About The Oldest House
The Oldest House is so called because it is the oldest frame dwelling still standing in four counties in northeastern PA: Wyoming, Bradford, Sullivan, and Susquehanna. During its life, it has primarily been a family home. However, it has been said that the House was a glad sight to those traveling the Susquehanna River's North Branch, and functioned as a wayside stop. The House is still welcoming visitors today: it is owned by The Laceyville Area Oldest House Historical Society, and run as a living museum.
The House was built in the 1780s, most likely by an itinerant area carpenter named Elihu Hall. The House was commissioned by Dr. William Hooker Smith, who had it built for his son, James. However, his son only lived in it for a few years, and soon sold it on to Ebenezer Skinner. Skinner's daughter and her husband, Samuel Sturdevant, Jr., lived in the House for several years, and then sold it to another area family. Sturdevant's father, Samuel Sturdevant, Sr., was a Reverent, and is credited with founding the Laceyville Baptist Church around this time.
In the 1830s, members of the Lacey family bought the House, and Laceys and Lacey relatives lived in the House for about 100 years. By the 1930s, the House came to be owned by the Whipple family, and then was purchased in the mid-1940s by Gordon Morrison and his wife, Katie.
Grandchildren of the Morrisons were the last to live in the House when it was a family home; in the late 1960s it became an antique store for a brief time, and then stood abandoned for a few years. It was in the year of the nation's bicentennial that the Laceyville Area Oldest House Historical Society was formed, and in which the Society purchased the House at Auction for some $20,000.
Over the decades, renovations and improvements have been made to the House, including a stone patio to the rear, a wrap-around veranda, a new roof and a newly-repaired foundation; the historical nature of the structure has always been kept in mind. Many features of the House are original, including the hanging irons and other forged items which originated in a local blacksmith's shop. The remarkable ten foot square chimney with its black walnut mantle sports four fireplaces: one in the Keeping Room and three on the main floor of the House. The top floor has no fireplaces, as the warmth from the chimney kept that level comfortable.
The Oldest House stands erect today with every corner a well preserved monument to the pioneer days of this region's past, and its people.