Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Massachusetts


Turner House, House of Seven Gables

Turner House, House of Seven Gables, 54 Turner Street, Salem, Essex County, Massachsetts (42.52245, -70.884304)

Primary Phase Felling dates: Summer 1666, Summer 1667, Winter 1666/7, and Winter 1667/8 Summer 1675, Winter 1675/6, Summer 1676, and Winter 1676/7

The Turner House was built by wealthy merchant John Turner in 1668 as a central chimney, two room plan, two-and-one-half storey house facing southeast toward the water. The plan was asymmetrical with a smaller parlor on the northeast end and a larger hall on the southwest end. There were two facade gables. Within eight years, John Turner added an ambitious parlor wing southeast of the original hall. The new wing was finished on the exterior with molded sheathing, and had a framed overhang embellished with pendants at the second floor level. There were gables on the two side slopes of the roof. The ceilings of the new parlor and chamber were much higher than those in the original house, and the expansive rooms had two parallel summer beams supported by molded storey posts. A porch was presumably part of the 1668 or 1677 work for it is mentioned in an inventory of Turner’s estate taken thirteen years after his death in 1680. There were also apparently a lean-to and kitchen ell at the back of the house by 1693.

Turner’s son John Turner, Jr., also a merchant, redid the parlor wing c. 1725 with elaborate Georgian woodwork, boxed in the overhang, and added double hung windows. The back part of the Turner House was removed in 1794, according to an entry in Rev. William Bentley’s diary. In the nineteenth century the decorative gables, by then old fashioned, including the one over the porch, were removed.

In 1908 Caroline O. Emmerton purchased the house for use as a settlement house. Architect Joseph Everett Chandler supervised the restoration of the house. A new rear wing was built to house the settlement house workers. Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory Unpublished Report 2005/9

Link to the The House of the Seven Gables's webpage here.




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230