Built to last, America’s oldest all-brick house is looking for a buyer in Medford, MA. At over 300 years old, this home has been around for eight wars, including the American Revolution, 17 world’s fairs, and 45 U.S. presidents.
The 2,640-square-foot home sits atop a small knoll behind a granite wall. According to the listing agent, Louise Ivers, the historic home was recently taken off the market so that a new driveway could be installed. The sellers still want to find a buyer, she adds.
The home has four bedrooms and one bathroom, and most of the rooms come with a fireplace. Nine-over-nine windows let in plenty of sunlight; on days when the light is scarce, there are seven fireplaces that provide illumination. The first floor features hand-hewn wooden beams and a staircase.
“The house is so interesting because it is a classic example of a circa 1680 solid brick house,” says Ivers.
The home is believed to have been built around 1680 by Peter Tufts (yes, as in the university, which his descendant later donated the land for) and is considered by many historians to be the oldest all-brick house in the United States. The solid brick exterior is a combination of Flemish bond and English style, but the materials are local—the family owned a brickyard in Medford.
After a close call with the demolition ball in the late 1880s, the property was saved when Gen. Samuel Lawrence gave it, along with an interior remodel, as a wedding gift to his niece. It’s also been known as the “Fort” or “Garrison House” due to the thick walls and porthole windows on the west side and front of the house. The home was placed on the city seal of Medford in 1892.
According to a 2016 report in Wicked Local Medford by John Anderson, president of the Medford Historical Society and Museum, the house has been rented out on a month-by-month basis since the caretakers moved out in 2013. The MHSM has spent more than $45,000 to address safety and livability issues, but has run out of funds to continue its stewardship of the property.
Living with so much history is not without its conditions. The deed includes a permanent preservation restriction administered by Historic New England, which states that the property cannot be subdivided or demolished and protects the whole exterior and much of the interior. The group performs annual inspections for compliance and must approve any work done on the house.
According to Ivers, the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is ideal for someone who appreciates history and old homes. Potential buyers with a deep love for the history of New England will feel right at home here.