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The Oldest Building in Every U.S. State

While America was founded in 1776, there are many surviving buildings across the land that predate the Declaration of Independence. Each one has a captivating story to tell about American history, culture, technology, and values. Many of the oldest buildings in the U.S. have witnessed wars and may have even served as headquarters for generals or lodging for battle-weary soldiers. The team at Alan’s Factory Outlet is passionate about sturdy construction and American heritage, so we were thrilled to explore this topic. Without further ado, here is the oldest building in every state:

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Oldest Building in Every U.S. State

What Is the Oldest Building in the United States?

The oldest building in America is Taos Pablo in Taos, New Mexico, which is believed to have been built between 1000 and 1450. What is Taos Pueblo? Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo constructed by a Taos-speaking Native American tribe. A pueblo is a permanent structure, often residential, that is built from stone, adobe mud, and other natural materials in the area. Pueblo architecture features large multi-level buildings, continuous rooms, open-air plazas, and terraced design. Traditional pueblo design did not include doors, and each level of a structure was accessible by interior and exterior ladders.

Not only is Taos Pablo the oldest surviving structure in the United States, but it is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America. It is also the only living Native American community that has been designated both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos of New Mexico. It is rare that the residents will speak of their religious customs and beliefs to outsiders, and because their language has not been written down, much of their culture remains a mystery to outsiders.

What Is the Oldest House in the United States?

The oldest stone house in America is the Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, Connecticut, which was built in 1639 by minister Henry Whitfield. The oldest American house with a timber frame is the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts, which was constructed between 1637 and 1641 by Puritan settler Jonathan Fairbanks and his family. Many historians cite the latter home as the oldest home in America because its construction date has been confirmed by dendrochronology testing.

What Is the Oldest Log Cabin in the United States?

Not only is the Nothnagle Log House in Gibbstown, New Jersey, the oldest log cabin in America, but it’s also the oldest log cabin in the world! Constructed in 1638, the ample size for the time and the Nordic ironware found around the fireplace indicate that it may have been built by wealthy Scandinavian settlers.

What Is the Oldest Church in the United States?

The oldest church in the U.S. is the San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was built in 1610. It did not make the cut on our infographic because the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico it. However, the oldest church in continuous use did make the list: Old Trinity Church in Church Creek, Maryland, was built in 1675 to serve a small community of English settlers. Over the years, its condition and amount of use have ebbed and flowed, kept alive by a few dedicated folk. Despite wars, political shifts, and ecclesiastical change, it has had a congregation for three and a half centuries. The oldest church in the original 13 colonies also makes an appearance on our list; Jamestown Church in Jamestown, Virginia, was built in 1639. In fact, it is one of the oldest buildings in America that was erected by Europeans.

Here are the ten oldest American buildings that start this timeline:

  1. Oldest building in New Mexico: Taos Pablo in Taos, New Mexico (1000-1450)
  2. Oldest building in Colorado: Mesa Verde Cliff Palace in Montezuma County, Colorado (1190)
  3. Oldest building in Iowa: West Oak Forest Earthlodge Site in Glenwood, Iowa (1250-1400)
  4. Oldest building in New Jersey: Nothnagle Log House in Gibbstown, New Jersey (1638)
  5. Oldest building in Virginia: Jamestown Church in Jamestown, Virginia (1639)
  6. Oldest building in Connecticut: Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, Connecticut (1639)
  7. Oldest building in Massachusetts: Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts (1640)
  8. Oldest building in Pennsylvania: Lower Swedish Cabin in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (1650)
  9. Oldest building in New York: Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, New York (1652)
  10. Oldest building in New Hampshire: Richard Jackson House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1664)

Be sure to check out our metal buildings — who knows, someday, they might be among the oldest buildings in America!

Oldest Buildings in Every State

Building, Location, and DateDescription
Taos Pueblo   Taos, New Mexico   1000-1450Constructed by a Taos-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people, it is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in America (more than 1,000 years).
Mesa Verde Cliff Palace   Montezuma County, Colorado   1190  Largest cliff dwelling in America. Believed to be built by ancestral Puebloans, it once housed 100 people and may have had significant ceremonial value.
West Oak Forest Earthlodge Site   Glenwood, Indiana   1250-1400Discovered in 2009 by local archaeologist Dennis Miller, it is believed to have once been inhabited by an indigenous people known as the Glenwood culture.
Nothnagle Log House   Gibbstown, New Jersey   1638Oldest log cabin in America. The large size for its time and Nordic ironware around the fireplace indicated that the builders were wealthy Scandinavian settlers.
Jamestown Church   Jamestown, Virginia   1639Oldest church building in the original 13 colonies
Henry Whitfield House   Guilford, Connecticut   1639Oldest stone American colonial house. It served as a home for minister Henry Whitfield, Dorothy Shaeffe Whitfield, and their nine children. It also acted as a church, meeting house, and protective fort.
Fairbanks House   Dedham, Massachusetts   1640Oldest surviving timber frame house in North America that has been verified by dendrochronology testing
Lower Swedish Cabin   Upper Darby, Pennsylvania   1650One of the last cabins built by Swedish settlers that remain intact
Wyckoff House   Brooklyn, New York   1652Built by Dutch West India Company employee Wouter van Twiller on land he purchased from the local Lenape people
Richard Jackson House   Portsmouth, New Hampshire   1664Built by woodworker, farmer, and mariner Richard Jackson, it is noted for its English post-medieval style and elaborate use of wood.
Ryves Holt House   Lewes, Delaware   1665One of the few homes to survive Lord Baltimore’s raid in 1673, it was originally run as a tavern by Phillip Russell, who served as William Penn’s cupbearer.
White Horse Tavern   Newport, Rhode Island   1673America’s oldest tavern, it served as a meeting place for colonists, soldiers, pirates, and even Founding Fathers.
Old Trinity Church   Church Creek, Maryland   1675One of the oldest churches in continuous use in the United States 
Pink House   Charleston, South Carolina   1694-1712Rumored to have been a tavern with a brothel, it is built from distinctive pink Bermuda stone.
Castillo de San Marcos   St. Augustine, Florida   1695Oldest masonry fortification in America. It was constructed for defense when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.
McIntire Garrison House   York, Maine   1707Extremely rare, well-preserved colonial guard house built to protect from Native American and French attacks
The Alamo Mission   San Antonio, Texas   1718Built by Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries, it became the site of the legendary Battle of the Alamo
Lane House   Edenton, North Carolina   1719Residents Steve and Linda Lane discovered old timber borings while remodeling the house, which were confirmed through dendrochronology to be the oldest known in the state.
Fort de Chartres   Randolph County, Illinois   1720French fortification built to protect the Company of the West’s precious metal mining operation
Horton House   Jekyll Island, Georgia   1743Built by William Horton after he was granted Jekyll Island by the colony of Georgia
Aspen Hall   Martinsburg, West Virginia   1745Built by wealthy Quaker farmer Edward Beeson II in the Georgian style
Convent of the Ursulines   New Orleans, Louisiana   1753Built in the French neoclassical style, it was surrounded by herb gardens that aided nuns in feeding and treating orphans and soldiers. It is also the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley.
Old Spanish Fort   Pascagoula, Mississippi   1757Built by French Canadian Joseph Simon de la Pointe, it was constructed with longleaf pine and oyster-shell concrete.
William Harris House   Brattleboro, Vermont   1768Cape-style home built by William Harris, one of the first settlers of the frontier town
Carter Mansion   Elizabethton, Tennessee   1775Built for distinguished political and military leaders John and Landon Carter, it was the first house in Tennessee with glass windows.
Tank Cottage   Allouez, Wisconsin   1776Built by French Canadian fur trader Joseph Roi using the post-and-plank method
Mission San Juan Capistrano   San Juan Capistrano, California   1776Founded by Spanish Franciscans with the purpose of expanding Spain’s territory and spreading Christianity
Old Talbott Tavern   Bardstown, Kentucky   1779According to tradition, this tavern has never closed since opening. Built before the settlement of Salem (now Bardstown), it is the oldest western stagecoach stop in operation.
Officers’ Stone Quarters   Fort Mackinac, Michigan   1780Residence for officers at Fort Mackinac, which served as a British and then American military outpost
Louis Bolduc House   Ste. Geneviève, Missouri   1788Built by successful merchant and lead mine owner Louis Bolduc, it is an example of poteaux-sur-sol (“posts on sill”) construction  
Ohio Company Land Office   Marietta, Ohio   1791Office used by the Ohio Company to create the first maps of the territory and handle property transactions
Molalla Log House   Molalla, Oregon   1799Log cabin of unknown origin that’s unlike any other pioneer construction known in Oregon from that time period
Indiana Territorial Capitol   Vincennes, Indiana   1805Served as a legislative building for the Indiana Territory for 13 years
Erskine House   Kodiak, Alaska   1808Built as a storage facility by the Russian-American Company. Legend has it that it is haunted by the ghost of a worker who was murdered. The murder was never solved, but a skeleton and murder weapon were found in nearby woods.
Joel Eddins House   Huntsville, Alabama   1810Hall-and-parlor log cabin built by settler Joel Eddins
Ka Hale Lāʻau   Honolulu, Hawaii   1820Pre-cut wooden house shipped to Hawaii from Boston that housed missionaries for six decades
Fort Snelling Round Tower   Hennepin County, Minnesota   1820Defensive tower with musket slits both inside and outside the fort in case the enemy breached the walls
Woodruff Print Shop   Little Rock, Arkansas   1824Print shop built by William E. Woodruff, founder of the Arkansas Gazette, the first newspaper in Arkansas
The Rookery   Leavenworth, Kansas   1829Part of Fort Leavenworth, it initially served as a residence for commanders.
Bellevue Log Cabin   Bellevue, Nebraska   1835Originally served as a fur trapper’s home
Fort Gibson Barracks   Fort Gibson, Oklahoma   1840Built to protect the nation’s southwestern border and maintain peace on the frontier
Kittson Trading Post   Walhalla, North Dakota   1843Established by American Fur Company agent Norman Kittson to capitalize on the Red River Valley’s lucrative fur trade
Fort Nisqually Granary   Tacoma, Washington   1843One of the only surviving examples of a Hudson Bay Company “posts on sill” structure
Old Fort Benton Blockhouse   Fort Benton, Montana   1846Final outpost on the Upper Missouri fur-trading route
Fielding Garr Ranch   Antelope Island, Utah   1848Established by Mormon pioneers using adobe construction
Fort Laramie “Old Bedlam” Building   Torrington, Wyoming   1849Once a prominent trading post, it was taken over by the U.S. Army and turned into housing for bachelor military officers.
Cataldo Mission   Cataldo, Idaho   1853Built using the wattle and daub method without a single nail at the request of Flathead and Nez Perce Indians who were curious about Christianity
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort   Las Vegas, Nevada   1855Established by 32 Mormon missionaries led by William Bringhurst
Fort Sisseton   Britton, South Dakota   1864Built by Major General John Pope to protect settlers and surveyors

Sources:

National Park Service (nps.gov)

Daughters of the American Revolution (dar.org)

The Discoverer (thediscoverer.com)

Library of Congress (loc.gov)

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By Alan Bernau Jr

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