Paper House


In 1922, long before there was any municipal recycling program, Elis F Stenman decided that something useful should be done with all those daily newspapers lying about. He and his family set to work folding, rolling and pasting the papers into suitable shapes as building materials. Twenty years and 100,000 newspapers later, they had built the Paper House.

The walls are 215 layers thick, and the furnishings – table, chairs, lamps, sofa, even a grandfather clock and a piano – are all made of newspaper. Some pieces even specialize: one desk is made from Christian Science Monitor reports of Charles Lindbergh’s flight, and the fireplace mantel is made from rotogravures drawn from the Boston Sunday Herald and the New York Herald Tribune. The text is still legible on all of the newspapers, so there's built-in reading material (literally).

The Paper House is inland from Pigeon Cove. From MA 27, take Curtiss St to Pigeon Hill St.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Massachusetts attractions

1. Halibut Point State Park & Reservation

1.27 MILES

Only a few miles north of Dock Sq along MA 127 is Halibut Point Reservation. A 10-minute walk through the forest brings you to yawning, abandoned granite…

2. Motif No 1

1.38 MILES

The red fishing shack decorated with colorful buoys is known as Motif No 1, since it has been captured by so many artists for so many years. (Actually, it…

3. Long Beach

3.12 MILES

Some claim that Long Beach, which straddles the Rockport–Gloucester border, is the best beach on the North Shore. It is lovely indeed – ideal for swimming…

4. Wingaersheek Beach

3.56 MILES

The biggest and best of Cape Ann's beaches is Wingaersheek Beach, a wide swath of sand surrounded by Ipswich Bay and guarded by Annisquam Lighthouse.

5. Good Harbor Beach


East of East Gloucester, on the way to Rockport, Good Harbor Beach is a spacious, sandy stretch surrounded by dunes. Walk out to Salt Island at low tide.

6. Cape Ann Museum


This small museum is a gem – particularly for its paintings by Gloucester native Fitz Henry Lane. Exhibits also showcase the region's granite-quarrying…

7. Maritime Gloucester

4.45 MILES

Visit Gloucester's working waterfront and see the ongoing restoration of wooden boats, watch the operation of a marine railway that hauls ships out of the…

8. North Shore Arts Association

4.48 MILES

With some 600 members, this vibrant local arts association has been hosting exhibits and performances since 1922. Visit the lovely harborside setting to…