Experts drool when they see Luther Sampson's shop — even though it contains no tools. Any why should it, when Luther has been gone for so long?

Luther Sampson was a joiner (a carpenter who produced and installed millwork) in Duxbury, Massachusetts in the late 1700's. His shop was rediscovered last summer, making it the oldest known woodworking shop in the U.S. on its original site. In recent years, this vinyl-sided building had been used for storage and no one appreciated its importance. Fortunately, restoration carpenter Michael Burrey (who was working on a nearby building) managed to get inside. Once there, he recognized the interior for what it was — a largely intact 18th-century joiners shop. The tools may be gone but the original benches and tool racks are still there, and to the trained eye they indicate how tools were used to produce trim, doors, and other millwork.

The Boston Globe published an interesting story about the shop and Architectural historian Jeff Klee posted this excellent set of captioned photos on Flikr.