Announcing "The Knight House Mouse"
A tale about James, a young and curious field mouse, who observes a Housewright constructing a small, First Period, timber framed house. The story is set in 1657, in Ipswich, MA and features James’ adventures with Everett the puppy along with descriptions of early building techniques. Inspired by the Knight House project at the Ipswich Museum the book includes a “flip book” in the lower left corner showing the process. Written and illustrated by Cynda Warren and available for purchase at the Ipswich Museum Shop.
We are incredibly saddened...
November 2011 - James David Whidden, 49, of Ashburnham, MA died unexpectedly on November 29th, of natural causes. We will miss him and hope to see this project, that meant so much to him, be completed in his honor.
Raising at the Ipswich Museum
Saturday, September 4th, 2010
About the raising...
Our Foundation Celebration Skating Party
20 February 2010
February 2010 - The AKH Team and the Ipswich Museum invited the public to a skating party on Sally's Pond, next to the Whipple House, to celebrate the completion of the foundation for the re-creation of the C. 1657 Alexander Knight House. Though the skating was a little mushy being out on the pond, in the field with lots of kids, young and old, really was a treat. Happy faces, hot chocolate - with marshmallows even, cookies and brownies, warm February sunshine made the afternoon truly enjoyable. Thanks to the volunteers at the Ipswich Museum for hosting such a nice skating party.
February 2010 - Currently the foundation is being built and prepared for the floor system coming this Spring...
Fall, 2009 - The Alexander Knight House team worked behind the scenes in varying remote locations to procure and prepare white oak and white pine for the construction Spring and Summer 2010.
Fall 2009 - White oak floor joists and white pine floor boards were sawn with the water powered sash (up and down) saw at the Taylor Sawmill, in Derry N.H. Mills like this are quite rare, having been replaced by the circular and band saws still used today. Bob Spoerl and his son, Ed, run the mill on the second and fourth Saturdays during the summer and sawed the lumber for the flooring of the Alexander Knight House with historic accuracy.
Cutting White Oak
Fall 2009 -White oakis somewhat scarce in Ipswich today though in 1657 it was still abundant. The AKH Team contacted Master Logger Tim Robinson from Barre, MA where white oak can still be found. He generously allowed us to come to his job at Camp Putnam in New Braintree, MA. There Jim, using his favorite English ax, cut and hewed one of the sills for the Alexander Knight House. The best trees for hewing grow close together in the forest and thus do not have lower branches, which create knots.
News Stories—Ipswich Chronicle
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!
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
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.
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.
Research at 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.
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.
Updated 15 July 2011