The modest little home measures only 38 feet wide by 20 feet deep! Built in 1661, Dorchester’s James Blake House is the oldest surviving building and home in all of Boston.
The period home has a ground floor which now operates as a museum and a second floor with quarters for the current maintainer and resident of the 362-year-old home. The 2-story home has been managed by the live-in caretaker, Barbara Kurze since 2015. Kurze also leads the home tours.
The simple construction includes a central chimney and timber frame foundation. The home originally had a wooden shingle gable roof. That was later replaced to a slate roof to accommodate New England seasons.
Ownership of the James Blake House
Built by Minister James Blake in 1661, the house remained to the Blake name until 1825 in which a Williams family bought the property. In 1892 new owners took over. Just 3 years later, in 1895, the city of Boston purchased the property and set it for demolition in 1896.
Luckily it was preserved and instead operates as a museum with tours of the property monthly on the third Sunday. The James Blake House earned recognition as a Boston landmark in 1978.
Find the James Blake House at
735 Columbia Road, Boston, MA
While the James Blake House is Boston’s longest standing home, there are a few other period buildings worth recognizing. You might even encounter these locations on your daily commute.
Paul Revere House
Built in 1680, Boston’s Paul Revere House is downtown Boston’s oldest building. The 3-story home belonged to Robert Howard before it was purchased by Paul Revere in 1770. Paul lived there for 10 years and made is infamous midnight gallop in 1775.
19 North Square, Boston, Mass.
Old State House
Boston’s Old State House is the longest surviving public building in the city. Built in 1712, it as the center for government related affairs. It is historically known as the location of the 1770 Boston Massacre. Old State House became a national historic landmark in 1960 and Boston landmark in 1994. Today it serves as a museum.
206 Washington Street, Boston, Mass
Union Oyster House
Famously America’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, the Union Oyster House opened in 1826 but the building it exists in was built in 1716. As the restaurant continued to operate on the ground floor, the second floor housed everyone from a French King to Isaiah Thompson, creator of “The Massachusetts Spy”-America’s longest operating newspaper.
41 Union Street, Boston, Mass