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Dole-Little House History

1715-1954:  Family Home 

1954-1975:  Restoration

1975-Present::   Becoming a Museum 

1715-1954: Family Home

Built around 1715 with materials salvaged from an earlier structure, the Dole-Little House was constructed for Richard Dole, a cattleman. The house was built on a two-room, central-chimney plan with a small kitchen shed at the rear. This shed has since been replaced with a larger lean-to. Decorative carpentry and finish include chamfered edges, molded sheathing (especially in the great hall and parlor), and possibly original stair balusters.

1954-1975: Restoration

Acquired by Florence Evans Bushee in 1954, the house was subsequently restored to reflect the original period by restoration contractor Roy Baker. Baker discovered that new mortise and tenon joints and various other changes had been added to many of the salvaged framing members to allow them to conform to the plan of the house. During restoration efforts, the lean-to was removed and reconstructed with new timbers, and a small-paned sash from the front of the house was reinstalled in the lean-to. The paneling from one chamber was removed and reinstalled as an exhibition room at the National Museum of History and Technology in Washington, D.C. A copied version was reinstalled in the chamber. The stair balusters, removed by Baker in 1955, are now on display in the house.

1975-Present: Becoming a Museum

The Dole-Little House was given to Historic New England in 1975 upon the death of Mrs. Bushee. It is operated as a “study property” with particular emphasis on mid-twentieth century restoration techniques.

Dole-Little House History