I was pinch-hitting for the project engineer at a construction meeting. I traveled to the jobsite trailer but it turned out that it wasn’t a trailer. The project office was in an old former farmhouse mansion.
For replacement of a small bridge on the coast in Plymouth, MA, office space nearby was hard to come by. The bridge construction site next to the beach had no room a trailer. It had just enough room for construction equipment.
Bridge Construction Site - all photos by Brian Brenner
Fortunately, the Simes House was near the site. The historic house was built by Joseph Simes, a tea and coffee dealer in the 19th Century.
The house was part of a 100 acre estate which included farmland and extended to the shore of nearby Cape Cod Bay. Although Mr. Simes was not a sea captain, the architecture of the house has a Nantucket whaler’s vibe. The beautiful building is clad in shingles and has distinctive trim and details.
Over the years, the house has served many functions. The property served as a nursing home and a girls’ camp operated by the YMCU. The original 100 acre property was subdivided in 1954, with one acre for the house to remain on. Over the years, the structure fell into disrepair. The Simes House Foundation was established in 2010 to restore the house. Work included construction of two affordable housing apartments on the top floor, as well as room for some small offices on the second floor. It is this space that has been rented for use as the construction field office. Rent from the office space helps to provide revenue for maintenance of the property. The ground floor is in use as a community center for the local Plymouth community of Manomet.
Inside the Simes House
Simes House is an evocative place. A visit to the construction field office feels a little like being on the set of the movie, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. The beautiful old rooms and historic details are of another time and place, and the usual construction meeting discussions take on a different aura in that elegant space.
Cape Cod Bay