Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Massachusetts


Old Castle

Old Castle, Pigeon Cove Center, Rockport, Essex County, Massachusetts (42.656775, -70.618899)

Felling Date: Summer 1711

When first built, the Old Castle consisted of hall and parlor disposed on either side of a central chimney with two chambers and an attic above. In front of the chimney in the central bay was a small lobby entry with stairs. There was a hewn overhang across the façade.

The felling date of the timbers in the house of 1712 neatly coincides with the construction date suggested by the deed history. Jethro Wheeler acquired the property without mention of housing by a deed dated Dec. 12, 1712 for 150 pounds. In a mortgage deed of 1717, housing is mentioned, and in 1724 when Jethro Wheeler conveyed the property to his son Benjamin, its value had jumped to 600 pounds, no doubt reflecting the construction of the house, far above the norm for the period in size, and perhaps other improvements.

The house remained in the hands of the Wheeler family. After 1792 ownership was divided between two branches of the family. In 1792, Benjamin Wheeler, Jr. conveyed to western half to his son, John Dane “in consideration of twenty-five pounds expended and laid out in building a back leanter (or long kitchen room) the whole length of my dwelling house”. Thus the construction date of the lean-to can be pinpointed much more exactly than is usually the case.

The Story family acquired both sides of the house by deeds of 1882 and 1892. In 1929, the Old Castle was conveyed to the The Story family acquired both sides of the house by deeds of 1882 and 1892.   In 1929, the Old Castle was conveyed to the Village Improvement Society of Pigeon Cove.

Miles, D H, 2004 “The Tree-Ring Dating of the Old Castle, Pigeon Cove, and the Old Garrison House, 188 Granite Street, Rockport, Massachusetts”, ODL unpubl rep 2004/7

Link to the Sandy Bay Histroical Society's webpage for the Old Castle here.




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230