Along the banks of the North River is the Turner estate, known locally as River House, though also referred to in the past as the “many-windowed mansion” and “Stillwater Farm.” It was built in 1715 and purchased in 1766 by Thomas Turner Sr., who with his family played host to many prominent historical figures, including business associate and friend John Hancock. Local folklore claims the house is haunted—carrying a supernatural aura that even 21st-century inhabitants recognize and respect.
The 1715 two-story Georgian colonial features the classic nine window facade and center entrance and chimney. Ornamental wooden quoins flank each corner, giving the appearance of stone—a trademark of Georgian style architecture. With its long, narrow window seats, the front foyer marked a home of prestige, giving the Turner house the nickname, “the many-windowed mansion.” In fact, seventy-two original panes of glass have remained intact throughout the years. There is also an unusual pillared back entrance to the house with dentil molding, leading to what was once the office of the Turner Shipyards, used most likely to conduct business, keeping shipyard workers from using the main entrance. The interior of the home is just as distinct and historically significant. Just off the center entrance is a secret hiding space under the stairs, it was Thomas Turner’s office complete with a built-in corner cupboard, perhaps once used to house important ship documents. The kitchen features original 1715 gunstock corner posts and ceiling beams. The massive center chimney features five connecting fireplaces—one complete with beehive oven—most flanked by hand-carved wood panels. Several of the home’s floors are still 12”-20” wide white pine.
Much of the home’s original Georgian and Federal period features remain carefully preserved. When John and Carol Sullivan purchased the home in 1968, they vowed to renovate the house in a true-to-history manner, keeping the wood paneling, built-in cupboards, and wooden ceiling beams exposed. Their son, Andrew Sullivan, now owner of the home, was determined to continue restoring the home to its original appearance, so much so that he brought in expert masons to help discover—and then uncover—the main fireplace’s original large beehive oven found in the very back of the hearth behind a more modern one that had covered it. Andrew has also carefully planned the property’s additions and upgrades to modern amenities so that they blend seamlessly with the original main house.