Marblehead, Massachusetts was founded in 1629 as a fishing operation.  "In 1660, in an official report to the English king, Marblehead was acclaimed as 'the greatest Towne for fishing in New England."  A vigorous shore-based industry of rope-makers, sail-makers, ship’s block-makers, carpenters, and others supported the fishing and shipping fleets from the mid-1600s through the mid-1800s." (Excerpts from VisitMarblehead.comToday, Marblehead has over 200 homes in "Old Town" dating before the Revolutionary War.




According to Google Maps, Marblehead is 19 miles from the Urban Cottage so I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never visited before.  For lovers of old houses and the ocean, Marblehead is like DisneyWorld.  I thought that it would be fun to pair these photos with my original preview photos.  But impeccably maintained antique homes, quaint shops, beautiful gardens combined with glimpses of the rocky coast and sea, make Marblehead more charming that pictures can show.


This preview photo belongs to...


The William Sandin house built in 1714.  It appears that you're looking at the house through some kind of fisheye lens, and I'm sure the house is somewhat warped after nearly 300 years, but upon closer inspection, the left one-third of the house turns at a slight angle.  Warping and all, I love this house.  

I wanted to point out the chimney.  In Cambridge, some of the pre-Revolutionary homes have chimneys painted white with a black band.  It's referred to as a "Torrey chimney" and legend has it that it was a secret message used to indicate the homeowner was loyal to the British crown.



This photo goes with...


...this beautiful house on Lookout Court.  This house has been beautifully restored and is presently for sale.


Look at this view from the back deck!  The listing can be found here and it's definitely worth a look.  They've modernized the house while maintaining the colonial feel.


Lookout Court, as you've seen, is a wonderful vantage point from which to see Marblehead harbor.  One of the homes is called "Lookout House" from which the local customs officer watched for cargo-laden ships to enter the harbor.  A system of flags on a pulley alerted the town that a ship was arrived and would soon need to be unloaded.

At the end of Lookout Court is a narrow public right-of-way that meanders along private backyards and between properties down to the water.  I wouldn't have known about the secret path but I learned of it from Marblehead Magazine's Walking Tour.  Without this inside information, I would have felt I was trespassing.   Down at the waters edge, it's only a short walk to Crocker Park which provides...


...these stunning views of the harbor.



I walk along the water for a while and back into town...



...where the indigo-colored Lafayette house sits on a steep hill at the corner of five streets.


There are various legends about the missing corner of the house including a visit from the Marquis de Lafayette whose carriage was too wide to get around the sharp ess curve and drunken carriage drivers delivering rum down to the waterfront taking out the corner of the house.  But another source explains that it was formerly the corner entrance to an olde shoppe.  Personally, I like the drunken carriage drivers story.



Right nearby...


...is this pottery studio.  I love this little building.




I also love the color combination...


...on this old house...


...with the neat wrought iron railing.


And immediately next door...


...is this handsome dark blue house with a door exactly like I was once looking for with bullseye glass in the top two panels.   Notice the gold cod over the door and the sign next to the door.  Almost every house has a gold cod, a gold or black whale or a gold shell at the front door.


These beautiful hand carved sculptures are available from the Arnould Gallery and Framery right in town...



...and the little signs give the name of the first owner of the home, their occupation and the date the house was built.  Isn't Tabitha Stevens the daughter from Bewitched?  I'll bet you didn't know she lived in Marblehead:)

So, that's the first part of the Marblehead tour.  Next time we'll visit the Old Burial Hill, trespass into someone's backyard for a gorgeous view of the harbor and Marblehead Neck and more great old houses.
 
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