Indian Shutters

A few years back, I had the distinct pleasure of inspecting a 240 year old home located in Webster, NH. The home was a foreclosure and had been shut down and left abandoned and neglected for about 8 years.

As I was inspecting the home, I was marveling at the wonderful craftsmanship that went into the construction of the home and I pondered the generations of families that had lived in the home previously. The house had held up very well considering the age.

There was a beautiful library with custom built-in bookshelves encircling the room.

But there was one characteristic that was particularly fascinating to me. All of the windows in the home were equipped with Indian Shutters. There is a modern type of shutter that is referred to as Indian Shutter, but these were the definitive item – actually installed to protect the home from Indian attacks!

The shutters were perfectly concealed on each side of the window – in fact I almost missed them myself. They had graspable notches that could be used to pull the shutters out of the walls to be brought together in order to effectively block the windows off.

I had heard of these types of shutters in the past, but this was the first time I came across them. These particular shutter were all functional when I tested them.

Imagine a time when people felt it was necessary to install this feature in a home. The shutters were certainly a testament to colonial ingenuity!

What’s the old saying? My home is my castle…

At First Choice Home Inspection, we appreciate every aspect of the home!

Michael McCarty
NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316
Vermont Property Inspector License # 143.0134099
HUD 203k Consultant # P-1939

2 replies
  1. Mary Pegler
    Mary Pegler says:

    Just as an FYI, as “romantic” as the term Indian shutter might be, they were used to actually retain the heat within the space during cold months and NOT for protection against Indian attacks.

    • firstchoice
      firstchoice says:

      Hello Mary,

      My family has traced our ancestry in the United States to as far back as colonial times.

      One of my earliest memories is of my great-grandfather relating to me, how as a boy, his father and his family had withstood several attacks by Indians. One of the first things My great-great-great grandfather would do was to close the Indian Shutters, latching them from inside the home. This was to prevent Indians from breaching into the 1st floor of the home.

      Curtains were used to reduce heat loss. Indian Shutters were used for just that – protection from attacks. The gaps around the Indian Shutters that I have encountered were significant, meaning they would be impractical for preventing heat loss / drafts.

      Mike McCarty


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