Quirky travel finds: The Paper House

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Just an hour northeast of Boston, you’ll find a quirky house in Rockport, Mass.

Do you love traveling out of your way to visit the quirkiest, strangest attractions you can find? Then we have just the side trip for you on your next trip to Boston.

Paper House wall (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)
Paper House wall (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)

Just an hour northeast of Boston, you’ll find a quirky house in Rockport, Mass. Rather than using traditional building materials like stone, wood or concrete, Rockport’s Paper House is made of just that: paper.

Room (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)
Room (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)

What started as a hobby in 1922 is now one of the country’s quirkiest travel finds. Mechanical engineer Elis F. Stenman built this two-bedroom summer home from old newspapers, which were thought to be great insulation. Taking paper mache to a whole new level, the Paper House was meticulously built by pasting around 100,000 newspapers with a homemade glue of water, apple peels and flour. The walls are about an inch thick, which converts into 215 newspaper sheets.

Paper House room (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)
Paper House room (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)

It’s not just the walls that are made of newspaper, either. All of the furniture within the one-story Paper House is also made of newspaper, including chairs, a desk, a grandfather clock, curtains, bookshelves, lamps and cabinets. In fact, the only two items in the home that aren’t made of paper are the grand piano and the fireplace, but rest assured, both are covered in enough varnished newspaper to fit the home’s paper theme.

Window beads (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)
Window beads (Image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)

The house continues to be a unique testament to early 20th century history, too. As the decades pass, the outer layers of those 215 sheets have slowly begun to peel back, revealing tidbits of news and history with every layer. A visit to the Paper House is like reading through the news archives of the 1920s and ’30s, where you can pick up all sorts of interesting tidbits just by reading the walls and furniture.

Learn more about this quirky travel find on the Rockport Paper House website.

(Main image: Danielle Walquist Lynch)

Quirky travel finds: The Paper House was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.