Editor’s note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual’s views, opinions or personal experiences.
Wow! This Rockport, Massachusetts home made of newspapers is still standing 100 years later.
It was built in 1922 by Cambridge, Massachusetts, resident and mechanical engineer Elis Stenman who, according to Roadtrippers, wanted to test the sturdiness of newspapers as a building material and see if how long we could still read words on the paper years later with running water and electricity.
Spoiler alert: Stenman’s experiment was successful, and you can see for yourself and tour the Paper House. It’s a unique, obscure outing without its own social media presence, but just a simple website if you want more information.
According to Roadtrippers, except for the traditional wood frame and roof, the walls, ceiling, and insulation are made entirely of varnished newspapers.
As a matter of fact, those walls are half an inch thick, which equals 215 newspapers stacked on top of one another. And the Paper House furnishings are all made of rolled newspapers, too.
Talk about going all out with this experiment. I’m talking tables, chairs, lamps desks, curtains, bookshelves, the fireplace and grandfather clock, all made of newspaper.
Stenman and his wife, Esther, used the stunning space as a summer getaway. The Paper House sits on the eastern tip of the Cape Ann Peninsula, so in 100 years of nor’easters, hurricanes, and other severe storms as well as scorching heat and harsh winters, this seaside home at 52 Pigeon Hill Street is safe and sound.
Actually, by the 1930s, the house was such a popular attraction that Elis and Esther bought a new summer home down the street. For just 10 cents, you could tour it.
The interior is basically the same since 1942, however, Roadtrippers says the exterior is treated annually with fresh varnish.
The Paper House is open daily for self-guided tours from 10-5 April through October.
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