Salem Towne House

Charlton, Massachusetts, c. 1796
Moved to OSV, 1952
Barn, built by OSV, 1955

From its hipped roof featuring a row of monitor lights to its elegant doorway, the Towne House was built to impress. The home was constructed in 1796 and inherited by Salem Towne, Jr., and his wife, Sally, in 1825. Like his father, Towne was a businessman, land surveyor, justice of the peace, community leader, and progressive farmer. The furnishings of the sitting room reflect some of these pursuits.

The Townes ran a large and complicated household with seven children still at home in 1830, farm laborers, hired women, and sometimes visiting relatives. The first-floor kitchen of the Towne House boasts a cast-iron stove—a relatively new appliance. The house’s furnishings are elegant and expensive by rural standards and are a blend of imports and New England–made goods.

Outside, the formal garden indicates the growing interest that many prosperous New England families had in ornamental gardening, with its symmetrical layout, variety of plantings, and decorative elements.

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