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The Paper House

August 8, 2019

Rockport has many unique vistas, beaches, restaurants, and places to visit. Top among the local attractions not to be missed is the Paper House. Yes, seriously, an entire house – furniture and all – made from newspaper! 

The Paper House is located along the rocky coast of Cape Ann. Like most great finds, the house is a little bit off the beaten path at 52 Pigeon Hill Street in Rockport. What started as a hobby by engineer Elis F. Stenman of building things out of paper turned into a twenty-year labor of love… entire house made of newspaper. 

Although Stenman and his wife, who live next door in their own home, started this uncommon house in 1922 with the idea of building with different materials, the two-room house is like no other that you will ever visit. Not only are all the walls made of newspaper but the furniture as well. What started as an experiment in novel construction materials yielded paper tables, chairs, lamps, and bookshelves. There is even a piano made of paper! 

What we find even more charming is not just the 215 layers of paper that make up the walls, but also reading the classic headlines and snippets of articles that are visible on each surface. In fact there is a writing desk made from accounts of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, and a radio cabinet plastered with news from Herbert Hoover’s presidential campaign.

Visitors marvel at the time and effort it must have taken to attach in layers the over 100,000 newspapers that were used in the making of the home. Visitors from Florida remarked that, “Tucked away from the main roads in Rockport, MA among lovely New England Homes is one made entirely out of paper. Amazingly unique and worth a quick side trip. Doesn’t take long to tour the small house unless you wish to examine the artistry closer. Honor system to see house that has 2 large rooms with table and chairs, etc. all made from newspaper.

If you want to visit, the home is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily from April 1 to October 31. The self-guided tour is a great way to wind down after a day at the beach. 

Directions: Upon entering Rockport, follow 127 north toward Pigeon Cove. After the Yankee Clipper Inn, take the second left (Curtis Street) then another left on Pigeon Hill Street to no. 52(on your right).