Staff at the Old York Historical Society are assessing the damage to the Emerson-Wilcox House after a car crashed into the east side of the building on Saturday night.
Executive director Joel Lefever said a car traveling west on York Street struck the house around 11 p.m. and went through the wall into a room used as a gallery.
The house was closed to the public in 2020 due to the pandemic and nothing was kept in the room as the house was going to remain closed in 2021, Lefever told Seacoast Current.
The crash appears to be the result of the woman at the wheel falling asleep at the wheel on her way home from work, Lefever told Seacoast Current, and she was not injured in the crash.
York Police on Sunday afternoon did not respond to Seacoast Current’s request for more information.
Lefever said the house suffered “significant structural damage” but is optimistic that the 15-room building could be repaired. The damage will be assessed by an architect and a structural engineer to determine the next steps in the restoration.
“The house served as a post office. It has had many and many different uses over the years,” Lefever said.
According to the company’s website, the house has also been a general store, stage tavern, tailoring shop, and home.
The original house on the site burned to the ground in the Candlemas raid on York in 1692 and was rebuilt in the 1730s, Lefever said, and purchased by Edward Emerson, who owned ships and traded in molasses and rum in the West Indies. He moved another house in York to the site in 1760 to create an L-shaped structure.
The Emerson family was related to the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The house then belonged to the Wilcox family in the early 19th century, a family of ship captains. A family member served as a postmaster in York.
The house has been a museum since 1954, with ten period room exhibits ranging from 1750 to 1850 featuring artefacts from the Emerson and Wilcox families as well as a small exhibition gallery.
Separately, early Sunday morning, a Dover man crashed his car in the Starbucks on Route 28 in Hooksett.