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Gedney House

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Title: Gedney House  
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Subject: Salem, Massachusetts, Gedney family, Historic New England, Bartholomew Gedney, Chestnut Street District
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Gedney House

Gedney and Cox Houses
Gedney House on the right, Cox House on the left
Gedney and Cox Houses
Location Salem, Massachusetts

42°31′6″N 70°53′53″W / 42.51833°N 70.89806°W / 42.51833; -70.89806Coordinates: 42°31′6″N 70°53′53″W / 42.51833°N 70.89806°W / 42.51833; -70.89806

Built 1665
Architect Unknown
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP October 1, 1974

Gedney and Cox Houses are historic houses at 21 High Street in Salem, Massachusetts.

The earliest part of the houses was built in 1665, and the houses were added to the National Historic Register in 1974.

Gedney House

The Gedney House is a historic Colonial American house, (First Period) estimated to have been constructed circa 1665. It is located at 21 High Street, near the intersection of Summer Street in the Chestnut Street District. The Gedney and Cox Houses are operated as a non-profit museum by Historic New England. The house is rarely open to the public, though private tours can be arranged. Walking 10 minutes from this location is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, consists of 12 historic structures and about 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land along the waterfront in Salem, Massachusetts.

The house was built for Eleazor Gedney, a well-to-do shipwright of the Gedney family, married to the sister of John Turner, builder of Salem's House of the Seven Gables. Gedney purchased the unimproved land here in April 1664 close to the shore and the "buildplace" for his boats. He was married in June 1665, and the original portion of the house, two stories with gabled attic to the left and a parlor with lean-to roof to the right was erected at this time. Long-gone extensions at the rear (where some structural evidence survives) were probably original. They were surely in existence at the time of Eleazer's early death in 1683 when an estate inventory mentions the hall, hall chamber, a garret, "parlour or lento" and "lento chambr," and "Kitchin, Loft over it & little leantoo." The latter lean-to was presumably in the rear.

Around 1703-06, the original parlor lean-to was raised to a full two stories. The last (and most extensive) structural changes followed about 1800, whereby a new two-story lean-to at the rear with separate chimney replaced whatever had preceded it. At this time also the framed overhang along the street was furred out and a basement kitchen introduced. Around 1962 the central chimney was removed and the interior stripped. The house was acquired by Historic New England in 1967.

The house is significant for its structural carpentry and for surviving early paint and decorative finishes. In the hall chamber three successive color schemes can be identified, the earliest thought to be contemporary or near-contemporary with original construction.

In 2002 the [1] analyzed timber from the original structure and ascertained that donor trees were felled at the following times: Spring 1664 and Winter 1664/5.

See also



  • Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., Architecture in Salem: An Illustrated Guide, University Press of New England, Hanover and London, reissued 2004.

External links

  • Historic New England Gedney House
  • Salem Preservation
  • Historic Buildings In Massachusetts, Salem Gedney House
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