Hooper-Hathaway House

The Hooper-Hathaway HouseYear built: 1682
Style: Jacobean/Post Medieval
Built for: Benjamin Hooper
Moved to current site: 1911

The Hooper-Hathaway House is a building that was rescued through the combined efforts of Caroline Emmerton and the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Miss Emmerton purchased the house and moved it from Washington Street to its present location when it was threatened with destruction in 1911. It has been heavily restored in the Colonial Revival Style, and its wonderfully nostalgic diamond pane windows are a 1911 creation, but it still retains some very exciting Jacobean details. For instance, on the eastern overhang you can see an excellent example of first period projecting timbers. Normally, these exposed beams that hold the floor joists would simply be rounded off. In this case, the builders spent time creating a cyma, or double curved profile, and added a scalloped fillet, or banding.

Inside the diamond-paned great hall is a section of specially preserved plaster that dates from very early in the building’s history and is protected under a wooden panel. Also of particular interest in this room are some beams that are the cause of much debate. There are four posts in this room and the carved shoulders do not quite match in height or design. This led to the belief in the early part of the last century that these beams were salvaged pieces from Governor Endicott’s original home. This belief is based on the knowledge that Hooper purchased part of Endicott’s land and then built his home upon it. This is an exciting possibility because it would mean the timbers date to the 1620’s! The court records, however do not readily point to this conclusion and the only sure means of establishing such a claim is to complete a dendrochronology study. Dendrochronology is a scientific examination of the timbers to establish the year in which they were felled by comparing the growth rings to an existing database. This process could put to rest the lingering debate over the age of these posts in the Hooper-Hathaway House.