The Oldest Buildings in America
We marvel at modern construction technology advancements, such as 3D printing and smart cities. Yet, some of the oldest buildings in America have some of the most innovative construction you can find. Many of the practices used to develop these early structures have evolved into methods used in the industry today.
Take pueblos in the Southwest, for instance. They are some of the oldest buildings in the United States and some of the earliest forms of green construction. And in Colonial New England, houses were made from stone and used mud to seal the cracks, predating Joseph Aspen’s patent on modern-day concrete.
In the “olden days,” people didn’t have forklifts, bulldozers or cranes to move materials. They had their bare hands, a few friends, horses, and a modest cart—if they were lucky. Yet despite the simple tools used to build them, many of these structures have stood the test of time. Pack your bags and take a tour with us through American history. You can scroll through each state below or jump down to the 15 oldest buildings. Here are the oldest buildings in America:
Alabama – Joel Eddins House
Morningmurk / CC-BY-SA 4.0
The Joel Eddins House was built in 1808, in Huntsville, Alabama. Eddins relocated to the area from Abbeville County, South Carolina. He constructed the one and a half story log cabin in a “hall and parlor” style that was distinct to colonial New England. It allowed for the main floor of the home (hall and parlor) to be used for entertaining visitors. This unique construction style was uncommon in Alabama at the time.
The Joel Eddins House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. In 2007, the home was restored and moved to Bruitt on the Mountain open-air museum grounds.
Alaska – Baranov Museum (Kodiak History Museum)
Built in 1810 in Kodiak, Alaska, the Baranov Museum is also known as Erskine House and the Russian-American Magazin (magazine). The house was constructed while the state was still a Russian territory.
The Sugpiaq and Alutiiq nations were the original inhabitants in Kodiak. Russian fur traders would later be the first outside settlers to migrate to the area. Hunting the land for game and animal pelts, they built the house as a storage facility.
Baranov Museum was named a historical landmark in 1962. It was renamed the Kodiak History Museum in 2019. Showcasing the town’s cultural past, the museum holds a collection of 20,000 historical photographs.
Arizona – Fort Misery
Marine 69-71 / CC BY-SA 4.0
Located in Prescott, Arizona, Fort Misery was constructed in 1863 from pine logs and used dirt for the roof’s insulation. Despite its name, Fort Misery was never a military base. New Mexico native, Manuel Yrissari relocated to Prescot and built the two-room structure as a home and supplies store for miners. Fort Misery is now a popular destination for local history buffs and visiting tourists.
Arkansas – Jacob Wolf House
Photolitherland / CC BY-SA 3.0
Jacob Wolf built his two-floor log cabin in 1829. Known as a talented carpenter, merchant, and blacksmith, Wolf settled in the area to trade goods with local Native American tribes. The Jacob Wolf House was originally built as a courthouse, social hub and trading post for migrating travelers.
The Jacob Wolf House is now a historic site that’s overseen by the Arkansas Preservation Program. The organization operates historic tours on the estate.
California – Mission San Juan Capistrano (Serra Chapel)
Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1638 by Franciscan-Spanish Catholic missionaries in San Juan Capistrano, California. The Serra Chapel was built in the heart of the mission by converted tribes people. The historic records reveal that by 1811, a community of more than 1,200 people lived on the grounds.
Today, the Mission San Juan Capistrano is still a historical landmark and museum. The Serra Chapel still holds regular mass services.
Colorado – Cliff Palace Ancestral Puebloan Dwellings
The Mesa Verde Cliff Palace is located in Mesa Verde National Park, in Mesa Verde, Colorado. Estimated to have been built around the 1190s, the community is made up of pueblo structures that range from one to 120 rooms. It’s one of the best-preserved sites in the North American continent.
Mesa Verda stands as a representation of the history of Ancestral Puebloans in Colorado. The site was named a World Heritage Site in 1978 and still offers guided tours throughout the national park.
Connecticut – Henry Whitfield House
Dmadeo / CC BY-SA 3.0
Located in Gilford, Connecticut, The Whitfield House was built in 1639 and is the oldest stone house in New England. Puritan minister, Henry Whitfield, built the home as a fort to protect the community. A neighboring Menunkatuck tribe helped Whitfield transport materials to build the stone structure. The Henry Whitfield House is now a state museum that offers educational tours of the historic New England Trail.
Delaware – Ryves Holt House
Art Anderson / CC BY-SA 3.0
Built in 1665 in Lewes, Delaware, the Ryves Holt House was one of the earliest inns in the state. It was one of the few buildings standing today that survived fires set by Cecil Calvert, the second “Lord Baltimore,” in 1673. Now a part of First State National Historic Parks, the Ryves Holt House is a history museum and children’s discovery center.
District of Columbia – The Old Stone House
The pre-Revolutionary War Old Stone House was built in 1766, during the settlement of the Maryland colony in Georgetown. Owned by Christopher and Rachel Layman, it was built as a one-room home. Over the years renovations from various owners have increased the building’s size.
The Old Stone House was preserved due to local folklore that it was George Washington’s headquarters in 1791. It’s now a national museum and an example of pre-Revolutionary life in the District of Columbia.
Florida – González–Alvarez House
Ebyabe / CC BY-SA 3.0
Located in the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House was built in 1723. It was owned by Tomás González y Hernández, a soldier at the nearby Castillo de San Marcos. The Alvarez House was made from coquina (sedimentary rock) to withstand Florida’s rainy hurricane season.
The Gonzalez-Alvarez House is considered by some as the oldest museum complex. Operated by the St. Augustine Historical Society, the museum features rotating exhibits and an ornate garden.
Georgia – Horton House
Major Willaim Horton built the Horton House in 1743 in Jekyll Island, Georgia. As a local military aid, he raised crops and barley on the land to assist nearby colonies in Frederica.
While not the first structure built, the Horton House is the oldest standing building in Georgia. Horton’s growing barley enabled him to create the first beer and brewery in the state.
The Horton House is now registered with the National Register of Historic Places and resides in Jekyll Island’s National Historic Landmark District.
Hawaii – Ka Hale La’au
Ka Hale La‘au (Frame House) was a joint effort between Native Hawaiians and Christian missionaries from the United States in 1675. The wood structure was a common space for traveling missionary families and sea goers visiting Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
Ka Hale La’au stands on the same grounds as several of Hawaii’s oldest buildings. Together, they tell stories of early Hawaii, showcasing the island’s architecture and culture.
Idaho – The Coeur d’ Alene’s Old Mission
It’s estimated that the Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission was built between 1850 and 1853 in Cataldo, Idaho. Father Pierre-Jean De Smet had the mission built by the nearby Coeur d’Alene river to promote Catholicism. The interior wood mimics European cathedrals of the time.The Coeur d’ Alene’s Old Mission is now a historically popular stop for tourists on the Coeur d’ Alene’s State Park bike trail.
Illinois – Fort de Chartres
Originally used as an administrative center, Fort de Chartres was built in 1720 in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. The French fort was used by the French military during the occupation of the state. Sitting on the banks of the Mississippi River, the wood fort had to be rebuilt due to years of flooding. In 1750, limestone was added to reinforce the structure.
Fort de Chartres is now a state historic site that features reenactments of French Colonial Illinois.
Indiana – Cannelton Cotton Mill
Sarah Ewart / CC BY-SA 3.0
In 1849, Hamilton Smith built the Cannelton Cotton Mill in Cannelton, Indiana. He partnered with local investors and southern landowners to construct the factory. Smith used sandstone in the mill’s construction, which took two years.
The Indiana Cotton Mill closed in 1954 and became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It was later named a historical landmark in 1991. In 1999 a development company purchased and revitalized the mill into low-income apartments.
Iowa – Louis Arriandeaux Log House
Outdoorsman and trapper, William Newman, built the Louis Arriandeaux Log House in 1827 in Dubuque, Iowa. After Newman’s death, his wife sold the house, and it was later moved to a new location.
The Louis Arriandeaux Log House went through several renovations to restore it to its original state. Today the log cabin sits on the same grounds as the Mathias Ham House (HAM House).
Kansas – Fort Leavenworth
Located in Leavenworth, Kansas, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest settlement in the state. Built in 1827, it’s also the oldest army installation, west of the Mississippi River.
In 1866, the all African-American, U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment, known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” called the base home. Congress converted the installation into an army disciplinary barracks in 1874.
Today, Fort Leavenworth still remains a military correctional facility and is respected as one of the oldest national historic landmarks in the United States Army.
Kentucky – Locust Grove
Locust Grove was constructed for William Croghan in 1792. The brick mansion sits on over 200 acres of land in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s known to be one of the few remaining structures that housed Lewis and Clark during their journeys.
Locust Grove sits on a 55-acre estate that offers tours and special events. The preservation of the home stands as an example of Kentucky and Revolutionary War history.
Louisiana – Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is one of New Orlean’s oldest urban legends. Nicolas Touze built Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop between 1722 and 1732. Local legend suggests that pirate Jean Lafitte used the pub as a headquarters to plot smuggling runs.
As the oldest pub in America and building in New Orleans’ French Quarter, local urban legend claims that Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is haunted and holds numerous ghost stories of the city’s past.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is still in operation as a pub. It’s a popular gathering spot for socializing and imbibing while learning the tales of New Orlean’s diverse cultural past.
Maine – The Bray House
The Bray House is estimated to have been built around 1670, in Kittery Point, Maine. It’s the oldest standing building in the state, showcasing colonial-era construction methods. Preserved by Historic New England, the Bray House now stands as a representation of colonial-era Maine.
Maryland – Old Trinity Episcopal Church
Located in Woolford, Maryland, Old Trinity Church is the oldest active Episcopal church in the United States. Originally known as “The Old Church,” it was constructed in 1675 by English settlers. In 1853 the building was updated to a gothic style architecture and the name was changed to Trinity Church. Locals nicknamed it “Old Trinity Church.” The church was restored to its original state between 1953 and 1960 and remains an active place of worship.
Massachusetts – The Fairbanks House
Magicpiano / CC BY-SA 1.0
Located in Dedham, Massachusetts, the Fairbanks House is one of the oldest known wood-frame houses in the United States. It’s estimated to date back to 1637 and was home to puritan farmer John Fairbanks and his family. Based on dendrochronology (the study of dating events based on growth rings in trees and aged wood), the oldest remaining section of the house was built in 1641. Over the years, the Fairbanks House has gone through several structural renovations, including adding eastern and western wings.
The Fairbanks House is now part of the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is a favorite for students and American history fans of all ages.
Michigan – Fort Mackinac
Fort Mackinac was built by a British Army in 1780 on Mackinac Island, Michigan. During the Revolutionary War, the fort was used to guard the harbor and the outpost.
In 1796, Fort Mackinac changed ownership to the United States and was recaptured by the British Army during the war of 1812. After the battle, it was recovered by the United States.
Fort Mackinac became the nation’s second national park in 1875. In 1895 the wood fort was abandoned and became the property of the state, becoming Michigan’s first state park. Today, it is one of the state’s premier historical attractions.
Minnesota – The Sibley House
Henry Hasting Sibley built his home in 1835 in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Sibley was a regional manager for the American Fur Company (AFC) and used limestone from a local quarry to construct the building. He also used The Sibley House as a storehouse for his furs and a business office.
Sibley partnered with the local Dakota tribe community and hunted furs for auction. In addition to owning the first house in the area, Sibley would later become Minnesota’s first governor.
The Sibley House now offers tours giving a glimpse inside Minnesota’s fur-trading past and its role in the development of the United States.
Mississippi – LaPointe-Krebs House
Mmwixon / CC BY-SA 4.0
Dating back to the Revolutionary War, the La Pointe-Krebs House was built in 1757. Nicknamed “The Old Spanish Fort,” Mississippi’s oldest building sits in Pascagoula. What makes the property unique is the use of materials such as cypress, cedar woods, and tabby oyster-shell concrete.
The La Pointe-Krebs House served as a fortified home for an army officer during the American Revolutionary War. It was later used as a cotton plantation and owned by Hugo E. Krebs, who invented the roller cotton gin.
The LaPoint-Krebs House is now a historical museum. It’s currently going through restoration for general maintenance and incorporating additional historical artifacts.
Missouri – Louis Bolduc House
Located in Genevieve, Missouri, the Louis Bolduc House was built in 1788. Known as “Maison Bolduc,” it’s the first European settlement known in Missouri.
The house was constructed in a poteaux-sur-sol style of timber framing. This is when wood posts are closely placed together and stand on a sill plate foundation. It’s an early representation of French colonial architecture.
The Louis Bolduc House is now a part of a collection of historical structures. The campus offers tours and educational programs on early French Colonial America.
Montana – Fort Connah
Magicpiano / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Fort Connah has a rich history in early Montana. The trading post was built in 1846 by the Hudson Bay Company. Angus McDonald led the fort in 1847, and named it after a river in his native Scotland.
Fort Connah was a hub for the fur trade in St. Ignatius, Montana, standing as a vital link between both sides of the Rocky Mountains.
The Fort Connah Historic Restoration Society currently oversees the structure. It’s listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Other structures from the era have been moved on the grounds and semi-annual restorations occur every year.
Nebraska – The Bellevue Log Cabin or “The Log Cabin”
Built between 1830 and 1835, The Bellevue Log Cabin (The Log Cabin), was a Bellevue, Nebraska home for early European pioneers. The cabin was constructed from local cottonwood trees, using a hand-hewn process that rounds the logs.
Historians have identified The Bellevue Log Cabin as a trading post for the Jacob Astor Fur Trade Company. Since this time the cabin has been relocated twice due to flooding.
The cabin is now a museum for Sap County. It features historical records and photographs of Bellevue’s past. The museum also offers programs and events for visitors.
Nevada – Old Mormon Fort
The Old Mormon Fort was constructed in “Sin City” Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1855. John Steele, a Mormon missionary settled in the area because it was near the Las Vegas creek—one of the only local sources of water.
The 150-foot fort was built by Octavius D. Gass in 1865 and served as a ranch, outpost and blacksmith shop.
The Old Mormon Fort is now a popular tourist destination reenacting historical Las Vegas and Nevada’s rich history.
New Hampshire – Richard Jackson House
Greencan7 / CC BY-SA 4.0
The Richard Jackson house was built in 1664 by Richard Jackson, a carpenter, seaman, and farmer, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The structure is the oldest wood-frame home in the state.
Jackson originally constructed the property as a small home. Additions were later built to meet the needs of its growing number of occupants.
The Jackson House is a National Historic Landmark. Historic New England began overseeing the structure in 1924. Some of the original wood and paint have been updated, but much of the original structure still remains.
New Jersey – C.A. Nothanagle Log House
Also known as Braman-Nothnagle Log House located in the town of Gibbonstown, New Jersey, it was constructed between 1638 and 1643 and is one of the oldest standing log houses in the United States.
Thought to have been built by Scandinavian settlers, it’s constructed from oak logs. Interestingly enough, the house didn’t contain any nails when built. Gravel was used to seal the logs’ gaps. Since then, the C.A. Nothanagle Log House has been updated, with additional sections added to the cabin. In 2018 the C.A. Nothanagle Log House went up for sale, but still offers visitor tours.
New Mexico – Acoma Pueblo
Estimated to have been built in 1000 AD, the Acoma Pueblo is a part of the rich cultural history of New Mexico. The adjoining pueblo communities were positioned strategically in the valley, to defend from enemy attacks. Referred to as “Sky City,” Acoma Pueblo is currently the oldest still inhabited area in the United States.
Acoma Pueblo is still an active community in New Mexico. Many of the neighboring communities visit the pueblos to pay homage and educate visitors on Acoma’s cultural heritage.
New York – Wyckoff Farmhouse
H.L.I.T. / CC BY 2.0
Located in Brooklyn, New York, the Wyckoff Farmhouse is the oldest building in New York. Pieter Clasen was a German immigrant who relocated to the Dutch-owned territory of New Amsterdam. He built the farmhouse in 1652 as a one-room, dirt-floor structure. Over the years, the Wyckoff House has expanded to contain six rooms and three fireplaces.
The Wyckoff House now functions as a historical New York landmark and educational museum for tours and community events.
North Carolina – Lane House
Harvey Harrison / CC BY-SA 3.0
Located in Edenton, North Carolina, little is known about the Lane House. However, it is still in the Lane family. It’s current owners found original floorboards and handmade nails while remodeling. A dendrologist reported the wood structure to be built in 1719.
North Dakota – Kittson Trading Post
Elcajonfarms / CC BY-SA 1.0
The Kittson Trading Post was built in 1843 by Henry H. Shelby of the American Fur Company. At the time Walhalla, North Dakota was a hub for trading in the northernmost states of America.
Due to the heavy trading of buffalo, the surrounding area grew into a community of close to 1,000 residents.
The Kittson Trading Post is a state historic site and museum that introduces visitors to the early American frontier and historical North Dakota.
Ohio – The Old Stone Fort
The Old Stone Fort is the oldest building in Ohio and possibly the midwest. Based in West Lafayette, it’s estimated that the structure was built between 1679 to 1689. Its origin is unknown.
Based on a hanging plaque from the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, it’s believed that French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville constructed the Old Stone Fort to guard against English troops.
Today, the Old Stone Fort is a popular tourist stop in Ohio. However, its story remains a mystery.
Oklahoma – Fort Gibson
Valis55 / CC BY-SA 3.0
Built in Gibson, Oklahoma, Fort Gibson was established in 1824 to keep the peace between the Osages and Cherokees tribes.
It served as a central military outpost during the westward expansion. By 1857, Fort Gibson was abandoned and reactivated during the Civil War as a Union stronghold.
The Oklahoma Historical Society currently preserves Fort Gibson. After experiencing several reconstructions, the grounds are open for tours and educational reenactments.
Oregon – Molalla Log House
The Molalla Log House is believed to have been hand-crafted by Russian farmers and craftsmen in Oregon City, Oregon. Known for the intricate construction detail, the house is made from hand-hewn Douglas fir dating back to 1799.
The Molalla Log House is being updated by Restore Oregon, to preserve its history. Completion is estimated in late 2020.
Pennsylvania – Lower Swedish Cabin
The Lower Swedish Cabin is a historic Swedish-style log cabin in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Estimated to have been built between 1640 to 1650, it’s one of the oldest log cabins in the United States. The small home served as a trading post between Swedish settlers and neighboring Native American tribes.
In the last 1900s, the Lower Swedish Log Cabin was used as a set for early motion pictures. In 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. To help with maintenance, Drexel Hill residents collaborated to restore the cabin.
Rhode Island – Governor Peleg Sanford House
Possibly dating back to the 1640s, Governor Peleg Sanford House is located in Newport, Rhode Island. Sanford was a major in the Rhode Island militia and later became the governor for the Rhode Island colony in 1683.
The Colony House has added much to Newport’s history. From 1901 to 1926, the building operated as a county courthouse. Today it’s a staple in the local community, hosting political gatherings and cultural events.
South Carolina – Middleburg Plantation
Located in Huger, South Carolina, the Middleburg Plantation is the oldest standing building in South Carolina. The rice plantation was constructed around 1699 by Benjamin Simons and named after his home town of Middleburg, Zeeland, Netherlands.
The Middleburg Plantation was named a national landmark in 1970. It remains a part of South Carolina’s historic plantations.
South Dakota – Fort Sisseton
Rural Learning Center / CC BY 2.0
Built in 1846 in Lake City, South Dakota, the Fort Sisseton was first named Fort Wadsworth. It was also home to the 25th Infantry Regiment known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” The all African-American battalion was revered by local Native American tribes in the mid to late 1800s.
Fort Sisseton is now a national state park. The grounds are used for Civil War reenactments during the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival.
Tennessee – Carter Mansion
Built between 1775 and 1770 in Elizabethton, Tennessee, the Carter Mansion is the oldest house in the state. John and Landon Carter were military and political influencers in the Watauga settlement.
The home is known for its detailed interior and exteriors, including two of the oldest paintings in the state.
The Carter Mansion is a part of Tennessee’s historic parks and hosts special events and tours throughout the year.
Texas – The Alamo Mission
Founded in 1744 in San Antonio, Texas, the Alamo was a church for the Mission San Antonio de Valero. It was built as a school for Spanish Franciscan friars that were attempting to convert Native Americans to the Christian faith.
By the late 1700s, the limestone building was abandoned. In 1836, President General Antonion Lopez de Santa Ana and his troops seized the mission, starting the historic Battle of the Alamo.
Today, the Alamo is one of Texas’ most popular historical destinations. Overseen by the state, it receives regular restoration updates. Visitors from all over the world come to learn about the history of Texas and the early American.
Utah – Garr Ranch House
The Utahraptor / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Fielding Garr Ranch House is the first permanent residence in the state of Utah. Located in the Great Salt Lake and constructed in 1848, it’s the oldest working ranch in the United States.
Positioned on Antelope Island, it was established by Fielding Garr. The Mormon Church sent Garr to the island to manage their tithing livestock. Upon moving to the area, Garr created the adobe-style ranch.
The Garr Ranch House now offers guided tours that give visitors a hands-on learning experience about the early Utah frontier.
Vermont – Mooar-Wright House
Believed to have been built in the 1750s in Pownal, Vermont, this house was built by Dutch settlers and is considered the oldest house in the state. There are no legal documents of ownership in existence, so the original owners that built the house can only be speculated.
Virginia – Jamestown Church
Built in 1639, the church is one of the oldest standing buildings from the time of the original 13 colonies in Jamestown, Virginia. Early settlers founded the area and built the church, after fleeing the Church of England.
Preservation Virginia took ownership of the Jamestown Church in 1893. Today the Jamestown Rediscovery Organization oversees the continued restorations. The Jamestown Church has also been named an important landmark in the Jamestown community.
Washington – Fort Nisqually
Fort Nisqually was built in 1843 as a fur trading and farming post for the Hudson Bay Company of London. Located in DuPont, Washington near Puget Sound, it was the first European settlement in the state.
Although it is called a fort, it was never actually a fort. The outpost served as a multi-cultural trading center for Native American tribes, Native Hawaiians, French-Canadian, English, and American settlers. Fort Nisqually quickly grew in notoriety, becoming a major exporting location of the time.
Fort Nisqually is now a part of Metro Parks Tacoma. School children can tour the grounds and participate in historic activities.
West Virginia – The Hermitage
Valerius Tygart / CC BY-SA 3.0
Built in Charles Town, West Virginia around 1734, the Hermitage farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the state. The small stone cottage was believed to be owned by Daniel Barnett of the Burr Iron Works. The property also contains a stone outhouse that’s believed to be the first in West Virginia.
Wisconsin – Brisbois House
Jonathunder / CC BY-SA 3.0
Estimated to have been built in 1815, in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, the Brisbois House (Bernard Brisbois House) is the oldest stone home in the state. Michael Brisbois was a fur trader working with the Astor Fur Trading Company. He built the house on the near-by St. Feriole Island. After being accused of treason by the United States army, the house was commandeered as an officer’s quarters.
The Brisbois House was remodeled in 1900 and named a National Historic Landmark, by the Wisconsin Historical Society in the 1960s. Today it remains a historical marker in the state’s second-oldest community.
Wyoming – Old Bedlam (Fort Laramie)
Built in 1849 in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, Old Bedlam is the oldest structure in the state. The building was a first trading outpost and later became a military barracks to protect traveling settlers on their way to Mormon, Oregon.
William Sublette and Robert Campbell founded the compound, originally naming it, “Fort William.” They traded buffalo robes with local Lakota tribes and built the surrounding walls for protection against local competitors. It was later given the moniker Fort John.
Fort Laramie has a rich cultural past in American history. In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Fort Laramie a National Historical Monument. It is still open for tours and exploration to visitors of all ages.
The 15 Oldest Buildings in America
We touched on the oldest buildings in each state, outlining the who, what, when, and “where” of early building construction trends in the United States. While historians have estimated periods of construction for many of these structures, it’s important to understand where they initially started.
These are some of the earliest forms of construction technology in American history. This is not to say that other areas of the country weren’t inhabited by early Native American tribes and settlers, rather they’re where roots were put down and milestones in American civilization were cultivated.
Today, tourists visit many of these historical landmarks year-round, to marvel at the ingenuity and craftsmanship of our ancestors from long ago. Here are the top 15 oldest buildings in America.
1. Acoma Pueblo
Also the oldest structure in New Mexico, Acoma Pueblo is a community built around 1000 AD. Although it was originally the home of the Anaasazi people, the “Sky City” still functions as a vibrant community, full of historical and cultural heritage.
2. Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest communities in the U.S., with most buildings having been constructed between 1000 and 1450 AD. This Northern New Mexico site has been inhabited since it was first built, and currently serves as a home to a small Native American community.
3. Palace Of the Governors
This adobe structure was built in Santa Fe in 1610 for the Spanish governors colonizing the American Southwest. The Palace of the Governors changed hands multiple times over the centuries, but now functions as an important part of the New Mexico History Museum.
4. San Miguel Mission
The San Miguel Mission was built by Spanish colonizers between 1610 and 1626, and rebuilt in 1710 following damage caused by the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The church’s original adobe walls still stand as the building is now a part of a National Historic Landmark, though it still offers Mass on Sundays.
5. Fairbanks House
Magicpiano / CC BY-SA 1.0
The oldest building in Massachusetts, the Fairbanks House was originally built in 1637 for Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks, and it stayed in the family for eight generations. One of the oldest wood structures in North America, this iconic and well-preserved home is now a museum and a National Historic Place.
6. Mission San Juan Capistrano
Considered the “Jewel of California Missions”, Mission San Juan Capistrano was built by the Spanish in 1638 to spread Christianity to native Americans. Despite the turbulence the church faced throughout the 1800s, the Mission is now a historical, cultural and religious landmark.
7. C.A. Nothnagle Log House
The oldest building in New Jersey, the C.A. Nothnagle Log House was built with oak logs around the late 1630s or early 1640s by Finnish or Swedish settlers. The home has been added to over the years, and is privately owned today with tours offered by appointment.
8. Henry Whitfield House
Dmadeo / CC BY-SA 3.0
Henry Whitfield, a Puritan minister, built this home in 1639 after emigrating from England to escape religious persecution. With its stone walls, the oldest house in Connecticut was meant to be a fort to protect the community. Now, it is known as the Henry Whitfield State Museum and is a National Historic Landmark.
9. Richard Sparrow House
Swampyank / CC BY-SA 3.0
Located in historical Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Richard Sparrow House was built in 1640 by its namesake, using cross summer beam construction, leaded glass windows, and paneled walls. Today, the home functions as a historic house Museum and art gallery.
10. Lower Swedish Cabin
Built by immigrants from the New Sweden colony, this log cabin was constructed as a private residence sometime during the 1640s. Also the oldest building in Pennsylvania, the Lower Swedish Cabin was restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s.
11. Richard Jackson House
The oldest wood-frame house in New Hampshire was built by Richard Jackson in 1664 in an English post-medieval style. The house has faced many additions and alterations over the years, and after seven generations of Jacksons, was restored in the 1920s and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.
12. Middleburg Plantation
South Carolina’s oldest building, the Middleburg Plantation, was built in 1697 by Benjamin Simons, a French Huguenot immigrant. Extending over 5000 acres at the time of construction, this large plantation is currently a National Historic Landmark.
13. Gilman Garrison House
Magicpiano / CC BY-SA 1.0
This fortified home exemplifies the First Period of American architecture and design, and was built as a log house with many defense-related features in 1709. Councillor John Gilman’s house changed hands many times since its construction, but is now functioning as a house museum after restorations in the 1960s.
14. González–Alvarez House
Ebyabe / CC BY-SA 3.0
Also known as “The Oldest House”, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House started construction in 1723 and is located in St. Augustine, Florida, one of the oldest European settlements in the U.S. The home reflects Spanish colonial architecture and the alterations made by later English owners, now open to the public as part of the St. Augustine Historical Society’s Oldest House Museum Complex.
15. Baranov Museum
The oldest building in Alaska, the Russian-built Baranov Museum was constructed in 1810 in Kodiak as a storage facility. After the U.S. gained control of Alaska, the building was repurposed multiple times. Now, the museum exhibits the history and culture of the Kodiak Archipelago and the Aleutian Islands.