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Cape Cod Drum Cellars & Witch Doors

A Cape Cod house was sometimes built with a “drum cellar.” This is a room encircled by a brick wall, and it has a trap door overhead with steep ladder stairs up to the first floor. This is also known as a “Cape Cod basement”.

The Cape Cod “witch door” is so constructed that it appears to have a cross on its upper section and another cross on the lower section. No one really knows why they are called “witch doors”, but their beginnings may go back to the time of the Crusades. English Crusaders returning from the Holy Land nailed their swords double and crosswise on their doors as a protection against the devil.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/13/06
Categories: HistoryHouses
Keywords: cape cod house, architecture, history


Do you have any information regarding the historic age of witch doors on Cape Cod?  Are they from the 1700’s, 1800’s, or 1900s?

Do you know of any historic homes or museums that have them?  Any other references about them that you know of?


Posted by Bob Poskitt from South Dennis, MA on 09/03/08 at 11:28 AM | #

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