Monday, January 25, 2010

A Century of Changes

I am visiting my parents for a few days at Winterberry Farm, their home of 53 years and the place where I grew up. I have written about it often during the past year, including here, here, and here, and many times in between. The saltbox was built circa 1764, going on 245 years old. The last half century has likely been the greatest period of change for the house and associated outbuildings. My parents kept many of the historic features, but by sweat and tears they continue to restore, enhance, and improve their home.

The earliest photo that we have of the house is circa 1900. The Jewetts lived here then.

Notice the wood shingles on the roof, the two chimneys, the catalpa sapling in the center, and what we think is a chestnut tree behind the shed.

Here is the house in October 1957, the year my parents bought the place. My older brother and sister are checking out the yard. My other brother and I were not yet on the scene! Note the size of the catalpa - my how it grew in 50+ years. The roofs are now metal, the wood shingles are gone. The two chimneys remain. My father says that the chestnut tree was now just a fallen log and stump, likely it had succumbed to chestnut blight.

In 1969, we raised the house to pour a full basement. Once the house was lowered again, we started restoring the central chimney and four fireplaces. I remember scraping salvaged bricks after school. The photo above shows the house in 1978, after all these changes.

In the 1990s and into the 2000s Dad continued to work on the house, replacing the siding and windows on most of the house.

Then in 2002 it was on to the barn and the sheds.....continuing up to the present. It is looking lovely. The inside work continues as well, really never ending in an old house. But this house will stand another 245 years or more. I think the Jewetts would be impressed.


  1. Not sure if the Jewetts are impressed but I certainly am! It's nice to see someone saving something of quality rather than tearing it down to replace with something that most likely will be more poorly made. It's such a pleasing contrast to the throwaway society.

  2. Yes, and my Dad has done a lot of the work himself, and continues to at age 87! I did manage to get him to install high speed Internet access - one of the concessions to having all us kids and their grandkids visit for extended periods!