About The Oldest House
The Oldest House is so called because it is thought to be one of the oldest frame dwellings still standing in four counties in northeastern PA: Wyoming, Bradford, Sullivan, and Susquehanna. During its life, it has primarily been a family home. The House is still welcoming visitors today: it is owned by Oldest House- Laceyville Area Historical Society.
It is believed the original home was built in the 1780s on land purchased by James Smith for his family. James was the son of Dr William Hooker Smith, a prominent physician and landowner in the Wyoming Valley. James started out with two lots containing three hundred acres each. Here he built his home close to and facing the Susquehanna. In later years as more settlers moved into Braintrim,streets & sidewalks were added. The House grew and the front door opened toward the main street running through the town.
In 1794 James sold the two lots(#6 &7) to Ebenezer Skinner for the sum of 100 pounds.James was preparing to move his family to what would become known as the Smith Valley near Ithica,NY. Over the years the two lots and small frame house were sold several times until in 1844 the remaining one-third acre and home was purchased by Paul Lacey, a member of the Lacey family whom the town of Laceyville is named after. The beautiful old home remained in Paul’s family until 1940. Paul sold the property to his daughter Emma for one dollar, Emma in turn sold to her daughter Augusta and Gussie in turn left it in her will to the wife of her now deceased brother,Clifford.
The home was bought and held by Whipple Brothers in 1940 until it was sold in 1947 to Gordon and Katherine Morrison. The Morrisons enjoyed the home and community becoming known for their talents in art and music.
In the early 1970s the home was once again sold to Harold Davis who used the home as an antique shop. Mr. Davis sold the property to the newly formed Laceyville Area Historical Society in 1976. Since that time Laceyville’s Oldest House has been lovingly cared for by the Historical Society.
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.
Now well over two hundred years old the House is open to the public to tour and enjoy. Tours are given on weekends and during special events May through September. For more information and to arrange a tour or small event at the House call 570-869-1679 or 570-721-3657.