The coastal town of Rockport, Massachusetts is a tourist trap for good reason. Find ocean views, summer cottages, and the Gorton’s Seafood factory at the heart. Also, legitimate salt water taffy. But we didn’t go to Rockport for the traditional sights, we went for something a bit weirder. Actually, a whole lot weirder.
The Paper House was a passion project created by engineer Elis F. Stenman. He started it in 1922 as a summer home. Collected newspapers from neighbors and friends were first used as insulation, but when Elis realized how strong the paper was when layered, he took it to another level by making furniture. The project lasted twenty years.
Open to the public since the 1930s, The Paper House had been a relic Natalie and I have wanted to visit for some time now. It sounded almost mythic when I first heard about it. Walking inside felt surreal, and we were careful not to lean or touch anything even though we really wanted to.
The Paper House is very bizarre, but it’s also a remarkable feat. Elis Stenman’s hobby morphed into a goal he eventually achieved. Turning practically nothing into something. Paper into a suitable home. This might have been just another strange adventure for us, but it was also an example of someone putting his heart and soul into his work.