FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Historical Commission is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Preservation Achievement Awards. These projects have helped to preserve and promote important pieces of Framingham’s history.
They will be honored on Thursday, May 25 at 7 pm, at the Edgell Grove Cemetery Chapel, 53 Grove Street.
Trustees of Edgell Grove Cemetery – Edgell Grove Cemetery Chapel, 53 Grove Street
Constructed in 1885 with a bequest from prominent Framingham resident Colonel Moses Edgell, the Edgell Grove Cemetery Chapel was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by architect Frank Hurd. With a funding from Charles Long, the Edgell Grove Cemetery Trustees undertook a major campaign to repair and restore the building in 2011. Exterior work included repairing mortar joints in the stonework, clearcoating and waterproofing the building, and repairs to the roof flashing and gutters. Inside, work included repairs to ceiling joists, the fireplace, chimney and plaster, the space was repainted, and the ceiling and light fixtures were repaired.
Daughters of the American Revolution, Framingham Chapter – Rev. John Swift House Marker, 129 Maple Street
Hidden on a small plot of land in a residential neighborhood stands a granite marker denoting the location of the house of Framingham’s first minister, the Reverend John Swift (1678/9-1745). Placed on the site on June 17, 1911 by the Framingham Historical and Natural History Society (now the Framingham History Center), the marker provides an overview of Rev. Swift’s life, including his 44 years of service to the people of Framingham as their first settled minister.
In recent years the marker suffered from a lack of care, with the site becoming overgrown and the marker itself in poor condition. In 2016, the Framingham Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution undertook a project to clean the site of overgrowth, landscape it, and repair the marker. The stone and bronze tablet were cleaned, with the tablet reset on the stone.
Mark & Carol Seto and Francis Miele – John Johnson House, 660 Pleasant Street
The c. 1870 house at 660 Pleasant Street was constructed by John and Polly (Hemenway) Johnson. The family lived in the building through the end of the nineteenth century, when it became part of a large gentleman’s farm. The farm was broken up in the middle of the twentieth century, and by 2004 the house was faced with demolition. The Italianate and Colonial Revival style house was in poor condition, and stood on a large lot that looked ripe for a small subdivision.
Because the house was more than 75 years old, it was subject to the Town’s Demolition Delay By-law. The Historical Commission voted to impose a six-month delay on the demolition of the building, allowing them time to work with the property owner to see if there was a way to save the building. Francis Miele subdivided the property, creating two new lots while preserving the historic house and porte-cochere. He sold the house to Mark and Carol Seto, who have worked to rehabilitate the building.
Thomas Schuetz & Joan Petracca and Gerald Couto, AIA – Dr. Peter Parker House, 613 Salem End Road
Perhaps one of Framingham’s most notable residents, Dr. Peter Parker (1804-1888) served as a religious and medical missionary for many years in China. A graduate of Framingham Academy, Dr. Parker attended Yale University, graduating with degrees in theology (1833) and medicine (1834). He spent 23 years in China, working first as a missionary and later as a diplomat, and simultaneous to both as a medical doctor. Dr. Parker and his wife Harriet Webster Parker built the house in the late 1860s, to serve as their summer residence while they lived in Washington, DC.
The house was constructed on the site of the Parker family homestead where Dr. Parker had been born. The Italianate style building suffered from inappropriate alterations in the middle of the twentieth century, including the removal of a large tower on the building. In 2007 and 2008, owners Thomas Schuetz and Joan Petracca, with the assistance of architect Gerald Couto, AIA, worked to restore the building. They removed siding and later additions, using historic photographs of the house to restore features such as the window placement, trim, and porches. Advocates, Inc.
Charles Russell Train House
Constructed in the late 1850s, the Charles Russell Train was adapted to the Colonial Revival style in the 1890s after a fire in the building. The house was converted to a nursing home in 1950, with several alterations to the exterior. After Advocates, Inc. purchased the building in 2003, they completed a major rehabilitation that sensitively restored the building’s appearance while allowing them to continue its use as a group home. Although the surrounding area on the Centre Common was established as Framingham’s first local historic district in 1978, the Charles Russell Train House was not included in the district at that time. However in 2006 Advocates, Inc. voluntarily brought their plans before the Historic District Commission, which approved of the work. After the work was completed, the property was added to the Centre Common Historic District in 2008.