Colonial homes come in many strands and variations. "Colonial house" may be used broadly to encompass homes built from the earliest European settlements until well after Independence. On one end of the spectrum are the rustic cabins with their informal colonial house plans, that grew up over time to become rambling, comfortable farmsteads. On the other end are the grand brick Colonial home plans such as Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. Whether colonial homes are built of white pine from the Northeast, or warm brick further south, Colonial house plans share simple geometries, axial arrangements of rooms, and essentially classical details. A few samples, representing the range of colonial house plans may be found here.
Historic Home Plans --- Colonial Homes --- General Salem Towne House

colonial home plan

General Salem Towne House - 1796

An upstanding Colonial clapboard house, with a fanlight entry
$81 - 17 Sheets measuring 18" x 24"
Ext. Dimensions, 47' x 72', excluding porches
2 Stories, 6 Bedrooms, 3+ baths
Built in 1796, Charlton, Massachusetts
Drawings prepared by HABS in 1934


General Salem Towne House - 1796

General Salem Towne's life is that classic American "rags to riches" tale of a child born into poverty, who through hard work and opportunity, builds his own prosperous little kingdom. One of 8 children and fatherless at the age of 9, Salem had to make his own way in the world, and make it he did. Property records show that he bought and sold over 150 land parcels during his lifetime. Most of these were developed by him for agricultural use and sold on to farmers. Along the way his esteem in the community grew, as did his family. Twice widowed and with 7 children, he married Sabra Coman, a widow with 2 children of her own. She was responsible for much of the design of the Towne house, a very lively and active place, as it was filled, not only with 9 children and their friends, but also many townsfolk who would come to visit the General, a man who had become a true leader in his community.

As a work of art these prints are worth purchasing in their own right. For those of you interested in building a historically inspired house, this spacious country house offers a plan that can be adapted in a number of ways. The traditional "4 by 4" plan, (2 floors with 4 rooms flanking a central hall) also has a rear extension and porch that would make an admirable family room / kitchen, bringing the house more in line with contemporary lifestyles. On the main floor the grand stair hall is surrounded by a string of social spaces that could be adapted to a variety of uses. The upper floor can accommodate as many as 6 bedrooms. The full attic roof is interestingly framed to enable a continuous band of windows all around. As a play space for a family wih many children, his attic would be ideal. This set of drawings include many finely drawn details, such as doors, windows, stairs and trimwork.

  • Building name:     General Salem Towne House

  • Designer/Architect:      Unknown

  • Date of construction:      1796

  • Location:      Charlton, Massachusetts

  • Style:      Colonial

  • Number of sheets:      17 sheets measuring 18" x 24"
Sheet List
  • Cover Sheet with vicinity plan

  • 2 Sheets of floor plans and roof framing, 3/16" = 1'-0"

  • 2 Sheets of elevations, 3/16" = 1'-0"

  • 12 Sheets of details, various scales

The prints you are purchasing are crisp, high resolution black line copies on white bond paper. The original drawings were beautifully delineated in 1934 by the Historic American Building Survey. The original drawings rest in the Library of Congress.

SHIPPING: Your drawings are shipped to you, by US Postal Service, rolled, not folded, in a Priority Mail tube.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO BUILD: These plans are NOT complete architectural drawings as might be required by your local permitting agency and do not contain all the structural, waterproofing and other details and information necessary for construction. But your local builder or architect should be able to adapt these drawings and add to them as necessary. What they do provide is accurate design information about a REAL Colonial building, not a pseudo-colonial tract house as you will find in the house plan magazines on your supermarket shelf. (CO011)

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