The Gedney House is located at 21 High Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Eleazer Gedney, a Salem shipwright, built the earliest part of the house in 1665 for himself and Elizabeth Turner, whom he had recently married.
The location of the house has remained unchanged, but its surroundings, now urbanized, have. When it was first built, the house looked out over the South River and Ruck’s Creek. The South River, now a municipal parking lot, was where Eleazer Gedney had a shipyard, as well as a wharf.
In addition to its surroundings, the overall structure of the house has changed. Originally, the first floor had two rooms, one room on the second floor, and an attic, with a central chimney, and a lean-to that was attached to the house.
In 1712, Eleazer and Elizabeth’s daughter, Martha, inherited the property. She and James Ruck, her husband, renovated the house so that the lean-to became an additional parlor, above which was added a second floor.
Benjamin Cox purchased the home from the Gedney family in 1773, which he then used for as an investment property. Around 1800, the additions he made to the house resulted in it becoming a multi-family home. Thus, in subsequent years the house was used first as a boarding house, and as a tenement.
Historic New England has owned the Gedney House since 1967, and offers guided tours of the property.