March Determinations

At our March meeting, the Commission made the following determinations:

Finding so many properties on our agenda historically significant is quite unusual for our commission, but each of these properties represents an interesting aspect of Medford’s history. Together, they make a fascinating timeline of past life and work in Medford.

The small Cape Cod on Foster Court was built between 1804 and 1814, making it one of Medford’s earliest surviving examples of the architectural form for which New England is famous. The Cutter House was owned and occupied by Rebecca Cutter, the widow of a soldier in the Revolutionary War, who supported herself after his death by taking in boarders in the small cottage. Her descendents, who later inherited the house, were part of the Medford shipbuilding families of Sprague and Foster.

The stately Italianate Seaver House on Winchester St is one of the earliest remaining buildings in Ball Square, a commercial and residential neighborhood which developed around the old “Willow Bridge” station of the Boston & Lowell Railroad line. The house (ca. 1865) still has much of its beautiful exterior detail and decoration.

7 Lauriat Place (ca. 1890), in Washington Square, was one of several gold-beating workshops owned and operated by the Lauriat family – a family of scientific innovators and experimenters who settled in Medford in the 19th century. They employed highly-skilled men and women in gold-beating – creating paper-thin gold leaf.  The building itself is “an exceptionally rare survival of a small workshop for producing machine- and hand-worked artisanal goods.” Similar workshops “were once a common feature of the built environment of New England” but “have largely disappeared” and with them the history of this skilled labor as well. Quotes taken from the Lauriat Pl_7 Form B prepared by our architectural historians. 

Cinotti’s Funeral Home on High St has been a community landmark where West Medford families have honored their loved ones throughout the 20th century.

Each of these buildings will have a public hearing at our April 8 meeting, to determine if it is preferably preserved.

If a building is found preferably preserved, an 18 month delay of demolition will take place, to give the owner time to consider renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition.

 

Demo Application: 104 Winchester Street

The Medford Historical Commission has received a demolition application for the building at 104 Winchester Street. The building is a good example of mid nineteenth century residential dwelling. The Commission hired a preservation consultant to prepare an Massachusetts Historical Commission Form B to document the history.

streetview.jpg

The Commission will post additional information on this post as the building progresses through the review process.

104 Winchester Street MHC Form B

Click here for information on the South Medford neighborhood from the Survey Plan.

Demo Application: 421 High Street

The Medford Historical Commission has received an application to demolish the Cincotti Funeral Home located at 421 High Street. The building is an important part of the West Medford commercial district and was included in the area form. A recent Massachusetts Historical Commission Form B was prepared to detail the history of the building.

Street View of 421 High Street

A Google street view of the Funeral Home.

The Commission will post additional information to this page as review of this demolition proceeds.

421 High Street MHC Form B
West Medford Commercial District Area Form
Click here  for the community overview for West Medford from the Survey Plan

Demo Application: 16 Foster Court

This month the Historical Commission received an application for the demolition of a small cape located at 16 Foster Court. Foster Court is a small residential side street located off Riverside Avenue. It was originally a lane to a landing place along the Mystic River. It later became the entrance to one of many important shipyards. The lane is named for Joshua T. Foster who owned the last shipyard to operate in the area.

16 Foster Court

A view of 16 Foster Court from the street.

The house itself is a great example of an early Cape Cod style dwelling. Its early construction date places it among the few early buildings remaining in the community. The development coincides with the rise of shipbuilding in Medford.

The Historical Commission will update this page as the building moves through the review process.

16 Foster Court MHC Form B
Medford Shipbuilding Area Form
Click here for the neighborhood overview for East Medford from the Survey Plan.

Demo Application: 7 Lauriat Place

The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the demolition of the building at 7 Lauriat Place located within the Washington Square neighborhood of East Medford.

The building at 7 Lauriat Place was a large “gold-beating” or gold leaf workshop run by the Lauriat family. Louis Anselm Lauriat was an innovator of the gold leaf craft in Boston in the early 1800s; he also pursued chemical experimentation, and hydrogen aerial ballooning in cities and towns throughout New England, and as far away as Milwaukee, WI and Memphis, TN! His family moved to Medford and established a number of successful gold-beating workshops here – on Ashland St and Riverside Ave (both c. 1880) where they employed more than 40 men and women in the highly skilled technical labor. The last of the Lauriat gold leaf workshops was built on 4 Lauriat Place, in the late 1890s, with a Lauriat family residence next door at 5 Lauriat Place. Medford’s Lauriat Gold Leaf Workshop continued the craft for another 30 years until the workshop became a printing business. 

gold beating

Image from the pamphlet “The History of Gold Leaf and its Uses” published by the Boston Gold Leaf manufacturer F.W. Rauskalb, in 1915.

Medford’s Lauriat Gold Leaf Workshop has already been recommended for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Buildings by our architectural historians. The Commission will post updates below during the review process.

7 Lauriat Place MHC Form B
Washington Square Area Form
Click here for the neighborhood overview for East Medford

Demo Application: 67 Magoun

IMG_1412.JPG

The Medford Historical Commission accepted the application for the demolition of the carriage house and barn at 67 Magoun Avenue. The building, and its associated dwelling house, were once “the Medford Hospital,” a private institution that began in the early twentieth century. The c. 1895 Queen Anne buildings are located within the East Medford neighborhood. They were identified as part of a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission in 2014.

More info on the property in our Form B.

The building has been determined significant by the Commission. A letter to the clerk has been submitted and can be found here: Clerk’s Letter – 67 Magoun. The legal posting for the meeting can be found here: Legal Posting – 67 Magoun.

Dee Morris wrote an excellent article about Abby Rollins, the doctor who operated the Medford Hospital, for the Medford Transcript. The article can be found online or by viewing the PDF file here: Homeopathy and Medford by Dee Morris

[Updated January 2019 – the Commission unanimously voted the building preferably preserved and enacted an 18 month demolition delay, to consider renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition.]

Demo Application: 595 Broadway

The Medford Historical Commission received a complete application for demolition for 595 Broadway, a residential building on the Somerville-Medford border. Because of its location, the owner must go through the demolition review process in both Medford and Somerville.

The process in Somerville is similar to our own – read more here. And, to see how other neighboring towns and cities – Woburn, Arlington, Winchester –  compare, scroll down to the bottom of our page on the Demolition Review Process.

[Updated November 2018 – The Medford Historical Commission agreed with the decision of the Somerville Historical Commission and found the building to be not historically significant, so no further discussion was necessary, and a demo permit was granted.]

August Determinations

The Medford Historical Commission has made the following determinations at their August meeting:

77 Cotting St – NOT preferably preserved.

137 Damon Rd – NOT preferably preserved.

368-374 Main St – Preferably preserved, with a demolition delay of up to 18 months.

Thanks to everyone who came out to voice their concerns about three very interesting properties in Medford. Each of these buildings vividly represents the history of its unique Medford neighborhood – be it the 19th C working-class residential boom of Hillside, the grand suburban plans of Lawrence Estates or the homey and bustling streetscape of South Medford’s Little Italy. When these buildings are gone, their loss will be felt. For those who couldn’t make it, here are some details, via the Transcript.

Historically Significant

77 Cotting St,
137 Damon Rd and
368-374 Main St

have all been found historically significant. This means that a public meeting will be held on Monday, Aug 20 7 PM in the Community Room at the South Medford Fire Station, at Main and Medford Sts [was City Hall] to determine whether these historically significant buildings are also preferably preserved. After public discussion, if they are determined to be preferably preserved, a demolition delay of 18 months may be imposed. The demo delay can be lifted if the community and owner/developer can create a plan that preserves the historic character of the neighborhood.

July New Business

The Historical Commission received applications for demolition permits on houses at 137 Damon Road and 77 Cotting Street.

At the August meeting [now scheduled for Tues July 31 7 PM], the commission will determine the historical significance of these houses. If the houses are found historically significant, there will then be a public meeting in September where a demolition delay may be imposed. At this public meeting, neighbors will get the chance to meet with the owner and discuss their concerns about the property.

The Historical Commission also received an application for demolition for the commercial buildings at 368, 370, 372 and 374 Main Street. That building is home to Bocelli’s restaurant, previously DePasquale Bros., and supposedly the first restaurant in the region, outside of Boston’s North End, to serve pizza!  The building now also houses the Backstreet Salon and Jason Anthony Formal Wear.

The process is the same for commercial buildings.