The Green House: Oldest home in Everett remains standing strong
(The following is a weekly feature in the Independent based on the City’s 2018 Historic Property Survey done to note the many little-known historically significant properties within the city.)
This house is reportedly the oldest surviving house in Everett and is believed to date to the early 18th century. The gambrel-roofed 1 ½-story dwelling has a central hall plan with large end brick chimneys. Presently it is sheathed in wood shingles and the roof is asphalt shingled. The house is set with its gambrel end close to the street and its façade oriented to the southeast. Other than the survival of the gambrel roof and chimneys, the house has been extensively altered and retains little integrity. A c.1890 photo (see attached) shows that at that time the house had a five-bay façade with 2/2 windows flanking a Greek Revival-style entrance. In the 20th century the fenestration pattern was altered with two individual windows on either side of the door replaced by large picture windows. The entrance is capped by a shallow door hood. Other windows contain modern 1/1 sash. A small single-story addition projects from the north end.
This is one of the few, if not the only, early gambrel-roofed houses remaining in Everett. Other examples which once existed but are no longer extant included the Carrington-Paine House on Main Street and the Old Lynde House on Bow Street (Hengen 1983).
Though altered, the Green house merits further investigation and research. Dendrochronology could establish a construction date if enough suitable timbers could be accessed for testing, and a title search could establish a complete ownership history.
Ferry Street is an early road that was laid out before 1800 and was originally known as the County Road to Winnisimmet.
Prior to 1870 when Everett was incorporated, this property was located in South Malden which was set off as a separate parish from Malden in 1737.
The house is known locally as the Jonathan Green House. Although the basis of the attribution of this house to Jonathan Green has not been established, an Ensign Jonathan Green (1680-1744) of Malden did marry in 1715, and one could speculate that the house was constructed around that time. Jonathan was one of at least seven sons of Samuel and Mary Martha (Cook) Green, all born in Malden. In 1715, Jonathan married in Malden Lydia Bucknam (1695-1775), also born in Malden. Ens. Jonathan and Lydia had at least nine children between 1718 and 1730. Their eldest, Lydia died as an infant a few weeks after her birth in Malden in November 1718. However, it does not seem that they remained long in Malden, moving to Stoneham by at least the time of the birth of their second child, Capt. Jonathan Green (1719-1795). Jonathan Green’s house in Stoneham on Green Street (now Perkins Street) is provisionally dated to ca. 1720. Today the Green House at 63 Perkins Street is considered one of the oldest houses in Stoneham. All of their other children were also born in Stoneham, where many of them are buried, together with their parents, in Stoneham’s Old Burying Ground.
Of Ensign Jonathan, William Stevens writes (p. 29) in his History of Stoneham (1891): “During the first century of the town, hardly any family exerted a wider influence or furnished more leading citizens than the Greens . . . Jonathan Green came from Malden in the early part of the eighteenth, century. From then until now (1891) the old homestead has been occupied in each generation by a Jonathan Green.” Captain Jonathan Green (1719-1795), Jonathan’s son, was a delegate to the Concord convention of 1786, and to Boston in 1788 to ratify the constitution. Historian Stevens called Captain Green “the most active man in Stoneham in public affairs.” He was Stoneham town clerk and treasurer from 1748 to 1769.
According to the 1842 map which Dudley Bailey includes in his 1893 Everett Souvenir, the house was owned or occupied by J. Parker in 1842. The 1875 Beers Atlas shows the owner/occupant to be E.S. Mills. The 1889 directory shows a John Norton living on Ferry Street. John Norton (c.1817-?) immigrated from Ireland. His two sons, John Norton, Jr. (1851-1926) and William Norton (1852-1933) were both house carpenters.
The 1896 Walker map indicates that the Everett house was then owned by W. Norton. At the time of the 1900 Census it was rented to Cornelius Kelly, a 40-year old painter, who lived here with his wife Margaret and 12-year old son, Arthur. Mrs. Eunice Taylor rented the house from about 1914 to 1922. Directories list her as a liniment manufacturer and she likely made her liniments in a rear outbuilding (no longer extant). In 1920 Mrs. Taylor, who was African American and born in New York, was 83 years old and living here with her 22-year old grandson Albert Seymour and three other young people, Henry, Kellop and Lottie Morris.
In the 1920s and early 1930s William Norton lived here with his niece Mary McNamara. Directories list Norton as a rubber worker (1924) and carpenter (1930). Mary McNamara worked in the rubber shop in Malden. The 1930 Census shows them both living here – Norton was then 78 and McNamara was 57. Norton died on November 11, 1933; Mary McNamara lived here several more years. At her death ownership passed to William Shea who was living here at the time of the 1940 Census. He was then 43 and worked as a machinist. The property was purchased by George and Catherine Brock in 1949 (Page 7503, Page 274). It has had several owners since that time.