The Swartz House was built circa 1898, and despite being over one hundred years old, is actually one of the newest homes constructed in the Rocks Village Historic District of Haverhill. This house is unique for its large murals inside, painted by muralist Rufus Porter, as well as its exterior appearance.
Backstory and Context
The house was not built to conform to any particular architectural style, but more likely was built to suit the needs and taste of those the house was being built for. With elements reminiscent of the Federal style, such as symmetry and simplicity, but no distinguishing features, it represents a vernacular style home as it does not fit into any particular architectural style but rather may represent a style unique to a particular region. In comparison to earlier homes in the village, the contrasts between the eras of construction can be observed in the slope of the roof, the appearance of the windows, and the overall mass of the house. This house is tall and skinny in appearance, and owing to this the ceiling heights are higher and the space in the attic is most likely accessible for something other than storage. The roof is gabled, front-facing, and steeply pitched.
In about 1810, a two story addition was made to the house, and it is now shaped like an “L.” The home is also unique due to the presence of murals painted by Rufus Porter, a well-known itinerant painter from the 19th century, which cover many of the walls within the house. These murals include a landscape and river scene spanning four walls in the foyer and stairwell. On the first level the windows are 12 over 12 bays, and on the second level the windows are 12 over 8. The centrally-located front door has a fanlight above, and pilasters on either side. The home has a low-pitched, side-gable shaped roof and two end position chimneys.
Krenzer, Samantha. Rocks Village Historic District Architectural Walking Tour. Haverhill, Massachusetts. Buttonwoods Museum.
Rocks Village in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Accessed June 9th 2020. http://www.rocksvillage.org/.
Rocks Village Historic District. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form. Published December 12th 1976.
Senter Digital Archive, Haverhill Public Library. Accessed June 9th 2020. https://haverhill.pastperfectonline.com/.