Cape Cod houses

They may be named for Cape Cod, but these houses can be found pretty much all over New England. In most areas, from the mid-1700s to the late 1800s, they were the typical basic starter farmhouse for young people who hadn’t had the good fortune to inherit the family homestead. For the purposes of this webpage, let’s define the Cape as a one- or one-and-a-half-story house, with a side-gabled roof (straight or gambrel) and a central doorway symmetrically flanked by two or four windows. Older Capes usually have a center chimney; later ones typically have paired chimneys.

Most Cape Cod houses are made of wood, with white clapboard siding (or grey cedar shingles, on Cape Cod). A few are brick, and a very few are made of locally-quarried stone.

Georgian Capes:

Joseph Atwood House, Chatham, MA Built c. 1752 Owned by the Chatham Historical Society.

Capt. John Kendrick House, Wareham, MA Built c. 1745 A nice gambrel-roofed example, owned by the Wareham Historical Society.

Simon Smith House, Haddam, CT Built c. 1745

Arad Simons House, Mansfield, CT Built 1778

Urbana Woodruff House, Southington, CT Built 1784

Ezekiel Woodruff House, Southington, CT Built 1785

Jabez Smith House, Groton, CT Built 1783

Burns-Waldo House, Tolland, CT Built 1789 A well-maintained gambrel example.

Thomas Dunk House, Chester, CT Built c. 1710 A long, low-slung gambrel-roofed cape.

David Williams House, Essex, CT Built 1767

John Hull House, Cheshire, CT Built c. 1754

Amaziah Humphrey House, Simbury, CT Built 1775

Federal Capes:

Macartney House, Oakland, ME  Built c. 1815

Benjamin Labaree House, Whitefield, ME Built c. 1810

Brickett Place, Stow, ME  Built c. 1830  A nice brick Cape. First it was a farmhouse. For a little while in the early 20th century, it was run as the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Evans Notch Hut. Since 1918 it has been owned by the Forest Service, which has embarked on an ambitious project to restore it before it falls apart altogether.

Samuel Haley House, Smuttynose Island, ME  Built c. 1800 An unusually spartan example of the style, familiar to beer-drinkers from its appearance on the label of the Smuttynose Brewing Company’s pale ale.

Philemon Hazen Homestead, Hartford, VT  Built c. 1823

Choate-Sias House, Danville, VT Built 1838

Greek Revival Capes:

Austin House, Addison, ME c. 1842 This example is unusual because of its portico.

Robinson Bertwell House (“The Stone House”), Ossipee, NH  Built 1848 A lovely grey granite Cape right next to NH State Rte 16. Now houses an insurance agency.

Benjamin Rowe House, Gilford, NH  Built c. 1838 A brick Cape, unusual in having four chimneys rather than one or two. Owned by the local historial society. Website here.

Edwin Marsh House, Quincy, MA Built 1851


About Peter Chipman

I'm a lexicographer, an editor, and a lover of language and literature. Also a proud father of two, an occasional bell-ringer, a thirteenth-generation New England Yankee, a former owner of a one-room schoolhouse, and the current owner of a 220-year-old farmhouse.
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