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The King Caesar House


This Federal mansion was built in 1809 for Ezra Weston II, known as “King Caesar” for his worldwide preeminence as a shipbuilder and merchant. Weston’s enterprise dominated Duxbury in the early 19th century with a large portion of the population employed in the Weston shipyards, farms, wharves, mill, ropewalk, or aboard Weston’s fishing schooners and merchant fleet.

Purchased by the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society in 1965, the house is presented for tours as it appeared in the 1820s. The house is noted for its rare French scenic wallpapers, portraits of sea captains, and 19th-century furnishings. The house’s front rooms, upstairs and downstairs, remain nearly unchanged from their original construction. Especially notable are superb wallpapers in the two front parlors, imported from France for the house and attributed to Dufour. The museum currently displays a variety of Federal artifacts relating to Duxbury’s shipbuilding era.

In 1886, Frederick Bradford Knapp purchased the King Caesar House and the surrounding estate. Knapp, former Superintendent of Buildings at Harvard College, established a preparatory school, converting King Caesar’s barns into gymnasiums and classrooms. The school quickly earned an excellent reputation and the King Caesar House served as the Headmaster’s House.

Knapp died in 1932 and the mansion declined. His heirs sold it in 1937 to Dr. Hermon Carey Bumpus who thoroughly restored the mansion. In 1945, the King Caesar House was purchased by Emil Weber and Elizabeth Weber-Fulop, who offered to sell the house to the Historical Society in the mid-1960s. On June 25, 1967, the King Caesar House was dedicated as a museum, “commemorative of the busy shipbuilding days of Duxbury.” It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about The King Caesar House

At 880 tons, Ezra Weston’s ship Hope, built in 1841 was New England’s largest vessel at the time.

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