The First Floor General Layout The Second Floor

An herb-bordered path leads from the gateway to the stone steps and nail-studded oak door where tall visitors may have to stoop to enter the tiny hall. A steep narrow stairway rises abruptly, and to the right is the largest room, called 'the Hall'.

The heavy timbers the house are seen in 'the Hall', the upright gunstock posts of oak and the summer beam and floor joists of jack pine. There is a tradition that these timbers once were a part of the Pilgrim Fort built on the hill above the first street and dismantled at the conclusion of the King Philip's War in 1676 when the danger of attack by Indians was considered over. William Harlow is believed to have acquired the timbers at that time and the splicing of the beams in the next room supports the tradition that these timbers were used before.

The brick fireplace is large enough to burn huge logs and has an oven built into the back. It is spanned by a great wooden lintel. The chairs, chests, settle, hutch table, spinning wheels and other furnishings date from the 17th century. The walls plastered with clay and straw, reproduce an English technique often followed in early New England.

There are three other rooms on the ground floor. A smaller fireplace and another oven are in the room beyond 'the Hall'; a large old hand loom exhibited is still used to weave homespun cloth. A bedroom and a buttery, or pantry, open off this room, as does the scullery - a narrow room whose inner wall is formed by the back of the central chimney, Herbs are hung in the scullery, and the cheese press is still operable. In a corner is a shallow round sandstone sink with a spout that drains through a shuttered outlet into the yard. It may have come from Holland on the Mayflower; at any rate, that is the tradition handed down to us. It is of Dutch type and tooled from a large sandstone not found in Plymouth, nor is it typically English as sinks were rare in the 17th century.

At the top of the narrow stairs in the entrance hall is a landing with steps to the left and right. Each of these leads to a bedroom with a brick fireplace, and under the eaves are four small low rooms that provided storage space or extra sleeping quarters. The corded beds of the time have both feather and cornhusk mattresses.

In the yard behind the house is a corn patch, a well, and an herb garden, usual in Pilgrim yards. Here an old wood shed served the museum for over forty years as a workshop, classroom, kitchen, and tool shed. The interior of the shed was remodeled in 1967 to provide a modern kitchen and dressing room, and a new building was constructed for the workshop and classroom. These additional conveniences offer a greater scope for the many activities of the Harlow Old Fort House Museum and opens possibilities for new projects in the future.

Story of The Harlow Old Fort House Calendar Events Directions Contact Related Links

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