A History of the Old House

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The Old House, the rambling farmhouse that sits in a corner of Appleton Farms, was originally built c. 1784 by Samuel Appleton, a fifth generation Appleton. It is believed that Samuel built the Old House on the site of the homestead of his grandfather, Isaac Appleton.

Over the years, succeeding generations of the Appleton family altered the original late Georgian/early Federal character of the house, incorporating elements of a then-contemporary 19th-century rambling Victorian farmhouse.

In 1862 until his death in 1904, Daniel Fuller Appleton made major changes to the Old House, which served as his summer residence. He removed the center chimney and added two new chimneys, in addition to the rear ell (demolished in November 2009), the west wing, the bay windows on the east side, and the large attic dormers (removed in January 2010).

In 1935, Daniel’s grandson, Colonel Francis Randall Appleton, Jr., married Joan Egleston and lived in the house until his death in 1974. Mrs. Joan Appleton continued to live in the house until the early 1990s, when she moved into a smaller dwelling on the western side of the farm.

When The Trustees of Reservations assumed management responsibility of the farm in late 1998, deferred maintenance of the Old House resulted in its gradual deterioration. Today, the Old House is getting a new lease on life through a green renovation that, when finished, will make the 200-year-old house the center of activity on the farm once again.