Restoring the home built by Reuben Whitten

 

The Reuben Whitten House offers several insights into Ashland's past offering a valuable restoration opportunity to preserve this historic building.

 

Carefully restrained restoration efforts will allow the house to be used as a teaching platform for restoration students studying historic building preservation as well as vocational students of carpentry and building techniques from the early 1800s.

 

This historic location also honors subsistence farming and Reuben Whitten’s use of the fireplace to dry the wheat harvested in 1816 and shared with his neighbors in the Year without a Summer.

 

The building also reflects the industrial history of Ashland as it was relocated and used as worker housing from the 1870's until the 1960's, remaining remarkably intact with original woodworking, plastering and other features of historic architectural importance.

 

Restoration will be done with the goal of showing the layers of periods and uses this house has survived. The building will be integrated into the Ashland Historical Society's Museums and the Ashland Elementary School’s local history curriculum providing a tangible experience to local and regional students.

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Reuben Whitten House Exterior

In July 2015 the damaged wall was reinstalled and a new cedar roof installed. In the Spring 2016 we restored window sashes, installed new clapboard and trim boards on the exterior, painted the exterior and installed period correct entry door.  

 

Additional funds raised will be used to install hard and soft scape for easier access and reduce water damage from spash back.  

 

Markers for window donors will be installed.

Entry door and window
Entry door and window

After cleaning interior
After cleaning interior

Damaged wall stored in house
Damaged wall stored in house

Entry door and window
Entry door and window

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Reuben Whitten House Interior

The final phase of the project, funds allowing, includes an interior preservation of the walls, floor, ceiling, trim, built ins, indian shutters and fireplace.  A significant portion of the original plaster ceilings have fallen off.  The exterior wall damaged in the truck impact has destroyed the plaster and wallpaper in the front entry room.  The chimney has been completely removed and the fireplace and hearth must be restored.  There is a large hole in the floor created during the 1969 building relocation.  The windows have missing panes and the Indian Shutters require restoration.  Several layers of flooring must be removed.

Whitten Wheat Field
Whitten Wheat Field

Cleared in the fall for planting in the spring.

Sapling Trees Removed
Sapling Trees Removed

Thanks to the PSU Hockey Team

Fireplace remains
Fireplace remains

Whitten Wheat Field
Whitten Wheat Field

Cleared in the fall for planting in the spring.

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It takes volunteers...

In May 2016 exterior restoration of the clapboards & trim was completed by professional builders/volunteers from Sippican.  Citizen volunteers painted the exterior.  Stark House restored/replaced period windows.  In October 2015 volunteers cleared a small field behind the Whitten House for a wheat field.  In September 2014 members of the PSU Hockey Team clear saplings from the site. Summer 2014 the Ashland Historical Society's Reuben Whitten Project Committee gathered the buildings loose components and cleaned the building and surrounding area. Volunteers sold household items at tag sales, made signage and cleared garden beds.    Many hands made much progress!  Thank you.