John F. Cole
“The Old House Whisperer”

LECTURES

Schedule “The Old House Whisperer” for your next library, historical society, or community education event. Topics include:

Dating Homes in Newbury


Dating Early Homes in Essex County

John will point out the tell tale “sign posts” in discovering the true age of early homes in Essex County, as seen from the exterior. He will also reveal the surprise of where most original rare elements of these dwellings actually reside.

early stair detail

This Essex County stairway is transitional with late Georgian qualities (ca. 1770–85).  The raised field “under-paneling” to the left is from the same period.  Scrollwork trim under the treads is also Georgian. However, square balusters (not turned) move the date to the end of this period.  Balusters meeting the stair tread is also of a later form.

A Day in Rocks Village

The anchor of the sloop “Adventure” splashes into the crystal clear water of the Merrimack, and you step into a typical New England river village originally built before the Revolution. After a refreshing stop at the Coffin's Ordinary, John takes you up the Twelve-Rod Way to visit a host of early characters—from the merchant ship owner Robert Peaslee to the French Countess de Vipart of Whittier’s Poem. You will also visit the storied brick garrison house built on Goodman Ayers cart way.

diamond pane window detail

Fixed diamond paned window from exterior northwest wall of brick garrison house. Frame is original, ca. 1710. 

A Portrait in Oak, Pine, and Iron

John creates a picture of early houses and households—in terms of the design, materials, and craftsmanship used to build them. Through their architectural details, he shows how these homes of two and three centuries ago were carefully thought out to meet the living conditions and needs of their time ... and why today they represent such an important link with the American past.

interior north wall detail

Rare interior north wall under plate of an early saltbox in Essex County.  Original horizontal lathing with rose headed nails on vertical plank framed wall.  Small early window frame completes this portrait in oak, pine and iron.

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