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Luxury

It's Rude to Ask the Age of the Oldest U.S. Home for Sale (but We Did)

  • Thomas-Lincoln-House-1-993b9ca0cb8e7510VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    The home's historic features include the original fireplaces and King's wood beams.

  • Thomas-Lincoln-House-2-e14768163862-993b9ca0cb8e7510VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    The oldest listing in America is 126 years older than America itself.

  • Thomas-Lincoln-House-3-993b9ca0cb8e7510VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____

    The upstairs bedroom is part of the original 1650 house.

Built in 1650, the Thomas Lincoln House in Hingham, MA, isn't just older than the United States -- it's also the oldest home currently for sale in the entire country.

This old house has seen Massachusetts declare independence from England twice (1652 and 1776) and was over a century old when rebels, just a few miles to the south, in Boston, decided to throw a tea party in the harbor.

Moving through history

To be clear, the whole house isn't three centuries old -- it had an addition in the early 1700s. Nor has it stood in the same spot for over three centuries -- it was moved from its original plot of land.

In the winter of 1735, when the nearby marshes froze over, the entire house was dragged across the ice to reach its current address on Mars Hill. Its new hillside location allowed the Lincoln family to expand the home by adding a first floor underneath the original structure.

"Walking through the home is like stepping back in time to witness the Colonial architecture from 1650 through the 1700s," said listing agent Rosemary Sullivan. "You can really see the different details on the first and second floors."

The house is currently being sold as is for $429,900, and the lucky buyers won't just walk away with four bedrooms, two baths, and 2,357 square feet. They'll have a piece of history -- with five fireplaces and Colonial period details, including original wood floors and crown molding. Even the exposed beams are from the Colonial period, as Sullivan explained.

"The bigger, older trees were called the king's wood. They were supposed to be sent back to England, but the colonists used them in their homes anyway."

Advice on historic homes

While this is the oldest home Sullivan has ever listed, she's no stranger to antique homes. She's also listing a home built in 1751 in Hingham and a Victorian in nearby Cohasset that is a downright youthful 116 years old. Her advice for buyers interested in historic homes?

"There are always renovations to be done," she says. "You'll need a home inspector that specializes in antiques. They know what to look for, the foundations and other signs."

Who does Sullivan hope to see as the next owner of this historic property? "An antique lover, a buyer who understands that this isn't an open floor plan. It would be a shame to tear down these hand-hewn beams." So, if you're a Puritan about keeping the home's historical integrity but have a kingly sum to sink into this property, then this may be the home for you.

The Lincoln family

And, yes, this house is connected to Abraham Lincoln. Though President Lincoln wasn't able to confirm the connection in his lifetime, sources show his ancestor Samuel Lincoln left England and landed in Hingham, where his brother Thomas Lincoln was established. This house, which belonged to Thomas, stayed in the Lincoln family until 1939.

The house's connection to Abraham Lincoln doesn't end there, either. According to documents from the Hingham Historical Commission, Captain Barnabas Lincoln inherited the property in 1792.

His 30-year maritime career ended far from the waters of Massachusetts Bay, when his ship was captured near Cuba … by pirates.

The harrowing ordeal didn't deter his descendant (and eventual owner of Thomas Lincoln House) Tinsmith Charles Stewart from pursuing a distinguished naval career during the Civil War, serving under his commander-in-chief and distant cousin, Honest Abe.