White-Ellery House

The White-Ellery House is an an outstanding example of First Period architecture located at the gateway to Cape Ann. The White-Ellery House was erected in 1710 upon what was then the Town Green of Gloucester. It was built at the edge of a marsh for Gloucester’s first settled minister, the Reverend John White (1677-1760). It is a 2 – story “saltbox” structure with a massive central chimney that once serviced six fireplaces. In keeping with White’s esteemed position in the community, the House exhibits a certain elegance and refinement, perhaps best reflected in the surviving interior details. In 1735, the house was purchased by James Stevens and kept as a tavern, sometimes serving as a meeting place for the town’s selectmen. In 1740, Captain William Ellery (1693-1771) took title to the property. Ellery, who was almost 50 years old, had just married for the second time and after keeping the tavern in operation for a few years, used the house as a home for his growing family. Today, visitors enter much the same house they would have 300 years ago. The White-Ellery House serves as a study property, inviting visitors to explore not only the history of early American architecture but also the story of an ordinary New England family who worked hard to provide for themselves and to raise their children, who took part in events of local and national importance, and who sought to preserve their legacy in the face of an ever changing world. The House also serves as a unique venue for art installations and related programming which are held at the site during the summer months.


247 Washington Street Gloucester, MA 1930

Driving Directions

Rt. 128 North to Grant Circle. Exit off Circle heading north towards Lanesville. House is on immediate right.

Notes & Advisories

The White-Ellery House is on the National Register of Historic Sites because of its unique construction and important interior features. The most important elements of the House include the following: Vertical plank frame construction; a framed overhang on the front façade; elaborate chamfering (decorative plane work) on ceiling beams, particularly on the first floor; three different examples of painted wall decoration; renaissance-inspired architectural features illustrating the transition from European building traditions to early American ones; very rare examples of raised-field paneled doors between rooms on the first floor; unusually elaborate bolection moldings around fireplaces; several examples of original clay plaster (with hair and eel grass), and skim coat of lime plaster; an integral lean-to roof (built at the same time as the rest of the structure); one of the most highly developed front staircases of the period in Eastern Massachusetts.


  • Historic Resources
  • Museums