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.

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

October 2021 Agenda

We will be making a number of demolition decisions this month: first on the agenda, the Historical Commission will be determining whether the home at 75 Clewley Road is preferably preserved. We will also be voting on whether properties at 29 Summer Street, 209 Park Street and 290 Salem Street are historically significant. And we will be reviewing applications for demolition for properties at Third Street and Manning Street.

Historically Significant – 75 Clewley Road, West Medford

75 Clewley Road, West Medford

At last night’s monthly, public historical commission meeting the commission unanimously decided that the home at 75 Clewley Road was historically significant – based on its scale, age and Craftsman architectural detail, and its contribution to the character of its West Medford neighborhood.

Next month’s public meeting will include a vote on whether or not 75 Clewley Road is preferably preserved. An official announcement of this will be publicized later this month.

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.

84 Cotting Street, Hillside

A similar house at 84 Cotting Street, in Hillside, split the vote and was found to be NOT historically significant.

90 Alexander Avenue, South Medford

Finally, a house of similar age that had suffered a fire and been substantially rebuilt, at 90 Alexander Avenue in South Medford, was found by unanimous vote to be NOT historically significant.

Representatives for the owners, architects and/or developers of these properties were present – and identified – at our Zoom meeting. More information on all of these properties can be found in the Forms B here.

29 Summer Street, Medford Square South*

209 Park Street & 290 Salem Street, Haines Square

The commission also received complete applications for demolition permission for properties at 29 Summer Street, in Medford Square South, and for buildings on two neighboring parcels in Haines Square – a carriage house at 209 Park Street and a one-story commercial building at 290 Salem Street. Votes on the historical significance of these properties will take place at next month’s public meeting.

75 Clewley Road – Historically Significant

July Agenda

We will be determining the historical significance of properties whose applications for demolition were submitted last month – including properties in Hillside and Haines Square. Zoom details in the agenda.

109 Forest Street Application Materials:

109 Forest Street as seen looking toward the northeast in 2019 prior to the construction of the new houses in the rear and right yards.

The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for a partial demolition of the building located at 109 Forest Street on the corner of Webster Street. The Commission has previously reviewed this building which has since been sold. The proposal calls for the demolition of a porch and new construction on one side, therefore burying one facade. The building is subject to review under the demolition delay ordinance. A determination of significance has already been made for this property and as a result, it has moved directly to a public hearing to determine of demolition of the building will be detrimental to the City of Medford.

7 Vine Street Application Materials:

The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the partial demolition of 7-9 Vine Street in East Medford. An 18th century building, the structure is one of a handful which maintains a true period gambrel roof. The building has been heavily altered and is slated to be altered beyond recognition which has prompted a demolition delay review for this property.

MHC Form A for Washington Square Area which includes information on 7-9 Vine among others

Click here for the neighborhood overview for East Medford from the Survey Plan.

33 Vine Street Application Materials:

Like the above property, 33 Vine is a building slated to be altered beyond recognition. The building is a nineteenth century parlor bypass structure. The form was developed in the Boston area and employed extensively in the refined homes of Medford.

30 Dearborn Street Application Materials:

This house is a great example of a classic American Bungalow. It represents a growing community in the early 20th century.

Spring Decisions

We have spent the spring making the usual determinations, as redevelopment continues to affect all of Medford’s neighborhoods. Here’s a summary, though more info is always available in our agendas & minutes.

202 Middlesex Avenue

Found historically significant at our October 2020 meeting, and preferably preserved at our March meeting. Between October 2020 and March 2021 the building’s owners reconsidered their plans and the building changed hands.

104 Harvard Street

Found historically significant at our March meeting, and preferably preserved at our April meeting.

34 Linden Avenue

Found NOT historically significant at our April meeting.

174 Fulton Street

Found NOT historically significant at our April meeting.

This spring we’ve also been making two other kinds of decisions regularly, and we’ll try to post more about those soon, but, in brief,

A) We have been working with the Building Department to review permits for projects that involve large scale exterior renovations & rehabs, or partial demolitions – to make sure that true “demos” do come before us. And . . .

B) We’ve been officially designating public buildings throughout Medford “historically significant” so that their stewards can apply for Community Preservation Funding from Preserve Medford, to preserve the historic beauty and detail of these buildings. These public buildings – all of them prominent neighborhood landmarks – have included the Chevalier Theatre on Forest Street, as well as the Curtis Tufts School in South Medford, the Groundskeepers’ Buildings at Oak Grove Cemetery, and fire stations throughout Medford. We have also deemed the tennis courts at Dugger Park part of a historically significant landscape – for similar preservation purposes.

Follow us, and Preserve Medford, for more on this process and to show support for historic preservation in your neighborhood.

Curtis Tufts School, Main Street, Medford