New Member Needed!

Medford Historical Commission Call for Letters of Interest

The Medford Historical Commission seeks letters of interest from qualified individuals within the Medford community to serve on our board.

The Medford Historical Commission was established under Section 8d of Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws and Chapter 48 of the Medford Municipal Ordinances. The Commission is the official City body charged with the identification of properties and sites of historical significance and is the principal advisor to the City on matters relating to historic preservation. The Commission is further charged with reviewing all requests for demolition of buildings that are 75 years or older and/or are listed on the National and Massachusetts Registers of Historic Places, in accordance with the City’s demolition delay ordinance.

Currently, we are specifically seeking applicants with experience in archaeology, historic preservation and/or law to round out our membership. Interested applicants may contact the Commission for further information. Please include your name and contact information, as well as any supporting materials. Candidates may be contacted by the commission for an interview. The commission shall then present a list of nominees to the Mayor for final selection and appointment. Those selected to serve on the board generally serve three years.

Please visit our website to review our most recent cases, blog posts and meeting minutes. Our website address is http://www.medfordhistoricalcommission.org

Please a resume and submit letter of interest via email to: 

Medford Historical Commission Call for Letters of Interest

The Medford Historical Commission seeks letters of interest from qualified individuals within the Medford community to serve on our board.

The Medford Historical Commission was established under Section 8d of Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws and Chapter 48 of the Medford Municipal Ordinances. The Commission is the official City body charged with the identification of properties and sites of historical significance and is the principal advisor to the City on matters relating to historic preservation. The Commission is further charged with reviewing all requests for demolition of buildings that are 75 years or older and/or are listed on the National and Massachusetts Registers of Historic Places, in accordance with the City’s demolition delay ordinance.

Currently, we are specifically seeking applicants with experience in archaeology, historic preservation and/or law to round out our membership. Interested applicants may contact the Commission for further information. Please include your name and contact information, as well as any supporting materials. Candidates may be contacted by the commission for an interview. The commission shall then present a list of nominees to the Mayor for final selection and appointment. Those selected to serve on the board generally serve three years.

Please visit our website to review our most recent cases, blog posts and meeting minutes. Our website address is http://www.medfordhistoricalcommission.org

Please a resume and submit letter of interest via email to:

Jennifer M. Keenan
Commission Chair
email: historicalcommission@medford-ma.gov

Medford Historical Commission
c/o Office of Planning and Community Development
Medford City Hall
85 George P. Hassett Drive
Medford, MA 02155

February Meeting Materials

We have a number of cases to review this month. In this post, you will find a number of inventory forms and related reports that the Commission uses to make its determinations. We will post our agenda on Wednesday after it is filed.

Neighborhood context reports can be found here: MHC Survey Plans and Neighborhood Overviews

33 Third Street Public Hearing:

The Thompson-Sinclair House was determined significant at our last meeting. The Medford Historical Commission will hold a public hearing to determine if the demolition of the building would be detrimental to the City of Medford. Public participation in the hearing is encouraged.

78 Cotting Street as seen from a recent Zillow view.

78 Cotting Street Application Materials:

This building has a colorful history dating back to the early nineteenth century. The land was once owned by members of the Adams family of Braintree/Quincy. The farm is referenced in several of their correspondence and was constructed before the 1850s. Stylistically, it is a great example of early building efforts in the Hillside neighborhood.

The Cotting Street Area Form provides a bit of information about the streetscape and how the lane got its name. There’s loads of information on all the houses on the street.

17 Edwards Street Application Materials:

17 Edwards Street is part of a collection of Victorian end houses that were constructed by the same developer at the end of the nineteenth century. The building has been stripped of its asbestos siding, revealing original detail and character from its original construction. The Commission will be determining significance at its next meeting.

This building has a striking resemblance to another end house we reviewed years ago. 6 Rockwell (since demolished) was the subject of a six-month demolition delay. Efforts to find a mover to relocate the building failed so it was extensively documented before demolition. The information gleaned can help us learn more about Edwards Street and other properties of similar vintage.

64 Court Street Application Materials:

Up for consideration is this small nineteenth-century building which will be altered beyond recognition. The building has many articulations in its complex massing which give it a fair degree of character. The Commission will determine significance at the next meeting.

St. Clements School at 595 Boston Avenue:

The Community Preservation Committee has requested the Commission determine if the St. Clements Elementary School at 595 Boston Avenue is significant. The Commission will make the determination based on the area form which was prepared for the church campus.

We encourage everyone to write in comments to us about these proposed projects. We take them into consideration when making our determinations. Please email us using the contact form on our website. If you just want to listen in, most of our meetings are live-streamed on the community channel and available after the fact on their website.

January Agenda

Here’s the agenda for the first meeting of the year, with Zoom details included. Join us! And start 2022 with a look back at some interesting buildings, and a look forward, to where Medford is headed in the new year. We have planned one vote on “preferably preserved,” 3 votes on “historical significance” and review of 2 new applications. With so many cases, we’ll be all over the map – Hillside, Fulton Heights, Wellington, Forest Street and South Medford.

December Applications

At our December meeting the MHC voted to accept three applications for demolition review – this simply means that we have reviewed the application and found it to be complete and sufficient to begin the demolition review process. When we accept applications, this DOES NOT mean that demolition permits will be granted.

Now, the case can advance to the next stage, which is demolition review. After an application is accepted, a Form B, prepared by our contracted architectural historians, will be prepared for the property in question. The commissioners will review the form and, at the meeting of the following month, decide whether or not the property is historically significant.

If it is historically significant, the property will be reviewed at a third meeting, to determine if the property is preferably preserved.

This month, applications were accepted for demolition review for properties at –

93 Wason Street, where the application was submitted by East Coast Buyers LLC of West Babylon NY;

28 Chester Avenue, where the application was submitted by Moacir Fihlo and Quinn Bushe of Medford, MA; and

33 Third Street, where the application was submitted by owner/occupant Chung Lee.

For further news of these cases, look for them to appear on the agenda next month, when we will vote on historical significance.

Preferably Preserved Decisions | Dec 2021

Despite the fact that work has already altered the footprint, massing and exterior appearance of the home at 160 Forest (pictured), the property was voted Historically Significant in a 5-0 vote. The Commissioners based their decision on information in the Form B, which our architectural surveyors had created as part of the Historic District Commission’s effort to document the older properties along Forest Street – north of the old High School, the Chevalier Theater and the Post Office – for the purposes of creating a more protective historic district in the area.

The developers should have, of course, applied for a demo permit before beginning work of this scale but this does not prevent the commission from following the due process and, possibly, delaying further development if the house is found to be “Preferably Preserved.” This decision will be made at next month’s meeting after a public announcement of the demolition of the structure.

We also voted 5-0 to lift demo delay on both 29 Summer and 75 Clewley, pending final approved plans from the sub-committee currently reviewing their plans. Both these properties were found to be Preferably Preserved in 2021.

The house at 17 Manning Street was voted to be Preferably Preserved and we are now actively working with the owner on revised designs.

Whenever a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18-month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider sale, renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition. However, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18-month period, if a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission. The applicant is always invited to return to the Commission’s upcoming public meetings to present plans and alternatives and to discuss the preservation concerns that their neighbors and the commission have; often the applicant works directly with a subcommittee that can help them develop appropriate plans.

December Agenda

Our last meeting of 2021 and the agenda is up!! The Historical Commission will be determining whether or not 17 Manning Street, in Medford Square South, is preferably preserved. The Form B, which describes both the home’s architecture and its social history is available here –

We will also determine whether or not the house that has already been substantially alerted, at 160 Forest Street, was historically significant before renovation began.

We will also be receiving applications for demolition review – for properties in Fulton Heights, Hillside & Wellington and Medford Square.

November Decisions

By unanimous vote, we voted the building at 29 Summer Street preferably preserved.

When a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18-month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider sale, renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition. However, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18-month period, if a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission. The applicant is always invited to return to the Commission’s upcoming public meetings to present plans and alternatives and to discuss the preservation concerns that their neighbors and the commission have.

We also voted the house at nearby 17 Manning Street historically significant.

And accepted an application – submitted by the 106 School Street LLC of Woburn, MA – for demolition review for the home at 160 Forest Street.

October Decisions

75 Clewley Road

The home at 75 Clewley Road was voted preferably preserved in a 3-2 vote, with supporters of preservation citing the Craftsman detail, scale and size of the home as elements that contributed to the character of the West Medford neighborhood.

Thanks to the Medford residents who attended to voice their opinions, in this case, in favor of preservation.

Residents who spoke in favor of preserving the home at 75 Clewley Road felt strongly and saw the redevelopment of the property as part of a larger trend in Medford, where redevelopment is taking place without consideration of residents’ needs or wants, and without a master plan, and with the financial interests of developers, not residents, first and foremost.

When a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18-month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider sale, renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition. However, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18-month period, if a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission. The applicant is always invited to return to the Commission’s upcoming public meetings to present plans and alternatives and to discuss the preservation concerns that their neighbors and the commission have.

29 Summer Street

The building at 29 Summer Street – now a two-family home – was unanimously voted historically significant, based on the age of the building and its association with the Hall family of Medford. These two factors, among others, led our architectural historians to recommend it’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. There is the possibility that this building was once the Union Street School, an early public building built a few blocks east of the present location, on Union Street, in what our architectural historians call Medford Square South, the mixed commercial and residential neighborhood that developed south of the river in the mid 1800s.

At our November Meeting we will decide whether this building is also preferably preserved.

290 Salem Street and 209 Park Street

Finally, the commercial building at 290 Salem Street and the carriage house at 209 Park Street were both found to be not historically significant – the vote on the commercial building was unanimous, the vote on the carriage house was 3-2.

29 Summer Street, Medford