City and State: Topsfield, Massachusetts
Type of district: National Register historic district, state historic district, local historic district
Main Intersection: High and Main Streets
The Topsfield Town Common Historic District is located in the center of the town of Topsfield. It encompasses the only remaining common land of the township and includes 10 religious, civic and residential buildings built over a period of time spanning from the late 1600s to 1935. The district is significant because it was the earliest area of settlement in the town and the center of town activity for more than three centuries. Architecture in Topsfield Town Common is reflective of the town’s long history and demonstrates various styles including Federal, Classical Revival, Greek Revival, and Chateauesque. Most of the buildings in this historic district still have their original details.
The oldest building in Topsfield Town Common is the Parson Capen House. A National Historic Landmark, it is a two-story house with a steeply pitched roof and a pilastered brick center chimney. Built in 1683, the home reveals influences of 16th and 17th century English architecture and is considered by many authorities to be one of the finest surviving examples of Elizabethan architecture in America.