A Cape Cod Antique House Restoration

Antique House Restoration

Antique House Restoration at 40 Main Street, Falmouth, Cape Cod

Antique House Restoration
Antique House Restoration

One of the many reasons why Bill and I became innkeepers is that we both enjoy collecting and restoring antiques. We wanted a home where we could display and share our collections and family heirlooms with others.  The Palmer House Inn is that dream come true. When Michael Jay, also a lover of period architecture, purchased number forty Main Street in Falmouth last spring, we took notice. This old house overlooks the Village Green and is about half a block from our antique bed and breakfast.

Since its construction in 1804, the house has been one of Falmouth’s gems. Most recently it has been known as the Tripp House, named for Dr. Edwin P. Tripp Jr. the Falmouth physician who moved there in 1941. While the doctor was living there the house also served as his medical office. Dr. Tripp retired in 1981. The house’s first inhabitant was Braddock Dimmock, who was the son of General Joseph Dimmock (known for standing up to the British during the War of 1812), a deacon at the nearby Congregational church and a member of the militia. It is said that he built the house because he wanted to live in close proximity to both the church and the Village Green,which served as the militia’s training ground.

Antique Brick Fireplace
Antique Brick Fireplace
Detailed Hardwood Floor
Detailed Hardwood Floor

In recent years the lovely house had fallen into disrepair. At this time Mr Jay’s contractors have almost completely gutted the house and the adjacent carriage house. He plans to make it into four condominium units, divided equally between the two structures. Each condominium will have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and dining room. Each one will measure roughly 1,600 square feet. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2013.

Antique Fireplace and Fan Fireplace Guard
Antique Fireplace and Fan Fireplace Guard

As one walks through the house, its historic details can be seen in the beams, framing wood and fireplaces. When the house was built logs were cut in half and used to frame the house. The bark is still on those logs. All of the lead paint on the exterior is being removed and the shingles will be completely replaced. In the  attic the beams are held together by wooden pegs. One unexpected project was the porches. They were sitting on an unstable rock foundation and the wood was completely rotted. It was beyond repair. At this time the roofs of the porches are being supported by two by fours while the carpenters replace the windows and siding.

Antique Stained Glass Window
Antique Stained Glass Window

Originally, the house was constructed in the Federalist style, with a symmetrical appearance. In 1894 it was up-dated to look more like a Victorian. Several of the accompanying photos show details that were added at that time; the stained glass window, the peaked dormer, the charming  balusters, the paneled doors, the porches, also the beautiful inlay work in the flooring and of course the lovely white picket fence.

Antique Banister and Staircase
Antique Banister and Staircase

Along with its history, it is noted that the house is rumored to be haunted. In Dan Gordon and Gary Joseph’s book, “Cape Encounters“, Contemporary Cape Cod Ghost Stories, it is said,  “The specter of a stooped man in a flannel shirt walks the halls of number forty Main Street, Falmouth Cape Cod.”


While each of our rooms have their own antique charm, we suggest our Richard Henry Dana Room with nautical antiques, or the Edith Wharton Room located in the oldest section of the house and in the historic turret.

 

Hurricane Sandy on Cape Cod

Falmouth Harbor Hurricane Sandy
Falmouth Harbor Hurricane Sandy
Falmouth Harbor at 4pm, an hour before the height of Hurricane Sandy.

Fortunately Falmouth was not in the direct path of this monster storm. The height of the storm was at 5:00 PM on Monday. High wind gusts were measured at seventy-five miles per hour throughout Cape Cod.  Almost half of the homes and businesses in Falmouth lost electric power.

The Palmer House Inn was without electricity for almost twenty-four hours. Fortunately the temperatures were mild, so keeping warm was not a problem. We had flashlights and oil lamps to help us get through the night and we had a pleasant conversation about the chapters of our forty-five year marriage. We discussed the wonderful highs and the unpleasant lows and how we were able to weather the true storms by holding together and trusting in the Lord.  During the day, Bill was able to do some reading about the War of 1812 and Pat camped out with a cup of tea by the kitchen window and did some sewing on a Christmas gift for our granddaughter. The inn sustained only minor damage. We are glad that we have been keeping up with tree maintenance on the property. The charming weather-vane on the top of the turret was blown off and destroyed. Also, many small branches and lots of leaves were blown out of the trees. We had plenty of warning about this storm so we were able to remove the hanging  plants and secure the outside furniture. Now the clean-up begins.

Falmouth Harbor Beach in Storm
Falmouth Harbor Beach in Storm

The Shining Sea Bikeway at the Trunk River was heavily eroded and covered with debris from  the storm serge. The water in Falmouth Harbor rose level with the piers and waves crashed up into the Clam Shack restaurant. The channel leading to Little Pond is completely filled with sand. The docks at the Woods Hole Yacht Club were submerged under the high water of the storm. Serf Drive was covered with water and the sand had to be bulldozed back onto the beach on Tuesday. On Menauhant Road along the beach, sections of the sidewalk and seawall were dislodged. High water in the Childs River covered the docks at Bosun’s Boat Yard but no boats were damaged. The Landfall Restaurant weathered the storm quite well. There were signs that water had penetrated the floor, however, Jimmy and Donny had removed the furniture and fixtures and there is no doubt that they will be back in business on Thursday. The authorities have warned us to be cautious of very high tides during the next few cycles because the storm surge has not yet receded. All of this sounds very minor when one watches the television coverage of the devastation to our south.

We have to be thankful for small blessings. This storm arrived after the season was over. Last year’s hurricane Irene arrived on our shores in September, when we still had two months of the busy season left.  This year, all is well.

Falmouth Remembers September 11th

World Trade Center steel Memorial in Falmouth Cape Cod

This morning Falmouth firefighters and Scout troops honored those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on the  New York World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A ceremony was held at the Falmouth Fire and Rescue Station.

World Trade Center steel Memorial in Falmouth Cape Cod
Made from twisted steel from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. A memorial to the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Falmouth, MA

A monument was unveiled that was made from twisted steel from the Twin Towers.  A large crowd formed for the unveiling. The firefighters have been working for months to prepare the site. A new granite base was set into place and commemorative bricks were laid at its base in the shapes of the twin towers.

Two  granite columns stand to the side of the monument. Their shapes also represent the twin towers. On top of each is a bronze sculpture. The first is a bell, the second is a replica of a firefighter’s helmet. The grounds around the memorial are beautifully maintained. Firefighters have refinished two teak wood benches that face the monument. It is a fitting tribute to those brave Americans who run into the danger at their own peril.