Alexander Knight House

Introducing our new housewright

March 2012 - Introducing Matt Diana, MJMD Housewright, who has volunteered his time and unique skills to finish the Alexander Knight House. Matt worked for Jim (prior to his passing) and has spent time on the project cutting joinery, and at the raising. Now he will finish the frame and soon will be building the windows and door as well as providing the riven lath for both the roof and the chimney. Welcome to the AKH Team Matt!

Matt Diana, MJMD Housewright

Back at the Taylor Sawmill

July 2011 - Wide white pine siding is currently being milled with the water powered sash saw (up and down saw) at the Taylor Sawmill, in Derry N.H. Again, Bob Spoerl and his son, Ed, are authentically milling some of the siding for our project. The Taylor Sawmill is open to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays during the summer with live demonstrations of how lumber was historically milled. Visit them on-line at: Taylor Sawmill or at Technical info on the Taylor Sawmill

Bob Spoerl at the Taylor Sawmill, Derry , NH


Digging for Treasure

February 2010 - Winter may keep us in but often gives us that time to focus on intellectual pursuits. Sue N. has been researching from the cozy confines of home viewing records and digging up treasures. The subject of the most recent investigation is the location of the original Alexander Knight House. The possibility exists that there may be evidence of the structure within the house at that site. The team hopes to be granted the opportunity to determine if a bit of the original house remains. During the skating party celebration at the Ipswich Museum, Sue and Jim look over plans of the newer house (1680) built at the old Knight address with Fred Hale past president of the Ipswich Historical Society looking on.

Sue, Fred Hale, Jim


Reaping the Benefits -
Plimoth comes to Ipswich

September 2009 - The Alexander Knight House (AKH) team welcomed the Plimoth Plantation Interpretive Artisans to town on Friday, September 25 2009 when the collaborative group harvested reed for thatching the Alexander Knight House. Plimoth Plantation harvests approximately 7 acres of reed and cattail to thatch roofs in the village. The harvesting will take place in both towns of Ipswich and Essex. Once the reed was gathered, by the traditional First Period method— using a sickle, it was then dried and overwintered in preparation for 2010 roofing activities at the Alexander Knight House site. 

Going to cut thatch

25 September 2009 - The AKH Team and a few local volunteers were joined by Rick, Michael and Shann from Plimoth Plantation. After meeting at the Whipple House in Ipswich to show our newfound friends the site of the future Alexander Knight House we departed for Essex.

Mat ready to cut  cutting Thatch


Research at Plimoth Plantation

AKH Team meets Plimoth Plantation

North meets South - August, 2009 - the AKH team traveled to the South Shore and met with the Plimoth builders Rick, Michael, Tom and Shann. An exciting exchange of knowledge and information went on, and on, between the project members. Features of the early Plimoth houses were compared and contrasted with the Knight House along with much discussion about thatching, chimneys, and framing. A constant flow of conversation bounced from one to another, each contributing a particular view or discovery. An extremely rewarding (and fun) experience all northerners agreed; we hope our southern hosts felt the same. Our sincere thanks to them for giving us their time and we look forward to collaborating with them throughout our ongoing project.



ground breaking

July, 2009 - Fred Hale, president Ipswich Historical Society; Tim Chouinard, CHS Landscape Concept; Senator Bruce Tarr (R); Mathew Cummings, Cummings Architects; Ipswich Selectwoman Ingrid Miles; James D. Whidden. Woodwright LLC, break ground for the Alexander Knight House.

The Ipswich Museum is adding the building to the grounds of the Whipple House, 1 South Village Green, Ipswich, MA located in the Essex National Heritage Area and a National Historic Landmark. This live exhibit will feature demonstrations and discussions about the process of home building in early American history.


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Updated 15 July 2011