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Raising a roof on Boston Common

You are invited to a "house raising." On July 19, on Boston Common, a replica of America's oldest frame home -- the 1636 Fairbanks House -- will be "raised" before crowds of visitors at the start of a two-week Seventeenth Century Festival.

The event will provide an easy history lesson to those attending the celebration of Boston's Jubilee 350. It will show that early settlers were skilled in the timber-frame technology which was at its height in Europe in the 1600s.

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The original Fairbanks House, which still stands in Dedham, Mass., has had several additions and alterations over the years. The replica is based on photographs and drawings studied by Abbott Lowell Cummings of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA).

The raising should be completed in one day. The Seventeenth Century Festival is coordinated by the Plimoth Plantation and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, with the assistance of the SPNEA.

Other festival events will include craft demonstrations of clothmaking, building, metal, leather, carving, and agricultural trades.

There will also be music, games, theater, dances, and food of the period. The festival, centered on Boston Common, will have a 17th-century market setting. Costumed guides will speak with a 17th-century dialect.

After the festival, Fairbanks House will be taken down and stored until February 1982, when it will be reassembled in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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