WINDOWS TO THE PAST
ALABAMA: JOEL EDDINS HOUSE
Originally constructed in Ardmore in 1808 (though some reports suggest 1810) before being restored relocated to the Burritt on the Mountain museum in 2007, the Joel Eddins House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1½-story home is a unique hall-and-parlor style structure that's not typically found in Alabama.
ALASKA: RUSSIAN-AMERICAN COMPANY MAGAZIN ERSKINE HOUSE
Now known as the Baranov Museum, the Magazin Erskine House can be traced to the Russian colonization of Alaska. It was built in 1808 and used as a storage facility for the Russian-American Company. Today, it's a National Historic Landmark and a remnant of Kodiak's history as the first permanent Russian settlement and territory in North America.
ARIZONA: MISSION SAN XAVIER DEL BAC
A building that dates back to the late 18th century — when southern Arizona was part of New Spain — the Mission San Xavier Del Bac is considered one of the best examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S. The historic Spanish Catholic mission, about 10 miles south of downtown Tucson, was founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church, which is filled with original statuary and mural paintings, began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.
ARKANSAS: WOODRUFF PRINT SHOP
Location: Little Rock
The Woodruff Print Shop is named after William Woodruff, a young New Yorker who moved to Arkansas in 1819 to publish the territory's first newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette. The interior of his print shop, which dates to 1824, has been carefully reconstructed including original Woodruff furnishings and a replica of the printing press he used.
CALIFORNIA: MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
Location: San Juan Capistrano
Founded in 1776 by Spanish Franciscans, the San Juan Capistrano mission is one of 21 in California. The purpose of the missions were to expand the Spain's territory and spread Christianity, though their history is somewhat controversial and tied to brutal treatment of native people. The building later made appearances on the silver screen, serving as a backdrop for early Hollywood films such as "The Two Brothers."
COLORADO: MESA VERDE CLIFF PALACE
Location: Montezuma County
The largest cliff dwelling in North America, Cliff Palace is part of Mesa Verde National Park. The structure is believed to have been built in about 1190 by the Ancestral Puebloans and once included some 150 rooms. As many as 100 people lived in Cliff Palace, which may have also been a social and administrative site with significant ceremonial importance.
CONNECTICUT: HENRY WHITFIELD STATE MUSEUM
New England's oldest stone house, the Henry Whitfield property was constructed in 1639. It was built for the Rev. Whitfield, who was the leader of an English Puritan community and the founder of the town of Guilford. The property, with massive stone walls, a steeply pitched roof and casement windows, reflects a style of post-medieval architecture found in England, but which was rare in 17th century America.
DELAWARE: THE BLOCK HOUSE
A two-story structure thought to have been constructed in 1654, the house was built to defend against attacks and is believed to be the only remaining building from a settlement known as Naamans Creek. Its construction was ordered by the governor, Jonah Risingh, who presided the colony of New Sweden. In 1671 the Block house was attacked by Native Americans and later, in 1777, it was captured by the British army during the Revolutionary War.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: OLD STONE HOUSE
Location: Washington, D.C.
While Washington, D.C., is filled with many historic buildings, the Old Stone House is in a category of its own. It is the oldest unchanged building in America's capital, constructed in 1765. It is Washington's last Pre-Revolutionary colonial building on its original foundation. The house was already 59 years old when the British invaded Washington in 1814. The National Park Service opened the house to the public in 1960.
FLORIDA: CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS
Location: St. Augustine
A defensive fort that can be traced to 1672, Castillo De San Marcos was built under the direction of Florida's Spanish governor to protect the city of St. Augustine at a time when it was still part of the Spanish empire. It is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Today the structure is a national monument that's open to the public and managed by the National Park Service.
GEORGIA: HORTON HOUSE
Location: Jekyll Island
A reminder of Georgia's colonial history, the Horton House was constructed in 1743 by British military aide Major William Horton, who was a top aide to Gen. James Oglethorpe. The structure is made of tabby, a unique concrete that was common in Georgia at the time. Horton built the home with the help of indentured servants after his first house on the island was destroyed during a Spanish attack. Some historians also point to a small structure in Savannah built in 1734, which was later expanded to become The Pirate House Inn in 1754, as the oldest.
HAWAII: KA HALE LĀʻAU
Ka Hale Lāʻau was a pre-cut wooden frame structure designed in New England with little consideration for the Hawaiian climate, but it nonetheless housed missionaries for about 60 years. The home was shipped to Hawaii from Boston in 1820, traveling around Cape Horn to reach its destination. For six decades, it was a communal home for missionary families as well as island visitors and boarders.
IDAHO: CATALDO MISSION
Located at what is now Old Mission State Park, Cataldo Mission (also known as Mission of the Sacred Heart) was built in 1850 at the request of members of the Nez Perce and Flathead tribes. It was constructed using an old wattle and daub method, without using a single nail.
ILLINOIS: FORT DE CHARTRES
Location: Prairie Du Rocher
Fort de Chartres, a French fortification on the east bank of the Mississippi River, was originally built in 1720 during the colonization of Illinois to defend against the local Meskwaki people. While largely reconstructed (most of the current structure was built in 1753), its original powder magazine buildings still stand. The fort served as the French seat of government and its chief military installation in Upper Louisiana.
INDIANA: INDIANA TERRITORIAL CAPITAL
One of Indiana's four original legislative centers, the Indiana Territorial Capital, is part of a state historical site in Vincennes. Built between 1800 and 1805, it served as the center of government for the Indiana Territory until 1813. The simple two-story frame structure was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1973. Meanwhile, others consider Grouseland, the brick home built for William Henry Harrison — the Indiana Territory's governor and later the 9th U.S. President — to be the oldest structure as it was completed in 1804.
IOWA: LOUIS ARRIANDEAUX LOG HOUSE
A log cabin from 1827, the Louis Arriandeaux Log House originally housed pioneer settlers in Dubuque and has since been moved twice. It is now located on the Mathias Ham House estate. The double log cabin was constructed in what's known as the dogtrot style, which was common in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Such homes feature a large breezeway through the center to cool the occupants in hot weather.
KANSAS: THE ROOKERY
Location: Fort Leavenworth
Most famous as the home of the Military Connections Complex, Fort Leavenworth also hosts the Rookery, Kansas' oldest building. Construction began in 1827, the same year Fort Leavenworth was established. It was initially used as a residence for commanders and later as the office of territorial governor Andrew Reeder. Later it was home to Douglas MacArthur, who lived there with his widowed mother when he was an Army lieutenant.
KENTUCKY: LOCUST GROVE
A historic 55-acre Georgian estate, the property was once owned by the sister of William Clark. It is the only site west of the Appalachians to have sheltered the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. This National Historic Landmark dates back to 1790. When owned by William and Lucy Clark Croghan, the property welcomed countless luminaries including Presidents James Monroe and Andrew Jackson.
LOUISIANA: LAFITTE'S BLACKSMITH SHOP
Location: New Orleans
Constructed in French Colonial style, this historic building located at the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Philip Street is purported to have been built between 1722 and 1733 and allegedly used by Jean and Pierre Lafitte as a cover for their illegal smuggling activities — though like much of New Orleans' history, the exact origins are shrouded in legend and the timeline has been questioned. The building is also said to be one of the more haunted venues in New Orleans' French Quarter. Others contend that the nearby Old Ursuline Convent, completed in 1752, is the oldest surviving structure in the state.
MAINE: MCINTIRE GARRISON HOUSE
The McIntire Garrison House was built in 1707 by English settlers to protect from Native American and French attacks. It is an extremely rare, well-preserved example of a colonial guard house.
MARYLAND: OLD TRINITY CHURCH
Location: Church Creek
Constructed by English settlers in 1675 on an 85-acre plot, the Old Trinity Church contains a number of typically English features, including its West Gallery and the coat of arms of Maryland's benefactor, Queen Anne.
MASSACHUSETTS: FAIRBANKS HOUSE
Constructed between 1637 and 1641 for Puritan Jonathan Fairbanks and his family, the Fairbanks House is the oldest timber-frame house in North America. The house was occupied and passed down through eight generations of the Fairbanks family, who owned it until the early 20th century. Today it is a historic house museum.
MICHIGAN: FORT MACKINAC OFFICERS' QUARTERS
Location: Mackinac Island
This substantial stone building was constructed in 1780 and is part of the Fort Mackinac complex. The building housed British soldiers during the American War of Independence. In 1895, Fort Mackinac was closed by Congress and today is a tourist attraction. The Officers' Stone Quarters is one of 14 historic buildings at the fort.
MINNESOTA: FORT SNELLING ROUND TOWER
Location: St. Paul
Designated a "national treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Fort Snelling was established in 1820 to enforce law and order following the War of 1812. The fort features limestone walls that are more than 25 feet high and musket slits that face both inside and outside the fort, which could be used to defend against the enemy that breached the fort's walls.
MISSISSIPPI: OLD SPANISH FORT
The Old Spanish Fort (also known as Old French Fort and LaPointe-Krebs House) on the shores of Lake Krebs was built in 1757 as the fortified residence of a Spanish soldier named Joseph Simon de la Pointe. But by some accounts, the property began life as an indigo and wax myrtle plantation. The structure predates the Revolutionary War by more than two decades.
MISSOURI: LOUIS BOLDUC HOUSE
Location: Ste. Genevieve
The Louis Bolduc House was built in 1792 by a prosperous French-Canadian settler Louis Bolduc and remained in the same family until the 1940s. Bolduc was a lead miner, merchant, and planter. His home, which features an 18th century garden, is now a museum, owned and operated by the Missouri Society of the Colonial Dames of America.
MONTANA: OLD FORT BENTON BLOCKHOUSE
Location: Fort Benton
The Old Fort Benton Blockhouse, circa 1846, is all that remains of an old fortress that was once the final outpost of the Mullan Road and the Upper Missouri fur trading route. The structure is regarded as the remaining monument to the region's old fur trading days. Other historical societies, meanwhile, contend that a building on the site of Fort Connah in St. Ignatius was built around the same time.
NEBRASKA: BELLEVUE LOG CABIN
According to local legend, the Bellevue Log Cabin was built between 1830 and 1835 as a part of the Jacob Astor Fur Trading Post, near the Missouri River. In 1850, the structure was moved to Bellevue, where it continued as a family home until the 1950s. The cabin was constructed from cottonwood logs that are nearly a foot thick with Indian lodge pole style rafters and has been restored to near original condition. The Sarpy County Historical Society purchased the property in 1954 and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
NEVADA: OLD MORMON FORT
Location: Las Vegas
Mormon missionaries established this adobe-brick fort at the midpoint between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles in 1855 but abandoned it during the Utah War. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1972 and became a state park in 1991.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: RICHARD JACKSON HOUSE
Once part of a 25-acre homestead, the Richard Jackson House was built in 1664 by Richard Jackson, a woodworker, farmer, and mariner. In 1968, the home, noted for its English post-Medieval style and extravagant use of wood, was designated a National Historic Landmark.
NEW JERSEY: NOTHNAGLE CABIN
Built by Finnish settlers in 1638, the Nothnagle Cabin is one of the oldest surviving log cabins in the United States. Around the fireplace, the cabin also features Scandinavian ironware that dates to the 1590s. The original structure measured 16 by 22 feet, indicating that its builders were likely very wealthy, as the average dwelling at the time was about 12 by 12 feet. The cabin was lived in until 1918. It was recently put up for sale — assuming the buyer would allow the current owners to stay on the property and continue giving tours there.
NEW MEXICO: TAOS PUEBLO
Constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D by the Taos people using adobe brick, the pueblo's multi-storied buildings have been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years. As many as 150 residents still live in the pueblo, which is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.
NEW YORK: THE OLD HOUSE
Although predated by a carpenter's shed, the Old House is the earliest standing example of a colonial house in New York State. Built in 1649, it is one of the best surviving examples of English domestic architecture in America.
NORTH CAROLINA: LANE HOUSE
Originally a one-story colonial structure that dates to 1718, a half-story was added on in 19th century. The house is part of the Edenton National Register Historic District, North Carolina's second-oldest town, which includes some 342 buildings.
NORTH DAKOTA: KITTSON TRADING POST
An American Fur Company agent, Norman Kittson established this trading post in 1843 to take advantage of the local Red River Valley's prosperous fur trade. Kittson was an important fur trader, steamboat proprietor, and railroad entrepreneur in the Pembina County and Red River area.
OHIO: OLD STONE FORT
Location: West Lafayette
Though no one knows for sure, it's believed that this structure was built in 1679 by French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, one of explorer Robert de La Salle's aides. In addition to possibly being the oldest building in Ohio, it may also be the oldest building in the Midwest.
OKLAHOMA: FORT GIBSON
Location: Fort Gibson
The barracks at Fort Gibson in northeastern Oklahoma were built in the 1840s, although the fort itself was founded in 1824. A historic military site, Fort Gibson guarded the American frontier from 1824 until 1888.
OREGON: MOLALLA LOG HOUSE
Location: Clackamas County
The Molalla Log House predates the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804. It is thought by some to be the work of Russian settlers who were sent to Oregon's Willamette Valley by Catherine the Great. The 18-foot-wide structure, dating to 1799, is unlike any pioneer construction seen in Oregon from that period in history.
PENNSYLVANIA: LOWER SWEDISH CABIN
Location: Drexel Hill
Built between 1640 and 1650 as part of the New Sweden colony, the Lower Swedish Cabin is an example of a Scandinavian log house. The building was a private residence until 1937 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
RHODE ISLAND: WHITE HORSE TAVERN
America's oldest tavern, this building traces its history back to 1673 when the country was a collection of English colonies. Taverns played an important role at the time, and the White Horse attracted colonists, British soldiers, pirates, sailors and even Founding Fathers.
SOUTH CAROLINA: PINK HOUSE
Pink Bermuda stone gives this historic home a distinctive appearance. The Pink House was constructed in 1694. The property, located in the city's French Quarter, was once a tavern rumored to have a brothel on the top floor and more recently an art gallery. The Pink House is listed in the National Register as part of Charleston's French Quarter District. Though some historians peg the Middleburg Plantation, Charleston's Col. William Rhett House and other structures as older.
SOUTH DAKOTA: FORT SISSETON
Location: Lake City
Named after the Sisseton Indian Tribe, Fort Sisseton was constructed in 1864 under the orders of Major General John Pope to protect settlers and surveyors moving into the territory. Now a picturesque state park and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the grounds include officers' quarters, stone barracks, a guard house, and other buildings from the time of the Western frontier.
TENNESSEE: THE JOHN & LANDON CARTER MANSION
The first house in Tennessee to have glass windows, the Carter Mansion was built in 1775 for John and Landon Carter who were well-known business, political, and military leaders in the area during the late 18th century. The mansion is now open to the public and offers guided tours.
TEXAS: THE ALAMO MISSION
Location: San Antonio
Site of the famous Battle of the Alamo, the Alamo Mission, from 1718, was originally intended to be a place of Christian education for local Native Americans. It later garrisoned both Mexican and Texan soldiers.
UTAH: FIELDING GARR RANCH
Location: Antelope Island
Mormon pioneer Fielding Garr, a widower with nine children, established this ranch on Antelope Island in 1848. Garr was sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to live on Antelope Island and manage cattle and sheep. The property continued to be a Garr family home until the 1980s.
VERMONT: WILLIAM HARRIS HOUSE
Also known as the Joseph Caruso house, this home was built in 1768 by William Harris, one of the first settlers in the town of Brattleboro. Listed on the National Register, the William Harris House is known for its gabled roof, large central chimney, clapboard siding, and stone foundation. The center-chimney Cape-style home plan is particularly rare in Vermont, where most housing was built after the transition to smaller fireplaces and wood stoves. Others argue that the Mooar-Wright House in Pownal, which is thought to have been built around 1850, is the state's oldest.
VIRGINIA: JAMESTOWN CHURCH
The Jamestown Church is one of the oldest surviving building remnants constructed by the Europeans in the original 13 colonies. Though it has been amended or rebuilt six times, the tower dates back to 1639. The nave was reconstructed in 1906. The church is now part of the Jamestown National Historic Site.
WASHINGTON: FORT NISQUALLY GRANARY
The historically significant granary is one of the few surviving Hudson's Bay Company structures in the United States and is also a rare remaining example of post-on-sill timber construction in the country. Records show that the granary's construction took place between July 1850 and January 1851.
WEST VIRGINIA: ASPEN HALL
A Georgian-style stone house that was once part of a fortified complex, Aspen Hall (also known as the Edward Beeson House,) was constructed beginning in 1745. The first portion of the house was a 20-by-20-foot fortified stone home that was 2½ stories tall. During the Civil War, the building was used as a hospital and was recently a bed and breakfast, which has apparently since closed.
WISCONSIN: WAKELY HOME
The Wakely Home is known for its classic wooden-frame symmetrical construction. Built in 1842 for a family of pioneers who came from New York and were in the lumber business, the entire Greek Revival style house has been restored to its original condition.
WYOMING: OLD BEDLAM HOUSE
Location: Fort Laramie
Once an important fur trading post, Fort Laramie sits at one of the best crossing points on the Oregon Trail and is now preserved by the National Park Service. The Old Bedlam building was constructed in 1849 and was originally designed to be bachelor officers' quarters.