Most of the photo's of the historic homes below were taken on Sunday - January 20, 2018
Below are the homes that date back to the 1731c
So, where is the oldest house in Auburn? The answer is not as easy to ascertain as one might expect!
Twenty-four families settled in Hall's Village, a mile below Chester Center, in 1720. They built crude huts, log cabins that sat on the ground and all disappeared many years ago. The first framed house in Chester ( which includes Auburn) was completed in 1732 still in the Hall's Village area. These frontiersmen were worried about hostile Indian attack. (In 1724, two Chester men were shot at, captured and carried off by Indians.) A family that disappeared ten miles into the frontier was a family in danger. By "huddling up" together, they increased their level of safety.
Deed research can prove that a parcel was surveyed and sold. That date does not necessarily mean that a house was erected at that time. If these early settlers were in survival mode, they could have put up a barn and moved in with the livestock. The house came later. Land speculators pose another research problem. Just like today, they would purchase property without any intention of building there.
Housing needs and expectations changes over the years. The first framed houses were very small Cape Cod style building. Many changes were made over the years. William Coult built a house in 1815 on Chester Turnpike. His brother Amherst, 15 years later, purchased the property and moved the house 500 feet. He then added a two story colonial. The original house is the half of the ell closest to the main house. (see the yellow home below)
Fire and other disaster can strike at any moment. Houses that depended on ten plus cords of wood a year for heat and candles for light were very susceptible to fir. Was the original house destroyed and then replaced?
To sum it all up:
1.) When did a family feel safe moving into an area?
2.) When did a family actually live on the property?
3.) Is the original house hidden within the present building?
4.) Is the present building the original home?
For the most part, the house dates found in the photos above are taken from the Auburn tax appraisal records and records at the Auburn Historical Museum records. So, taking all of this into consideration, were is the oldest house in Auburn?
Dan Carpenter, President of the Auburn Historical Association and historian
The owners today are Stephen and Deb FaFay and they have opened their home for us to take a look inside their 233 year old home, built in 1785. The Clay family once lived here in 1800c. This house also served as the local tavern serving the Chester Turnpike farmers and weary travelers. The Clays's would also rent out the floor and attic space to weary travelers. There once was a bar in the kitchen area that could be locked off from the public (notches in the wooden floor picture below). Henry Sanborn and Carl Cheswell Forsaith also once owned this 233 year old property.
Homes built in 1800c (below)