Phases of Construction

The house as it presently stands consists of sections from three distinct building periods. 

The oldest of these forms the southeast segment of the building. 
Originally, it was a  two-and-a-half story brick house, one room deep, with a divided basement, single room on the first floor, and two above. Although this portion of the building has traditionally been dated 1717, it seems unlikely that it was constructed so early since, shortly after acquiring it, William Green, Sr. moved into his “new” house near the Delaware. 1730 is often quoted as the more likely date of construction. There was, however, a house on the site prior to construction of this section, and to which this house was adjoined.

The second section, chronologically, is located behind this 1730’s section, forming the northeast segment of the house. This consists of an addition of two rooms and a stair hall on the first floor, with two rooms above. Again there is no written documentation of a construction date, but the forms of the interior detailing and materials used, including mud and hair plaster and hand-wrought rose head nails, are characteristic of work done in this area between 1750 and 1790. A date towards the latter part of this period is more likely, since the double and triple-beaded paneling on several doors, now hanging elsewhere, but originally made for this section, is generally found locally in buildings of the post-Revolutionary era.

The third building stage, a two room deep addition to the west, nearly doubled the size of the house. This again was constructed of brick, laid up, however, in common, rather than Flemish bond, with seven rows of stretchers to one of the headers.  Again there is no documentation for the date of construction of this section. Because of the presence of circular saw marks on much of the interior lath, it must be concluded that it could not have been built much before 1830. Two likely dates for construction activity follow Samuel Green’s acquisition of the property in 1833 and Henry P. Green’s in 1848. For a variety of reasons the former date is more likely than the latter. This section of the building was evidently erected in the location of the earliest house on the property. It may, indeed, incorporate the foundations of the earlier house (the log cabin purchased from John Severns), and perhaps, at least partially, its large cooking fireplace.

Prior to 1730 a log cabin existed on the site. Its original foundation still remains and was retained during the third building stage. That cabin remained a part of the house until demolished, save the foundation, during the third building stage. The roofline of this cabin (see color photo below) is visible in a room on the second floor of the third phase of construction.

A lean-to kitchen added by the Blackwell family in the early 20th century was demolished during the stabilization project.

Friends of the William Green Farmhouse