Located at 215 East De Vargas street, half a block off Old Santa Fe Trail is a beautiful little building that “supposedly” is the Oldest House in the United States. I say supposedly for two reasons. One is that the houses’ official title is: “The Oldest House in the United States…built by a European”. And two, because the house was allegedly built sometime between 1200 and 1646.
Yes, you read that correctly…1200-1646. So this place was either built in 1200 or four-hundred and forty-six years later. You know, give or take a century.
In any case, the house — which currently is home to a crafts store that was NEVER opened when I was awake — is still really cool looking. And unlike the “miraculous” staircase at the Loretto Chapel, you can touch this adobe building all you want…so, touch we did!
Although I must say that all the adobe fondling in the world could not help us pinpoint the exact date the house was built…and even though I was tempted to break a piece of the wall off for some carbon dating of my own, Ginger wisely persuaded me not to. But if you ask me, this is one title just waiting to be scooped up by someone else.
Speaking of…apparently there is another Oldest House in the United States (also built by Europeans, the Spanish) in St. Augustine, Florida. Located on St. Francis street, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House was supposedly built in 1564 and then rebuilt after the English burnt it down in 1702.
Having spent many a summer in beautiful St. Augustine as a kid visiting my Mom and Courtney, I imagine we probably saw that house at some point too. But after visiting the website to refresh my memory of what it looked like, I gotta say that even their claim on the Oldest House title seems a bit shady to me. I mean, that place looks new as shit…
So, until further evidence presents itself to the contrary…I’m gonna stick with the Oldest House in Santa Fe. It didn’t feel like it could topple over at any minute or anything, but at least it looked the part.
4 responses to “The Oldest House in the U.S.”
Santa Fe is the second oldest permanent settlement of the spanish colonies, so it is possible that it has the oldest house in the U.S. (european division), but I would be more apt to go with the St. Augustine house. Santa Fe did not even begin to be settled for several decades after the founding of St. Augustine. Of course, when a house is burnt to the ground there are some definite issues of ‘permanence’ that need to be dealt with.
Thanks for the shout out in your last entry. I am glad I discovered your blog–it always makes for a good read.
Good point about St. Augustine, but yeah, that whole burning to the ground thing is kind of a deal breaker in my book too.
Happy to shout you out whenever I can, love reading your blog as well. My wife is on a mission to find some shrimp and grits again after reading your post on the subject! Ha…
Criminey! How can anyone even pretend to claim to have the oldest house in the USA? Set your sights a little lower, like “oldest house in Santa Fe,” or “oldest house on Tom & Christine’s street.”
But I do have a photo of what is credibly dubbed the oldest house in Los Angeles, the Avila Adobe, which was built in the much more modest year of 1818.
I am surprised it did not get converted into a Starbucks or McDonalds.