-169

Bk. 12
Pg. 397,450

Richard Swain

Richard Chadwick

Richard Chadwick Deborah Chadwick
David Chadwick
Nathaniel Chadwick

Nathaniel Chadwick
David Chadwick

Division of

Nathaniel Chadwick Margaret ',hadwick

Margaret Chadwick

Mary Worth
Eunice Harps
Lydia Paddock
Ann Chadwick
Hepzibeth Kilborn
Margaret Hussey
Rebecca Reeves

2/15/1 /6





(Division of furnishings; transfer of
property and housing to same heirs
but under Nathaniel Chadwick's will)

David Worth
Isaac Coffin
Job Coffin
Seth Paddock

Reuben Meader
John Meader


(Grantors were executors for minor
grandchildren of Chadwick)

Rebecca Chase
Reuben Harps
David Harps
Emeline Kilborn
Mary Burgess
Susan Paddock

Reuben Meader
John Meader


(Heirs of Chadwick; house inherited
as shares)





Bk. 31
Pg. 130