Some of my favorite stories about old houses

My novel features an old house and the people who take care of it. I’ve always had a fascination with old houses and the stories that come with them. Here are some of those memorable and remarkable houses.


Manderley from DapHne Du Maurier’s Rebecca

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

This is the memorable opening line of the Gothic novel Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, a book that has never gone out of print. The narrator, the second Mrs. de Winter, lives in the shadow of Rebecca, her husband’s first wife, and also in the shadow of the house itself. It’s telling that the narrator’s first name is never given yet the house’s name is revealed in the first sentence of the novel.

Kragsyde and The house at lobster cove by jane goodrich

What a story! Jane Goodrich and her husband built—with their own hands—a replica of Kragsyde, a shingle style house that once stood in the seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Then she wrote a novel, The House at Lobster Cove, about the original owner of Kragsyde, You can read about her story and her novel in this Yankee magazine interview and hear her talk about both in this WBUR The ARTery podcast.

The Wedding cake house in kennebunk, Maine

Built by a shipbuilder and called the wedding cake house for its elaborate and ornate latticework, this house was once rumored to be the most photographed house in Maine. I love to see so much care and craftsmanship dedicated to one’s dwelling; it’s truly a labor of love. The house is privately owned and thus not open to the public, but it’s fun to drive by and snap a photo.

400 beacon street, Chestnut Hill, MA

Full disclosure: This house was once owned by my great-great-grandfather, William R. Dupee, so I have a special affinity to it. In subsequent years, it was purchased by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Scientist Church. She used 400 Beacon Street as the Boston headquarters for her movement. It is now owned and maintained by the Longyear Museum. Give them a call to set up a tour!