oldest buildings in the USA
Wikimedia Commons

You may think your pre-war building is looking a little worse for wear these days, but it's a fresh-faced youngster compared to some of this country's oldest standing structures. And since respecting those who've come before us is the stand-up thing to do, we've rounded up America's architectural elders state by state. Of course, due to some record-keeping discrepancies there's no doubt some of these might be a bit... disputable. With that in mind, we'll see you in the comments section!

WIkimedia Commons

Alabama

Jude Crutcher House
Where: Huntsville
Built: 1812
Some part-time historians question whether this, or Ardmore's Joel Eddins House, is actually the oldest, though there's no arguing that sweet Jude has most certainly aged more gracefully. [See more...]

AlaskaChalet.blogspot.com

Alaska

Erksine House
Where: Kodiak
Built: 1808
The oldest of four surviving buildings constructed by the Russians back when Alaska was its territory, it now houses the Baranov Museum, which focuses primarily on the history of Kodiak, the Aleutian Islands, and fending off bears, probably. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Arizona

Mission San Xavier del Bac
Where:
Tucson
Built: Between 1783 and 1797
This Catholic mission was first founded in 1692 and looks straight out of a Three Amigos set tour. It's widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in America and remains a pilgrimage site, attracting nearly a quarter million visitors every year. [See more...]
 

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas

Arkansas

Wolf House
Where: Norfolk
Built: 1829
This two-story dogtrot-style log cabin was the first permanent courthouse for Izard County, and is the building from which American legend Sam Houston's brother served as county clerk. When court was in session, families from all around would reportedly camp on the courthouse grounds to socialize and play games, presumably oblivious to the fact that having to go to court totally sucks. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

California

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Where: San Juan Capistrano
Built: 1782
The mission is home to the Serra chapel, which continues to serve regular Sunday mass, and is the State's oldest building still in use. Its residents also clearly had their priorities in order early on, having built the state's first winery on the grounds back in the late 1700s. [See more...]

SLVHeritage.com

Colorado

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Where: Antonito
Built: 1856
Colorado was an admittedly difficult state to find its oldest structure still standing, but after thousands of seconds spent on Google, we’re more than half certain it’s this really, really old church. There isn't much of a tale here, it's just your everyday kinda creepy, kinda cool church. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut

Henry Whitfield house
Where: Guilford
Built: 1639
The oldest stone colonial house in America looks pretty damn good for nearly 400 years old. It was primarily constructed to be the home of the Puritan minister for whom its named, but doubled as a fort to protect the town's residents from attacks. [See more...]

MeanderingInMyRV.blogspot.com

Delaware

Ryves Holt House
Where:
Lewes
Built: 1665
Named for the first chief justice of Sussex County, this stately spot in "the first town in the first state" was one of the first inns in the region, and is most definitely the first place I'd stop and to snap a selfie in front of if I ever happened to be in Delaware. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Florida

Castillo de San Marcos
Where: St. Augustine
Built: 1672
The oldest masonry fort in the States, it was built back when Florida was a part of the Spanish empire. Under US control, it served several purposes, the least awesome of which was as a military prison to incarcerate members of various Native American tribes. [See more...]

Tiger.Towson.edu

Georgia

Herb House at The Pirates' House
Where: Savannah
Built: 1734
Having served as an inn popular with sailors, this place was known to host a rowdy and sketchy crowd and was generally avoided by the public. In fact, legend has it that captains in need of a crew would occasionally stop by to abduct drunken sailors, as one does. These days, though, it's one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii

Lyman House Memorial Museum
Where:
Hilo
Built: 1838
Before it was converted into a museum in 1931, this place was home to a couple of Christian missionaries—who opted to have it built in the style of those in their native New England—and visited by luminaries of the era including Mark Twain and Isabella Bird. [See more...]

TreasuredTrivia.blogpost.com

Idaho

Mission Of The Sacred Heart
Where: Cataldo
Built: 1852
The oldest standing mission in the Pacific Northwest, this well-kempt ornate structure was amazingly constructed using the wattle and daub method, and finished in over the course of three years without using a single nail. It was a popular pit stop for traders, settlers, miners headed west, and your Mom. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Illinois

Fort de Chartres
Where: Prairie du Rocher
Built: 1720
This somewhat intricate A-frame functioned as a French fortification's powder magazine. That is not a 300-year-old old publication dedicated to ski and snowboard culture. It's a venue in which to safely store barrels upon barrels of extremely explosive gunpowder. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Indiana

Indiana Territorial Capitol
Where: Vincennes
Built: 1805
Set in the state's oldest city, this building was once the center of government for the Indiana Territory until 1813, and is considered the oldest major government building in the entire Midwest. Leslie Knope almost certainly has an oil painting of this place prominently displayed in her home. [See more...]

Dubuque-Tour.tripod.com

Iowa

Louis Arriandeaux Log House
Where: Dubuque
Built: 1833
While it looks old as dirt, this place has been masterfully restored. It even survived two moves from its original foundation to where it sits now, on the grounds of the historic Mathias Ham House. [See more...]

KeepCalmAndHaveACosmo.blogspot.com

Kansas

The Rookery
Where: Leavenworth
Built: Between 1832 and 1834
On the grounds of the oldest active US Army post west of Washington D.C., this boarding house-style compound functioned as the living quarters for unmarried officers, and for a brief time was also home to Kansas Territory governor Andrew Reeder. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky

Croghan Mansion
Where: Louisville
Built: 1790
This Georgian mansion sits on a spacious 55-acre plot and is notable for having been used as a gathering place for US presidents. It's also the last remaining structure still in existence west of the Appalachian Mountains to have sheltered Louis and Clark. So it's got that going for it, which is nice. [See more...]

Library of Congress

Louisiana

Old Ursuline Convent
Where: New Orleans
Built: 1752
In a town known for its old-as-hell French buildings, the standout oldest specimen has been declared by the National Park Service to be "the finest surviving example of French colonial public architecture in the country," and frankly I'm not at all qualified to disagree. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Maine

McIntire Garrison House
Where: York
Built: 1707
This extremely well-preserved garrison house was built by settlers for defense against Native Americans. The second floor extends just slightly past the first, and there's a trapdoor on the backside, which would have been used as an escape, or more horrifyingly, to pour boiling hot water down onto would-be attackers. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Maryland

The Third Haven Meeting House
Where: Easton
Built: Between 1682 and 1684
Considered the oldest surviving meeting house of the Religious Society of Friends (a.k.a. the Quakers), this little building still maintains a healthy congregation who meet there on Wednesdays and Sundays to presumably discuss their ever-expanding oats empire. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts

Fairbanks House
Where: Dedham
Built: Between 1637 and 1641
The oldest surviving timber frame house in North America, this structure was originally constructed as a farm house for the settler Jonathan Fairebanke and his wife. It was occupied and passed down through eight subsequent generations of the family until the early 20th Century and has since been converted into a historic house museum. [See more...]

Flickr/NorthGuide

Michigan

Officers Stone Quarters at Fort Mackinac
Where: Mackinac Island
Built: 1782
Set on a former military outpost, this well-preserved structure used to house officers, but has made quite the about-face (not sorry) and now is better known as a popular place for tourists to stop in for afternoon tea. [See more...]

Flickr/army.arch

Minnesota

The Round Tower at Fort Snelling
Where: St. Paul
Built: 1820
Having once functioned as a defensive post at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, it's since led some interesting second, third, and fourth lives as a museum, apartments, and...a beauty shop. You'll be shocked to learn that last one somehow didn't stick. [See more...]

Misspreservation.com

Mississippi

Pointe-Krebs House
Where: Pascagoula
Built: Between 1772 and 1780
The cozy three-room structure was originally fashioned with thick walls of using oyster shell concrete, which combined a unique blend of fibrous materials with animal bones and remnants of Native American pottery. Call us crazy, but that sounds like the perfect recipe for a haunting. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Missouri

Louis Bolduc House Museum
Where: Ste. Genevieve
Built: 1785
This could very well be contested. Missouri is one of those states that likely didn’t document housing records until the early 1970s, so there’s no way to tell what the oldest structure is. However, take a long hard gander at this twig fort that looks like a cardboard box and it seems like a clear winner. [See more...]

VirtualMontana.com

Montana

Blockhouse at Fort Benton
Where: Fort Benton
Built: ~1840
This intimidating structure stands as a monument to the old-school fur-trading days, when the area was occupied only by tribesman and brave souls who dared explore the wilderness. Today, it's on full display for visitors, complete with period tools, pelts, and blankets. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska

Log Cabin
Where: Bellevue
Built: 1835
Built by a trapper in the flood plains, it was moved to its present location in 1850, and was occupied by just three families between 1856 and 1950. Today, it has been restored to near-original conditions and serves as a memorial to the pioneer lifestyle. What up, austerity. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Nevada

Old Mormon Fort
Where: Las Vegas
Built: 1855
On a site just east of modern-day Las Vegas boulevard, this adobe-walled structure inside the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park was never home to any military troops, but rather provided defense for local Mormon settlers against attack from Native Americans. Who knew they were the least of the Mormons' problems next to the rampant gambling, boozing, and legal prostituting that would later define the area. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire

Richard Jackson House
Where: Portsmouth
Built: 1664
Now a museum, this outrageously old wood-framed abode was built by...you guessed it: Richard Jackson. Not much is known about him other than that he was a woodworker, farmer, and mariner. Richard Jackson was what most hipsters only aspire to become. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey

C.A. Nothnagle Log House
Where: Gibbstown
Built: Between 1638 and 1643
Built by Finnish settlers before nearby modern-day Philadelphia was much more than a twinkle in America's eye, this still-standing log house is one of the last surviving in the States. It's believed that the bricks that were used to build its fireplace were actually used as the ballast for whichever ship they made the journey over from Europe in. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico

Taos Pueblo
Where: Taos
Built: Sometime between 1000 and 1450 CE
Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the US, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a multi-storied adobe residential complex belonging to the Tewa-speaking Native American tribe of the Puebloan people. Today, it's attached to a 95,000 acre reservation, and about 4,500 people live in the area. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

New York

The Old House
Where: Cutchogue
Built: 1649
Like several others on this list, the aptly named Old House was originally built on one plot of land, then moved and reconstructed in a different location decades later. It's been considered a one of the "most distinguished" examples of English domestic architecture America and for a time home to Loyalist politician Parker Wickham, until he was banished from the state of New York under the threat of death. Worst. Eviction Notice. Ever. [See more...]

WIkimedia Commons

North Carolina

Lane House
Where: Edenton
Built: Between 1718 and 1719
This house wasn't discovered to be the oldest in the state until its current owners decided to renovate. As they were working on it, contractors discovered older hand-hewn beams behind the walls, which revealed that the modest two-story property was much, much older than originally thought. Reason #567 major home construction projects should be handled by the pros. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota

Kittson Trading Post
Where: Walhalla
Built: 1843
Inside the Walhalla State Historical Park, this little hut was built by Norman Kittson, who worked as an agent for the American Fur Company. In its heyday, the company was one of the largest and wealthiest in the country (people love that fur!), and made its founder John Jacob Astor the richest man in the world.

Wikimedia Commons

Ohio

Ohio Company Land Office
Where: Marietta
Built: 1788
This nondescript cabin was one of the field offices for the Ohio Company, which is credited with being the first non-Native American group to settle in the newly formed state of Ohio. It was later moved from its original location to a more secure spot within the protection area by the awesomely named Campus Martius, the area's defensive fort. [See more...]

LocalWiki.org

Oklahoma

Owen Park House
Where: Tulsa
Built: 1880s
Yet another structure that was moved from its original foundation, this less-than-magnificent still-standing cabin was home to the Methodist minister Sylvester Morris, who went on to develop many of the areas first homes. [See more...]

OutdoorProject.com

Oregon

The Manson Barn
Were: Donald
Built: 1862
Built by a Scot by the name of Donald Manson after much of his land—including an even older barn—was devastated by flood, this barn sits well out of threats from rising waters, save for some Day After Tomorrow-level scenario. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania

Lower Swedish Capin
Where: Drexel Hill
Built: Between 1640 and 1650
Originally erected by Swedish immigrants, this crazy-old fairytale-esque cabin served as the backdrop for several of film pioneer Siegmund Lubin's movies in the early 1900s,. After becoming property of the local township, it endured some serious neglect and vandalism for decades, and wasn't restored until the late '80s. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island

Stephen Northup House
Where: North Kingstown
Built: 1660
A British emigre, Stephen Northup served as the Town Sergeant of Providence, whose role traditionally was to serve as "macebearer, bailiff, and gaoler," or more general terms, "the enforcer/guy you don't want to f**k with." [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina

Middleburg Plantation
Where: Huger
Built: 1699
It's a miracle this place has survived as long as it has. During the Revolutionary War, battles surrounded the area and British Colonel Banastre Tarleton ordered it to be burned. It was ultimately spared, although a significant gash from the angered Colonel's saber remains in one of the front columns. 

VirtualTourist.com

South Dakota

Ft. Sisseton
Where: Lake City
Built: 1864
Named after the Sisseton Indian Tribe, this fort was originally an outpost of Fort Wadsworth. It was constructed because it provided a strong natural defense, an ample supply of lime and clay for making bricks, and an abundance of lake water for drinking. Also, nothing interesting ever happened here. People just made bricks and drank lake water. Whatta Fort! [See more...]

PastInThePresent.blogspot.com

Tennessee

The Carter Mansion
Where: Elizabethton
Built: Between 1175 and 1780
After Daniel Boone forged the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap in 1775, an opportunistic fellow by the name of John Carter (not the same one who woke up on Mars) was all like “Great, thanks!” and went and built a house at the end of it, on land he bought from the Cherokees. It was the first framed house built in the Appalachians and is most definitely haunted. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Texas

The Alamo
Where: San Antonio
Built: 1724
It’s the one place Texans won’t let you forget. And for good reason. Aside from serving as the first documented hospital in Spanish Texas, it’s also the place of a gruesome battle where approximately 220 Texans tried to defend the church against approximately 1,800 Mexican soldiers. All the Texan fighters all perished in battle, but not without inflicting around 600 casualties to the Mexican Army. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination and the subject of a press release from former District Attorney Susan Reed titled “Don’t Whizz on the Alamo”. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Utah

Benson Grist Mill
Where: Stansbury Park
Built: 1851
Technically there are older structures in Utah, but they’re ancient Pueblo ruins and no longer in tact. With that said, Benson Grist Mill takes the cake as the oldest building and total yawn-fest. Nothing really great ever happened here and the most notable fact is that it “was noted for its honesty and integrity”. It’s the freakin' Abraham Lincoln of gristmills! [See more...]

Flickr/Jimmy Emerson

Vermont

Mooar-Wright House
Where: Pownal
Built: 1750s
The story behind this home is either completely awesome or totally uneventful. One possible scenario is that it was built by John Defoe, a British Tory who was imprisoned in 1776, escaped to go fight with the Brits at the Battle of Bennington, was re-captured, escaped again, and then went to Canada to finally chill out. That, or it was constructed by some guy named Charles Wright in 1765 who probably had hobbies like knitting and bird watching. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Virginia

Bacon’s Castle
Where: Surry County
Built: 1665
Originally built as a family establishment, the house was later seized and fortified by followers of Nathaniel Bacon who missed a golden opportunity to call themselves “The Baconaters”. Bacon himself never lived here, or visited, but did succeed in burning Jamestown to the ground in 1676. Nathan severely lacked chill. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

Washington

The American and British Camps on San Juan Island
Where: San Juan Island
Built: 1859
These camps were constructed after a border dispute triggered by a pig shooting. The details are murky, but here goes: Lyman Cutlar had a few pigs he allowed to roam around freely. This was problematic for Charles Griffin, who grew tubers. One day, a pig of Cutlar’s ate Griffin’s tubers, and when the British threatened to arrest Cutlar, he radioed the American military for help. When it was all said and done, there were 461 Americans on the island opposing five British warships carrying 2,140 men. Cutlar and Griffin are long gone, but the camps remain to remind us all of how impossibly hilarious history can be. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia

Maidstone on the Potomac
Where: Falling Waters
Built: 1741
Hey West Virginia, get your sh*t together. This isn’t the absolute oldest structure, but no one in West Virginia has ever taken a photograph of The Hermitage in Charles Town, so guess what? This burnt out depleted structure wins the honor. I really wanted WV to have The Hermitage, but apparently old stone cottages just kind of suck. [See more...]

Wisconsin Rapid Tribune

Wisconsin

Wakely Home
Where: Nekoosa
Built: 1842
A lovely couple named Robert and Mary Wakely decided to sell their NY farm and take a keelboat up the Wisconsin River to build this pretty standard home. That’s where the story ends. Moving on… [See more...]

BestRoadTripEver.com

Wyoming

Fossil Cabin
Where: Medicine Bow
Built: 1933
Although this wasn’t the earliest structure in Wyoming to be built, it’s technically the oldest in the world. The entire cabin was constructed out of 5,796 dinosaur bones by Thomas Boylan and his son. It was once featured on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, where everyone believed it immediately, as it wasn't that outrageous of a tale. [See more...]

Wikimedia Commons

BONUS: Washington, D.C.

Old Stone House
Where: Georgetown
Built: 1765
Honestly, this house should probably have been destroyed. You see, everyone thought newly-appointed president and all around badass George Washington and his pal John Suter Jr. would meet here to discuss the future of America. In fact, they met down the street at Suter’s Tavern. When everyone found out the truth, it was too late and this old stone house already concreted a rock solid place in American history. [See more...]


Joe McGauley and Alex Robinson are aspiring historical tour guides, and editors for Supercompressor. 

Clickbait

close

Learn More