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Dating back to 1684, the John Ward House is one of the finest surviving 17-century buildings in New England.
Commonly known as First Period or Post-Medieval style, the house is characterized by the extremely steep pitch of the gables, large central chimney, asymmetrical façade, batten door, diamond-paned leaded casement windows and second-story overhang.
It was originally built for a successful leatherworker and stood on a one-acre plot with a kitchen garden, an outhouse, and a well — standing opposite the jail used during the Salem Witch Trials. By 1890 the house had become a tenement, housing some of Salem’s poorest residents. In order to preserve it from demolition, the house was moved to the museum campus in 1910 under the direction of curator and preservationist George Francis Dow. Recognizing its historical importance, Dow made the pitch for its preservation and had the house moved by splitting it into two parts and rolling it on ox-drawn logs. In 1912 the house opened to the public, becoming the first outdoor museum of architecture in the country. One of the earliest buildings to be relocated and restored for historic interpretation in the United States, the house is a National Historic Landmark.
In recreating his idea of a 1685 house, Dow overlooked clues and added speculative features. Fortunately he left much evidence of the original building to be rediscovered. The house has undergone a close study of its 1695 plaster, a rare surviving example consisting of river clay and animal hair, and beams show that the kitchen was added in the summer of 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials.
Built in 1818
0.2 miles from PEM
Built in 1729
0.2 miles from PEM
Plummer Hall and Daland House
Built in 1856
Across the street from PEM
Derby-Beebe Summer House
Built in 1796
0.1 miles from PEM