Willis - Wilbur House

413 Spruce St

1716

Architectural Style

First Period

Significance

Agriculture, Architecture, Exploration Settlement

Use Type

Agricultural, Single Family Dwelling House

Neighborhood

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

Architecturally this venerable dwelling is of major significance as an early 18th century center hall plan salt box. It ranks among the earliest extant structures in Bridgewater. Its 5-bay main facade is symmetrically arranged around a multi panel front door. Its windows feature raised enframements and 12/12 wood sash. The side walls are two bays wide and exhibit the distinctive lean-to or salt box profile. In the center of the roof is a massive brick chimney. Original clapboards are said to be still intact on the rear of the house, shielded by the one story ell addition. Interesting interior features include raised panel fireplace walls, wainscoting, pineboard and bead molding wall sheathing, and an old bake oven. Also of interest on this property is a wood shingle covered barn of considerable age.

Historical Significance

Built c. 1716 this house is located in a wooded area on Spruce St., near the Bridgewater-Raynham line. Thomas Willis, grandson of John Willis, one of the original Bridgewater proprietors, was granted this land by his father, Benjamen Willis, in 1697. This house was probably built at the time of Thomas Willis' marriage to Mary Kingsley in 1716. The property passed to his son Zephaniah in 1759. He had married Bethia Hayward in 1754. Their only son Zephaniah, graduated from Harvard in 1778 and later served as a minister in Kingston, MA. The Willis homestead was sold to Gideon and George Wilbur in 1793. This house remained in the Wilbur family until c. 1875—at that time a Miss Sebra Wilbur lived here. During the late 19th—early 20th c. a J. Lock and a C.E. Locke are listed as its owners. Mr. and Mrs. William Kendall saved it from destruction in 1970.