The Oldest Houses In The US That Are Still Standing

Though the United States is a relatively young nation, people have inhabited the North American continent for millennia. Few of their original dwellings remain, though relics can be found scattered throughout the 50 states. But what about the homes that were never demolished or diminished by the march of time? What is the oldest standing house in America?

If you're an architectural buff, or just a US history fan, you may be tempted to say the Fairbanks House in Massachusetts. It's definitely up there (though no contender for the oldest house in the world), yet like most of the oldest standing houses in America, it only dates back to the 1600s. By comparison, the pueblo houses built by the indigenous peoples of New Mexico have been standing for more than a thousand years.

Thanks to the efforts of Native American tribes and historical societies, the US has managed to preserve several of its most ancient buildings. These are the oldest houses still standing in America.

  • Taos Pueblo, North Of Taos, NM (c. 1000-1450)

    As with the Acoma Pueblo, the adobe buildings of the Taos Pueblo were constructed using a mixture of earth, water, and straw. Parts of the present-day buildings are believed to have been built between 1000 and 1450 AD.

    Of the 19 pueblos in New Mexico, Taos is located the farthest north, near the Taos Mountains and Red Willow Creek, or Rio Pueblo de Taos. Some 150 people still live here year-round.

  • Acoma Pueblo, Cibola County, NM (c. 1150)

    Acoma Pueblo, Cibola County, NM (c. 1150)
    Photo: Marshall Henrie / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Located 60 miles west of Albuquerque, NM, the Acoma Pueblo has been continuously inhabited since at least 1150 AD. Also known as "Sky City," the settlement was established on a mesa that rises 367 feet above the valley floor.

    The two- and three-story adobe brick buildings are still in use today, though fewer than 50 Acoma permanently reside there. The rest of the 3,000-member tribe live in surrounding villages.

  • Fairbanks House, Dedham, MA (c. 1637)

    Built around 1637, the Fairbanks House of Dedham, MA, holds claim to the title of "oldest known wooden structure still standing in North America." It housed eight generations of the Fairbanks family (beginning with Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks) and is a museum today.

    Lowell Cummings, a former professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University, has called the home "one of the most important historic houses now standing in the northeastern part of the United States" due to its "unbelievabl[y] unspoiled condition."

  • C. A. Nothnagle Log House, Gibbstown, NJ (c. 1638-1643)

    Located on the Swedesboro-Paulsboro Road in Gibbstown, NJ, the C.A. Nothnagle Log House is "one of the oldest surviving cabins in the United States." Allegedly, all of the cabin's original logs are still intact, save one that was damaged by ivy and had to be replaced. 

    The cabin's owners, Harry and Doris Rink, keep the cabin open to the public - and occasionally serve visitors sandwiches."All of your history books in school begin with the Revolutionary War," Doris told "This [house] is the 17th century. It's before the history books."

  • Henry Whitfield House, Guilford, CT (1639)

    Built more than a century before the American Revolution, the Whitfield House is both the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England.

    According to the museum's website, that stone was carved from local granite, and on behalf of Reverend Henry Whitfield - one of the English Puritans who founded Guilford in 1639.

  • Richard Sparrow House, Plymouth, MA (c. 1640)

    Described as the "oldest house in Plymouth," the Richard Sparrow House was built around 1640 and is located at 42 Summer Street.

    The website for the Sparrow House, which is now a state museum, offers scant information on the house itself. It does, however, provide some fascinating biographical information on Richard Sparrow, his family, and colonial life. For instance:

    As a freeman, Richard was granted a house tract of six acres in 1636, which required him to construct a house within four years. [...] By 17th century standards, Richard's family was small, which dictated the demanding work of colonial life be completed by only three family members. In 1639, Mary Moorecock was apprenticed to Richard and Pandora [Sparrow] for nine years in exchange for food, lodging, clothes and a ewe lamb. The lamb was to be kept by Mary's stepfather, who was to "keep one third of the increase for labor."