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The Hart House and Farm

(626) 355-3656

Drawing by Sally Ann Lyle, Ocala, Florida

The Hart House was originally built on 67 acres of land by Isaac Hart in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, around 1676.  The house, and the farm land surrounding it, was handed down through the generations from Isaac Hart, Captain Samuel Hart, John Hart, Joseph Hart Jr., Frank Hart, Henry Jackson Hart, George Hart, and then, in 1947, the house, situated on a one-acre plot, was sold.  (Some of the land around the house was sold before 1947.)  After that, the list of owners continues with Richard Booth, Alexander Simpson, Dr. Edward Jackson, and (the current occupant) Mark Ingaciola.

In 1917, George Albert Hart and George Pierpont Estes Hart inherited the Hart house and put it up for sale as evidenced by the following advertisement:


Beautiful New England
in the grand old state of

 Sept.12, 1917

THERE IS AN OUT OF THE WAY SECLUDED SPOT OF rare New England beauty, a mile or so away from noisy trains, two and a half from nerve racking trolleys, yet within a few minutes motor ride of several large towns and cities.

About a half hours legal speed ride from the heart of Boston. Just the place for a busy business man who wants a peaceful nights rest. A landscape gardener would make this estate blossom as the rose. It is truly a beautiful country estate.

Here is a fine old Colonial 8 room home, a well preserved near mansion of the olden days, not deprived of its historic antiquity sufficiently to rob it of its Colonial Beauty. A fine large Colonial veranda, looking out under the grateful shade of majestic elms into the orchard and a wide expanse of beautiful New England Scenery, adorns the South and east fronts. The interior of this dear old home is spic and span. Keeping the whole place in this condition has been the life long labor of love of its former occupants who have gone to their reward. Good neighbors at a respectful distance.

Here is a paying investment.  The well kept public road goes smack thru the middle of the estate, north and south, about one-eights mile. Several good building sites on both sides of the road. Modern homes have been built in recent years near this estate on the road to the quiet country village of Lynnfield Center, a mile away.  There are several beautiful modern homes around the town. Property is sure to increase in Value after the war.

Here is a possibility for a paying truck farm.  High Land, easterly sloping land. Meadow Land. Good fertile soil, not worn out with constant tillage. Has been used for fancy stock pasture. Well of good, pure soft water near house. Branch on eastern meadow boundary. Good natural drainage. 66 acres all told. Nearly surrounded by massive stonewalls. Good 60 tree apple orchard. This was an off year for apples. A large variety of paying crops should thrive here. All within an hour’s motor truck drive of Boston market and several nearer cities.

This is a ten thousand dollar value.  Make us an offer for it. Written offers will be considered up to and including Thursday, October eighteenth, nineteen-seventeen. If we accept your offer the transfer will be made. The property is not encumbered. Title clear.

Next June, when nature adorns this estate with all its glory, you will wish you had bought it. Go and see it now.

Geo. A. Hart, Essex, Mass, will show the property any Thursday until October 18th, 1917 from 12 to 3:30 PM

Thank you for answering our ad, we are
Truly yours,

Geo. A. Hart, Box 69,Essex, Mass
Geo. P. E. Hart, 308 Main St. Danville, Va.
                the only heirs

Apparently, no suitable buyer came forward.  Instead, George Pierpont Estes Hart sold his share of the Hart house to his cousin, George Albert Hart -- the other heir to the house.

In 1920, George Albert Hart was preparing to rent the Hart house out for the summer.  The following article appeared in the Boston Traveler,  on Saturday, June 20, 1920:

Strangers for the First time in 292 years May Occupy the Famous Hart House in Lynnfield, MA

Colonial Mansion, Souvenir of Early Days Bears ''To Let'' sign...

Raftered Rooms with their broad panels and spacious hearths-rooms replete with a thousand memorials of Colonial Days- an ensemble to boast of here in New England, now goes a-begging.

Strangers to get it
At least the ''To Let'' sign has been swung above this dwelling, the property of George Albert Hart of Lynnfield, and this summer for the first time in 292 years will witness the tenancy of the structure by strangers. Reluctance to maintain the upkeep of the old mansion, together with that of his other home in Essex, without some return has led Mr. Hart to offer the ancient house for summer rental.  If leased or let, it will be the first time anyone outside the Hart family has dwelt in the building since the Pioneer of the family Isaac Hart, crossed the swamps and forests from Salem and with ox sled, broad axe and pioneer spirit erected the ancestral home of the family.

Few Can Rival It
Few New England ancestral homes can rival the Hart Mansion in antiquity and Colonial Beauty. The exterior has been remodeled with a portion of the low rear roof pitch remaining the balance of the rear having been converted by means of double dormer peaks, but within the dwelling bears the atmosphere, which instantly brings back earliest days.

Not only is the interior structurally an epic example of ancient era, but little cupboards and closets teem with the blue-white colonial porcelain and China. Here are five-foot square fireplace neatly sealed but easy to unseal again if desired. There are smaller fireplaces with ancient andirons, and the char of centuries ready for immediate use: and an attic where wooden pins still hold in place tough oaken rafters. And to pry beneath the modern clapboards one would discover here and there on the upper floor the ancient loopholes which Isaac, his son, Samuel and next in line, John, thrust their flintlocks in defense against ravaging redskin bands.

The Iron latch, beaten out on the home forge or by the village smith, adorns each handsomely paneled door: a states gilded frame mirror is swung beside a fireplace and bears the 13 golden balls symbolic of the 13 original states.
The house sheltered John Hart Jr. fourth in decent, born in 1733: a niece and a great granddaughter of Gov. Endicott were at different times mistresses here.  Among the treasures are relics gathered in different parts of the world by those Hart ancestors who sailed the seas.  Samuel, the second owned, was Captain of a ship out of Salem, beginning as a cabin boy at 16.  Family lore subscribed in the history of Lynnfield recites that Capt. Samuel Hart, while asleep one night in the cabin of his vessel beheld a mysterious woman in flowing robes standing before him with a candle in one hand and in the other an hourglass in which the sand had partly run down.

Dead Next Morning
In his dream the Captain ''waited breathlessly'' so he related later, believing all the time that when the last grain should have fallen, he would pass on to another world. Much to his relief, however the mystery lady flipped up the glass just as the top section was about to be emptied. The captain awakened but the interpretation in mind that the fateful night spelled the middle day of his existence.

Strangely enough, so the tale runs, that was what is was to be. At 60 he retired from the sea and took up his permanent abode at the ancestral home. On the night, which would terminate the second half of his existence, with out referring to the thought he spent a longer time than was his custom at his devotions before retiring. He was dead the next morning.

Four Rooms
The dwelling originally consisted of four rooms, two down, and two upstairs. One of these was used in connection with the cultivation of the silkworm and the making of silk.
Many notable private gatherings have taken place beneath the roof of the building, between 1808 and 1888 the dwelling was known as the Upton House since one of the daughters was the mistress there. Immediately thereafter it became the possession of Joseph Hart, Jr. Born in 1799, succeeded by Henry Jackson Hart, Joseph Jr's son and the father of the present owner. 

70 Acres
Former Mayor Hart's father and the present house owner's great grandfather were brothers, and married two sisters. George Albert Hart, now 60 years old, and Mrs. Hart have no intention of selling the ancestral dwelling but it is more than probable that the next descent to hold title will not bear the name Hart, since there are three daughters in the family, the only son having died.

Away from the lawn of the dwelling and just across the wide thoroughfare in front are gently sloping fields that farther on terminate in clustering woods, extending almost as far as the eye reaches, a part of the estate of approximately 70 acres which Isaac and his descendants cleared from their primeval possessions which came to Isaac by grant from the King.

A Hart House Description

by owner Alexander Simpson

1        Unusually long spanned summer beams in living and dinning rooms.

2        Corner beams in many downstairs rooms

3        Back bedroom originally known as “Borning” room right off old kitchen

4        Front and side window frames in living and dining rooms are proof of Indian shutters, but shutters are long gone.

5        Well warn doorsill between old kitchen and living room shows hundreds of years of use.

6        Many door latches and hinges still exist which were hand made hundreds of years ago.

7        Hand made strap hinges on cellar door are supposedly examples of earliest metal hinges made in this country.

8        Beehive oven in one of three fireplaces.

9        Original hand carved paneling in evidence over fireplaces.

10    No boards (floor & wall) in evidence over 20 inches long.  (reason being, that when we were a British Colony, all boards over 20 inches long were reserved for and shipped overseas to the King.)

11    Old grindstone is used for the front door step.

12    Massive granite blocks form foundation.  Thought to be cut in Lynnfield out of granite unlike any other found in New England.

13    Old outside double walls back plastered and show hand made lathe and there is evidence of cornhusks and seaweed used as insulation. 

14    Wainscoting in many rooms although appearing to be of wood is a thick paint coated canvas material.

15    Means and runners in roof are all pegged and still have bark on some of them, PLUS toed and notched beams in attic floor and Roman numerated for matching.

16    Three walls in pine room still have original pine boards.

17    Silk worms, were reputed to have been grown, or raised in upstairs bedroom to supply old Danvers Silk Factory.

18    Outside and inside wall planking are all over one inch or greater thickness and used as actual support.  (2 x4’s unknown then)

19    Massive and solid oak beams used in construction of original house are mentioned in “History Of Lynnfield” as so solid that “No wind would ever blow the Hart house down.”

20    Rough plastered walls remain as such to maintain old original effect.

21    Post light is same as found in City of Boston Freedom Trail including Louisburg square.  48" high, it is a replica of old original Paul Revere lantern found on his house in Boston.

22    Unusual effect of ceiling or roofing boards in the Red Shed show, their nesting effect as all coming from the same tree.

23    Interesting carved “heart” imbedded inside beam in Pine room showing or signifying the “HART” family.

24    Apple room, now the kitchen originally was an apple storage area.

25    Large Brass Bell at peak of roof originally used to summon all the field and orchard hands to meals.

26    Attic was used at one time to house farming hands.

27    Wormholes in many of the wood floorboards show real early vintage.

28    Many of the interior exposed carrying beams and all of the attic beams are pegged and notched.

29    Very old stonewalls which surround the house are in great disarray due to tree roots upending them as they grew large, and signify great age, and emphasized the antiquity of the house.

30    House originally was a saltbox.  Roof extended straight down back of house on North side to ceiling level in old kitchen to minimize winter cold.  House faces south with front windows getting benefit of sun's warm rays assisting in heating in cold weather.

31    Old glass (uneven) in many windows.


Restoration on 172 Chestnut Street Lynnfield, MA

Article written sometime between 1968 and 1976

When Ed Jackson's foot went through the attic floor of his three-bedroom saltbox, he knew he stumbled on something interesting. Armed with a shaving mirror taped to a broom stick, the ear surgeon got a glimpse of the large 17th-century fireplace that was buried behind a plastered wall on the second floor.

"I could see the beginnings of the fireplace," he says. "I said `Hey, what's going on in this house. This is an earlier house than what we thought we bought.'"

That was 35 years ago and only a few months after the Jacksons purchased their home. Seeing the old fireplace prompted Jackson to undertake a major restoration of his home. Some of his many projects included exposing the homes' original beams, installing diamond-paned casement windows, repairing all of the home's four original fireplaces, and rebuilding a staircase.

Today, the house has been fully restored to its original 17th-century architecture. It is called the Hart house, named after the family that lived in it from the 1676 to the 1940s. It has been researched by antique house historian Abbott Lowell Cummings. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Jackson.

Considered the second oldest home in Lynnfield, it features a central chimney, handsome paneling, and wide pine floors. With the help of his wife, Carole, Jackson did much of the restoration work himself.

When the owner first purchased the home, it looked as if it had been built during the 18th-century. Its walls were plastered, and its beams were boxed. But because of extensive termite and water damage, the 18th-century woodwork was removed and the original features of the home were carefully unveiled and restored.

Antique "great room" is gathering space
One of the home's most impressive rooms is what Jackson calls the "great room." With its huge fireplace, leaded glass windows, and white-washed beams, it looks like a wonderful gathering space for friends and family. Especially unique are the exposed beams along the floor that are the house's original chamfered sills.

Previously, the room had a smaller, Rumford-style fireplace bricked over the original one. Jackson took out the Rumford fireplace and repaired the original one. For the project, he found old-fashioned bricks and mixed clay for mortar.

Other highlights of the home include the dining room and family room with their large fireplaces and exposed beams. In the master bedroom is a wall of feathered-edge paneling that was removed from a 17th-century home in Connecticut. A "good morning" staircase leads to two attic bedrooms on the third floor.

The house, which sits on a one-acre lot, comes with a large 19th-century barn that was moved to the property from Wakefield. It has a large workshop and a bathroom. The property, listed with Barbara Posnansky, Carlson GMAC, of Newburyport, is on the market for $699,000 in 2004.

More History of the Hart House

A letter received by Carolyn Wood from Edie Richard

The house is still on Chestnut Street, where it's always been and it seems as the owners who have had it for years have taken very good care of it. I haven't been in it since maybe the 1970s when I went to a meeting there. Those owners were the Simpson family and they've been gone elsewhere ages ago. Then Dr. Jackson bought it and he has owned it for years, but for some reason, I believe it was sold again.

 I will read you what has been written in our Book of Lynnfield, written by Thomas Wellman in 1895, states re: The Hart house is said to be the second house built in town. It has a peaked roof and one room in it used to be devoted to the culture of silkworms. Its massive oaken frame is still likely to stand, while others shall blow down.  
Not until 1976, was another book of Lynnfield attempted, and it is called "A Heritage Preserved" Lynnfield 1895-1976 and there's a picture of the house in it and an article. It states: Hart House -Circe 1670..172 Chestnut Street, Owners: Dr. and Mrs. Edward Jackson. "One of the oldest houses in Lynnfield, this center chimney saltbox now being painstakingly restored by the Jackson's is a good example of seventeenth century construction. The original house consisted of four rooms, a first floor parlor and hall, plus two second-floor chambers. A lean-to was added during the eighteenth century, thus creating the saltbox shape. A large dormer and porch around the front of the house were added in the twentieth century but have since been removed.  Although the exact date of construction has not been documented, its features verify its seventeenth century construction. This consists of exposed sills in the first floor rooms. a massive oak frame to which are nailed one and one half inch vertical planks, exposed beams with gunstock vertical  posts, large walk in fireplaces with lug poles and a brick oven, casement windows and a partial cellar. The foundation consists of various sizes of fieldstones rolled in place by hand.  Among the unique features of the house is the symbol of a heart embedded in a large pine beam in the eighteenth century addition. Undoubtedly some member of the Hart family placed it as proof that the family lived there.
The land on which the house stands is probably part of the five hundred acres granted to Edward Holyoke of Lynn in 1638 and later sold to James Russell of Charlestown. It is not clear just when the Hart family acquired the land, but according to Sanderson's "Lynn in the Revolution" written in 1909. Zerubbable Hartt, a Revolution War Soldier lived in the house. Despite the lack of clear-cut documentary proof prior to 1841, genealogical records and family legends would seem to indicate that the Hart family owned the house for most of the time until 1945 when it was purchased by Richard Booth. (This is the family I babysat for back in 1945, when I first was in that house....Edie) He in turn sold it to the Alexander Simpson's, from whom the Jackson's purchased the house. The Jackson's have invested seven years work in the authentic restoration of this historic home.

Sources, contributors, and researchers