Elisha Wheeler House Charlestown, MA, Circa 1790’s (modified)

The Elisha Wheeler House is a Federal style timber frame post and beam structure located on the north side of the historic Town Hill area of Charlestown.

The property had been extensively modified over the years, with much of the original interior detail lost over time. Despite the many modifications, enough interior detail was still intact to accurately replicate the original style. The interior boasts hand hewn beams, anvil dropped nails, an original staircase and second floor fireplace with pumpkin pine floors.

Outside, it was quite fortunate that much of the exterior detail was well preserved after years of encapsulation under aluminum siding. Sadly, in the installation process of the aluminum many years ago, molding that protruded outward was coldly cut flushto the surface, thus destroying it’s value and

requiring replication rather than restoration.

Bringing out the historic features of the house - both interior and exterior - required expertise and ingenuity. The owners contacted The Rockwood Joinery for help.

Scott McDowell began his work on the exterior, restoring the 19th Century oriel over the entrance way. He was able to preserve existing panels, trim and molding and when needed replicated matching pieces by hand.

Scott also painstakingly restored the original reeded arch over the entrance way, carefully removing old paint, which had hidden the sharpness of the lines, and repaired existing molding and trim near the front entrance.

At the owners request, Scott replaced a 1950’s exterior metallic door and poorly designed frame structure, with a functional and more architecturally compatible six panel door with sidelights.

Though originally the entrance would have been opened up, owner requirements for energy conservation and safety led Scott to work out a non-authentic but compatible solution.

Moving to the interior, Scott removed a 1980’s add-on staircase to the basement and restored a first floor pantry area, replicating existing period molding and trim to exact detail as was found at an adjacent doorway.

Scott then began renovation of the attic, removing the 1980’s materials and beginning with anew. Scott installed wide pine flooring acquired from a New Hampshire mill, installed period appropriate molding and trim, and repaired the original staircase.

Despite the many modifications, Scott was able to recreate the historic feel of the interior, using period appropriate materials and through applying his extensive knowledge and skills.