FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Historic District Commission has approved a proposal plan for the restoration of the Peter and Sarah Clayes house.
Once the renovations are completed, the home will be put on the market for a buyer looking for a single-family home.
The house, built in 1693, is in desperate need of work. Built by Peter and Sarah Clayes, it is located at 657 Salem End Road. The couple built the house after fleeing the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.
An important piece of history, the main goal is to restore the house and preserve its original character, rather than repair it and completely alter its integrity.
The restoration project has been in the works for a long time, and came before the Framingham Historic District Commission for approval in July.
The project is estimated to cost between $400,000 to $600,000, and the project recently secured financing.
According to the restoration team, “most of the interior would work and can stay,” and they are confident they can “retain the character of [the house]”.
There are two sheds on the property that will be torn down, as they are too damaged to be used. But pieces from the sheds will be saved to use where they are needed on the main house. This will help preserve the original look of the house.
As the foundation of the house isn’t stable, the contractors said they will have to fortify the foundation with concrete and stone.
The windows also will have to be replaced. Even though the new windows will have aluminum on them, the restoration team assured the Commission the windows would look as close to the original ones as possible. The dimensions of openings where the windows will go will reveal the original light patterns of the windows. The contractors plan on installing windows that have the same light patterns as the originals.
The shutters on the windows also need work. The shutters on the house are in usable condition., however, the shutters missing were discovered under piles of decay and are unusable.
The Framingham Historic District Commission decided that if shutters are to be incorporated into the design, they need to be made of wood.
Ned, the main contractor of this project, assured the Commission he would take every detail seriously, saying that ” [his] goal is to really restore [the entire house] and not to just make one side of it look fine.”
He said he is looking forward to the restoration and joked that it will be a “fun project, provided there aren’t any witches in there.”
Once the restorations are completed, the house will be put up for sale as a single family home.
However, there will be restrictions placed on the house.
The house has been approved as a historic district. The house will retain preservation easement, applying to both the town and the state levels.
Sue Bernstein, a realtor and member of the Historic District Commission, was pleased with the decision.
“Thank goodness we made this house a historic district” said Bernstein.
About Sarah Clayes and the House
Sarah Clayes, whose original last name was Cloyes, was imprisoned during the Salem Witch Trials. She and her two sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Eastey, were accused of witchcraft. All three women spent the summer of 1692 in shackles. Though her sisters were killed, Sarah survived.
Once Sarah was released from prison, she and her husband fled to the area that is now the Town of Framingham. The area was previously known as “Danforth’s Farms,” because it was owned by Thomas Danforth, who was the Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Sarah and Peter lived in caves throughout the winter of 1693 before building the famous house. They changed their last name to Clayes so as to protect their identities. Sarah Clayes died in 1704.