The attic door of the Bedford Homestead
Photo: Keller + Keller
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Common Mistakes

So the historical record will be corrected. But why did everyone get it wrong for so long? Basically, no one had studied the house closely enough, which is common with very old structures. "The 1687 date in the National Register came from the application for the list, which was filled out in 1977," says Grady. Today, applications are scrutinized more closely and require further proof of age, including photographs that help date the architectural elements. Had such photos been reviewed then, the date would very likely have been modified.

TOH master carpenter Norm Abram adds that homes built centuries ago incorporated new and old parts out of necessity, which causes confusion when assessing a construction date. "It was harder to build things then, so people reused parts such as doors and windows. You can't just assume that a house is as old as the oldest piece of it," he says. This would explain the presence of the 17th-century doors.

The Titlows, meanwhile, plan to keep the circa 1720 structure largely intact, while overhauling the kitchen and adding a family room and an entry with a mudroom and powder room. Says Becky, "Now we just need to add another item to our to-do list: changing the historical plaque."

Shown: The attic door was likely made in the 1600s and installed in a different house before it was used here.
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