Photo: Barry Chin / Boston Globe

I don’t know about you, but I am utterly fascinated by the past. Old, run-down buildings, vintage clothing, antiques, you name it – I get googly-eyed over it. I love pondering what the people were like who lived in the houses before, or who wore those clothes? Walked those halls? Played that piano?

So when a discovery is made like the recent “once in a lifetime find”, as the experts are calling it, of an 18th century craftsman’s shop, I become full of excitement and wonder. 18th century? That was over 200 years ago! Fascinating!

It was discovered in Duxbury on the site of a private school for children know as Berrybrook School.  The “National Historic Landmark status” shop is a 16-by-32-foot shed-like building that is currently being used for storage by the school, unbeknownst to the president of Berrybrook that a gem was lying just under their noses.

The shop, which is thought to possibly be “the earliest known joiner and cabinet maker’s shop on it’s site”, seems to be mostly undamaged and untouched. Judging by the findings inside, it appears to have been a Federalist craftsman’s workshop. All the benches are still in place. There’s an 18th century drill bit bracket. There’s a foot-powered lathe. There are racks upon racks spanning the walls that once held chisels, awls, and handsaws. There are even some old markings and sketches still on the walls. A painted sketch of a man standing with his back against a wall, one knee lifted, and a hand extended, stands as a faint reminder of the long hours that were spent crafting inside this astonishing time capsule.

0 thoughts on “18th Century Craftman’s Shop Discovered

  1. I am with you on that Krista, I always wonder what it would be like and what the average day was like for those people back then. I just wish there were more photos.


Cosplayer, writer, craftswoman at Ruby Fern, and co-founder of the non-profit The Geek Foundation. I love creativity and being a maker!

View more articles by Krista Peryer