Today in history, Washington D.C. got its name. Since we have already covered George Washington in our presidents' houses series, we will move on to our next in line: Franklin Pierce. Like several other presidents we have written about, he was born in a log cabin not reflective of his family's status. We are beginning to believe the log cabin of the 18th and 19th centuries in America was just the starter home (bungalow style) of the 20th century and today. Like the other presidents thus far, his family were colonists. His father was the Governor of New Hampshire, where the president was born. His grandfather was from Massachusetts, where his own great-grandfather had been one of the original English settlers and a sergeant/son of a captain. Before that, the family history is not documented as Pierce was a common name and they were likely a common family who achieved their success in the New World. It looks as though one of the uncles of the president may have been a weaver in Norwich, England for example. However the president's great-grandfather on the other side was Sir Richard Carew, a baron, who also was from Norwich and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Franklin Pierce homestead in New Hampshire was the childhood home of the president and the house we will look at today. The house was built in 1804, the year the president was born, on 200 acres by his father, the governor.
The house has a few outbuildings, including a gabled barn.
The first floor has 4 rooms and a center hall, typical of the 18th century. Though rooms were added, this is how my in-laws' early 1700s house is laid out as well. The interior walls were stenciled and you can still see some of the original work.
Above is an interior shot with original French wallpaper with an Italian scene. It is shown in further detail below. You can also see the center hall and over into the dining room in the photo.
Next are photos of the interior from another blog.
The house is decorated in period colors and with period pieces, some of which belonged to the Pierce family.
These images show the vivid colors and stenciling.
Above is the parents' bedroom and next is what appears to be a reupholstered version found on the New Hampshire National Parks blog.
We love the combination here of actual checker board with gingham and the blue and black.
Additional houses that Franklin Pierce owned are still in existence including the Pierce Manse, below.
This was the house he lived in before The White House. However there was another house he owned which does not stand today. It was an empire style house, different from these 2 colonial looking white houses.
It is sad to learn this house was not saved, but the Franklin Pierce Homestead makes up for it by remaining in the Pierce family until 1925 when it was donated to the state. We love seeing these beautifully restored early American houses and will share more of them coming up.