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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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:
- Oldest building in New Mexico: Taos Pablo in Taos, New Mexico (1000-1450)
- Oldest building in Colorado: Mesa Verde Cliff Palace in Montezuma County, Colorado (1190)
- Oldest building in Iowa: West Oak Forest Earthlodge Site in Glenwood, Iowa (1250-1400)
- Oldest building in New Jersey: Nothnagle Log House in Gibbstown, New Jersey (1638)
- Oldest building in Virginia: Jamestown Church in Jamestown, Virginia (1639)
- Oldest building in Connecticut: Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, Connecticut (1639)
- Oldest building in Massachusetts: Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts (1640)
- Oldest building in Pennsylvania: Lower Swedish Cabin in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (1650)
- Oldest building in New York: Wyckoff House in Brooklyn, New York (1652)
- 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
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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