The Salem Witch House – Replicas and Modern Living

Here in New England we have a lot of historic homes and one of the oldest and most historic – and infamous – is the Jonathan Corwin House in Salem, MA. This house is also known as the Salem Witch House. It’s infamous because the house is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Salem witch trials of 1692. The exact date the house was built is unknown, with dates ranging from 1642 to 1675 when Corwin purchased it unfinished. Mid-century not-so-modern, in other words.

Salem Witch House Google street view

Salem Witch House street view side

The house bears a striking resemblance to Whitehall in Cheam, Surrey, England, which dates to at least 100 years earlier.

Whitehall Cheam Surrey England
Whitehall Cheam Surrey England

Architecturally, the Witch House “is an excellent example of an opulent First Period home, and features a steeply pitched salt- box roof, large central chimney, projecting two-story porch, five steep gables, and triple-casement windows. The restored interior is furnished to the late 17th century.” per National Park Service Architecture in Salem. Jonathan Corwin was one of the wealthiest men of his time which is why he could afford a house that was fairly large, had lots of windows, relative to other houses of the period, and built to last. Here’s a video of the inside of the house.

So, why am I talking about the Salem Witch house? Because we not only love our historic homes here in New England, but we love a replica! I’ve written in the past about a replica of Monticello that was for sale in Somers, CT and now I’ve found a house in Sandwich, MA that is on the market and is a replica of the Witch House. And, I’ve actually been inside this house.

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica exterior front

Built in 1984, the house is 2,606 sq. ft. and lots of care was taken to include many historic features while still being a home for modern living. It’s really impressive in person as well as in the photos. I love how it’s sited on the property and I really love a black or dark charcoal house. As a matter of fact, I am working with a client on a mid-century modern house (that’s 20th C, not 17th!) which I want him to paint this color. It’s a palette for all centuries!

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House Front Door

The diamond pattern on the wood front door is gorgeous and mimics with the diamond windows. It also softens and warms up the imposing facade.

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica front door

 

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica entry

Lots of exposed wood, wide pine and wrought iron hardware abound.

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica front hall

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica sitting room fireplace

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica sitting room

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica kitchen

 

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica master bedroom fireplace

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica master bedroom

 

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica floral bedroom

And in the rear, we see the historically accurate salt box slope, which is copied in the detached garage.

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica rear exterior

I’d happily live in the garage!

33 Tarragon Dr Sandwich MA Salem Witch House replica garage

See the Kinlin Grover real estate listing here. This is an updated listing, so there are lots of different views of the house too!

And, the Sandwich, MA house isn’t the only replica of the Salem Witch House. This example is in Hollis, NH. It was built in 1978 and is 3,398 sq. ft. Reclaimed beams from a Milford, NH Baptist Church were used & hand notched in the open beam construction on the first floor and again in the master bedroom. (per old real estate listing).

197 Wheeler Road Hollis NH Jeff Morton Photography House exterior

The house does have a modified salt box rear, but is not a slavish re-creation of the original.

197 WHEELER ROAD HOLLIS, NH Salem Witch House

197 WHEELER ROAD HOLLIS, NH Jeff Morton Photography House exterior side

 

197 WHEELER ROAD HOLLIS, NH Jeff Morton Photography front hall

These photos are by Jeff Morton Photography and there are many more here.  You will see that they did not carry the historical accuracy throughout the house and some smaller rooms are definitely 1970’s Colonial in style.

Often here in New England, our homes are historical in reality or recreations. But, they can also feel kind of “musty” in their interior decorations. How do these homes get updated for more modern and fresher tastes? Check out my post on ideas for modern living in an antique home.  And no, they won’t be swathed in gray paint with faux-Belgian style furniture! A few years ago, I wrote about this modern interior in an 1860 Colonial revival house, also in Sandwich. I didn’t mind it in that house, but I wouldn’t want the interior of the Witch House to be opened up and overly modernized.

Would you want to live in this style house? What do you think of black or dark charcoal paint on a house in general?

xoxo Linda Would you like my Favorite Tips for a Well-Decorated Home? Click here!

14 thoughts on “The Salem Witch House – Replicas and Modern Living”

  1. Hello Linda, You forgot to mention all the replicas and semi-replicas of Mt. Vernon! I actually would not mind living in a semi-museum type atmosphere, and as you know I prefer genuinely old houses to show their age and not be too polished up. The Salem Witch House was a popular target for 19th century photographers, so I have old photos of it in my collection.I think that another genuine house connected with the witch trials was moved and is now in North Carolina or some such place.

    The Corwin house has enough architectural vitality that it can stand up to the gray paint without looking institutional. Also, it is very old, and the darkness of the paint reminds us of the age of the house. For newer and plainer houses dark gray paint can be oppressive. Near where my mother lives is a very large but rectangular house that was painted gray, and every time we walk by it we call it “The Prison”.I guess like all aesthetic decisions, it depends on the circumstances and on the talents of the designer.
    –Jim

    Reply
    • Hi Jim – haha – there was a gray house near us at one point and I think my Dad used to say it looked like a battleship. Not a homey reference. It’s still gray, but much lighter and more shingle gray which fits the house much better. My friend’s mid-century house is about half windows, half siding, and it’s in a woodsy setting. So I feel like dark charcoal (not black hole black) along with the original stained mahogany trim, will make it melt into the setting and make the windows stand out. It does truly depend on the architecture. It’s funny because I thought I’d done a post on a replica of Mt. Vernon in New England, but couldn’t find it!

      Reply
  2. Thanks so much. I feel like I’ve been there. We have an 1866 house in the Thumb of Michigan that is almost a house museum. However, it has been LIVED in for four generations and has acquired bits and pieces from every one.

    Reply
    • Your house sounds amazing. I’ve never actually lived in a true antique house. The original part of current cottage was built in 1905, but its been renovated so much you wouldn’t really know it. Which is good because I think it was a plumbing-free shack originally!

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  3. Touring these 17th century homes always makes me grateful I was born in the 20th century! I like my indoor plumbing and modern conveniences, thank you. But the attention to detail and craftsmanship from bygone eras is so often lacking in our modern disposable society, so there is plenty to admire and learn from history!

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  4. Love love love this and look forward to seeing your take on how to update these interiors, Linda! How lucky you are to live in a place with such a rich history.

    Reply
  5. Loved this post!!! Makes me pine for my historic childhood home in Beverly. And I had a friend who lived in a replica type house I think in Beverly Farms. So many cool rooms inside.

    And also, the black outside paint is now evidently a trend. Just around the corner here in Austin I’ve seen the first house painted black. Before, I never would see houses that color EXCEPT in good ‘ole New England.

    Thx for bringing back some memories and history of the area.

    Reply
    • My pleasure Deborah! I love a black house – it’s not right for every house of course, but it’s amazing on antique homes and also mid-century houses. I have a friend/client who just bought a mid-century deck house and I think I’ve convinced him to paint it dark charcoal, with the trim the natural mahogany. So excited!

      Reply

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