The Early History of the House

In 1685, this house started as a two room house, with one on each floor. The frame was probably exposed and decorated.
Model of HLN House, circa 1685, constructed by Gerald B. Warden, the Society's Resident Curator 1976-1981.

First Period Characteristics

First Period buildings were built from roughly 1630 to 1730 and are based on post medieval vernacular practices that colonists brought with them. The houses had simple floor plans, steeply-pitched roofs, small windows, a center or end chimney, and a heavy timber frame that was exposed and decorated on the interior. The outsides of houses were unpainted clapboards.

The summer beam––located in the ceiling near the center of a room–– was often the most decorated timber. A common decoration, from 1660 to 1690, was the chamfer, or beveled edge, with decorative stops where that beam met another beam.  By 1725 exposed frames began to be thought of as old fashioned. In houses built or remodeled after this the frame was concealed beneath interior walls, and projecting timbers were enclosed (or cased).

First Period details in the East Chamber. The summer beam and girt have chamfered edges; the summer beam also has a lambs tongue stop.