The staff at the Old York Historical Society is evaluating damage to the Emerson-Wilcox House after a car crashed through the east side of the building on Saturday night.

Executive director Joel Lefever said a car traveling west on York Street hit the house around 11 p.m. and went clear through the wall into a room being used as a gallery.

The house was closed to the public in 2020 due to the pandemic and nothing was being 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 behind the wheel falling asleep 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 he is optimistic that the 15-room building can be repaired. The damage will be evaluated by an architect and structural engineer to determine the next steps of restoration.

"The house served as a post office. It's had lots and lots of different uses over the years," Lefever said.

According to the society's website, the house has also been a general store, stage tavern, tailor shop and a home.

The original house on the site burned to the ground during the Candlemas raid on York in 1692 and was rebuilt in the 1730s, Lefever said, and bought 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 poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The house was later owned by the Wilcox family in the early 19th century, a family of ship captains. One member of the family served as postmaster in York.

The house has been a museum since 1954, featuring ten period room displays ranging in date from 1750 to 1850 displaying items of the Emerson and Wilcox families plus a small exhibition gallery.

In related news, early Sunday morning, a Dover man crashed his car through the Starbucks on Route 28 in Hooksett.

Emerson-Wilcox House is York after a car crashed into its east side
Emerson-Wilcox House is York after a car crashed into its east side (Old York Historical Society)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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