The Making of Manchester and America: The Hooper-Tappan House


This is the first of a series about historic homes and families of Manchester-by-the-Sea who helped to shape our community and nation. 

The Federal-style house at 39 Central Street has an interesting history, starting with its construction in 1805 as a home for Capt. William Hooper Jr., 34, and his family 

From his mid-twenties, Captain Hooper was a shipmaster in trade with Spain, and experienced the usual vicissitudes of his profession, including (in 1798) capture by a French privateer He died at home at the age of 38 in 1809, leaving wife Sally (Northey) Hooper with the care of their young children.  In 1815 she sold the homestead to her son-in-law, Ebenezer Tappan Jr., (1792-1874) 23, cabinetmaker, husband of her daughter Sally, 19 Over time, Tappan would add to the house and build a cabinet shop, barn, and woodhouse on the property.  

Eben and Sally Tappan would have ten children.  In 1818 he became a militia colonel and began a career as an inventor and manufacturer of ship’s wheels and fire engines, including the “Torrent,” now on display in our Seaside No.1 Historic Firehouse museum.  Colonel Tappan was elected state rep in the 1840s and prospered as Manchester became a center of furniture-manufacturing. Eben died here in 1874, and Sally in 1875. 

The Tappans were strong abolitionists, as were most of Manchester’s citizens.  Eben and Sally’s sons, William H. and Lewis N., went West before the Civil War and had important roles in the history of Kansas and Colorado.  

William H. Tappan was the artist behind the painting of Masconomo on display at the Trask House; he also created the iconic town seal. 

In 1880 it was the home of Gen. Thomas Tannatt, a hero of the Civil War who had married Elizabeth Tappan, the youngest of Eben & Sally’s children.  For many years in the early 1900s this was home to the Dunn family, Levi being the proprietor of a local express company.  

The house and barn were sold in 1994 to Paul and Cynthia Torjesen Paul, who had recently refurbished the Wang Center in Boston, turned his hand to renovating #39.  The current owners, Jason and Abby Levendusky, have further enhanced its beauty.  

CREDITS: Interested in learning more? Please see the complete house history by Robert Booth of Public History Services, Inc., on file at the Manchester Historical Museum. 

The Manchester Historical Museum (MHM) House History and Marker Program encourages homeowners to note and appreciate the historical and architectural significance of their properties and the people who lived in them.  Participants receive a 30 plus page history of their house and its occupants, certificate and house marker.  For more information on the program and how to participate, go to the Manchester Historical Museum website.  

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