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14 Lynde Street
Salem MA 01970

Rufus Choate House

Rufus Choate House

Salem, MA

Lanie Finbury restored the Rufus Choate House in l981. Rescued from neglect and certain demolition, Lanie launched her entrepreneurial career by purchasing a boarding house that had been condemned by the City of Salem. The exterior was covered in asbestos shingles and the interior was a maze of small dormitory like rooms. However the elegant twin chimneys prompted Lanie to look beyond the altered exterior and research the building's history. What she uncovered was a link to a sea captain named Ebenezer Beckford, the first merchant among the Salem maritime traders to bring pepper to the United States. This brought the captain fame and fortune.

The significance of the building's history facilitated its listing as an individual property on the National Register of Historic Places, an extraordinary honor for a post colonial house. The rehabilitation respected the glorious architecture that was revealed during demolition: ornate fireplaces, wide pine floors, crown and dado moldings and raised panels. The restoration program created unique professional office space in each of the fine rooms including a shared library, conference room and reception area. The rear stable became a residential apartment.

The Rufus Choate House was the first commercial project in the Essex Street Urban Renewal Area and was a catalyst for the 20 years of investment that has followed. Overlook Associates makes its home on third floor of the Rufus Choate House.

Read more about the Rufus Choate House (PDF).

Rufus Choate House (before)

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