Thomas Brooks Park: An Update!

If you drive down Grove Street, you may have noticed that work is underway at Thomas Brooks Park. There are two separate projects that are being completed by two different preservation professionals. Work is entirely funded by the City of Medford’s Community Preservation Committee and we thank them for their support.

Pomp’s Wall Restoration:

Masonry expert Richard McGrath of Lunenburg recently removed the capstones of the eighteenth century brick wall. This is the first step for conservation work. It revealed what we expected – extensive deterioration to the inside of the wall structure that must be repaired. This element is of special importance to Medford. It is one of two extant reminders of slavery. The bricks were assembled by Pompeii, a slave owned by Thomas Brooks. Pompeii and several other African Americans lived on the land that is now Thomas Brooks Park. The site was a gift to the City from the Brooks family with the stipulation that we forever care for wall then known as “The Old Slave Wall.”

Field Stone Wall Restoration:

Mark Neves of M. Neves, Inc. is responsible for the restoration of the granite field stone wall along the remainder of Grove Street. The wall was constructed in two different phases. The northern end is an eighteenth century feature, while the southern end is nineteenth century. The wall will be repaired to its historic height, and new openings placed at regular intervals opposite intersections. The intent is to make the park safer by directing users to locations where crosswalks would be found (for example, at street intersections). To facilitate work, a team of tree care specialists came through to remove dead or invasive vegetation within five feet of the backside of the wall. This has exposed many of the historic trees, that will remain. By removing some of the invasive, it will encourage the existing mature trees to grow. We are the stewards of these century old landmarks and we want nothing more than for them to thrive.

Work will continue over the next several months so stay tuned for additional updates!

February Meeting Materials

Enclosed in this post are the two Massachusetts Historical Commission inventory forms for buildings that will be discussed this evening.

The Historical Commission uses this information in order to determine if a building is significant. There are many different ways a building can be significant. The reasons sometime include architectural importance, relationship to notable persons or events, or part of the broad patterns of history that define the neighborhood, city or Commonwealth. We encourage folks to write in if they have opinions on the matter in advance of the meeting.

Also in the news, tree work did in fact start today at Thomas Brooks Park! We are clearing scrub, dead, and invasive trees within 5′ of the wall in order to facilitate its restoration. The tree warden and city departments are aware this work is taking place. While doing a walk through, we noted a memorial mid-way in the park that is in the way of construction. We will be taking this down for safe keeping and will find a suitable place to return it to at the end of construction. If you are or know the person who put this up and would like to hold onto it, please reach out to us!

November Meeting Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will host a public meeting on Monday, November 14, 2022. The agenda is enclosed for those who want to follow along. The meeting is via Zoom, or it is sometimes broadcast on Medford Community Media. A recording is also available a day or two following so you can watch this and past meetings in the archive hosted on their website.

There are two buildings which will be reviewed for significance. The first is 31 South Street, a nineteenth century residential duplex that is slated to be altered beyond recognition. The second is 180 Lincoln Road which will be totally demolished and new building replacing the existing at a later time. The Commission will use the enclosed inventory forms to base their opinions.

The remainder of the meeting will be dedicated to project updates. As always, we welcome community participation. If you have any questions, please email us anytime!

October Meeting Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will hold its October meeting on Monday, October 17 at 7PM via Zoom. Our agenda has been posted to our website but you can also find it here:

The Commission will receive two applications. The first is for a residential dwelling at 31 South Street, which is slated to be altered beyond recognition and is therefore subject to the demolition delay review. The second is a total demolition for the building located at 180 Lincoln Road in Medford.

The Commission will then move forward with a determination of significance for 8 Hamlin Avenue. This building appears to be a late 19th century house that was altered following a major fire. It’s present appearance is more in line with the other 20th century buildings in East Medford.

As a reminder, you can learn all about our demolition delay process on our page here and in our application package. The public is always welcome to engage in the process. We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting.

October Hearing Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will hold a public hearing on the demolition of 16 Foster Court to determine if the demolition is detrimental to the historical, architectural, or cultural resources of the City of Medford. The meeting agenda and related materials are included below. Hope to see you there!

16 Foster Court, an early nineteenth century cape. This resource is one a handful of early buildings in East Medford.

June Meeting Materials

We have a packed meeting coming up. Here are the materials for the general public to read so you can follow along with the discussions:

130 Boston Avenue as seen from the sidewalk.

130 Boston Avenue: We will be determining the preferably preserved status of this late nineteenth century Queen Anne Victorian. You can read all about the home’s history in the MHC form B. This state level inventory form is the standard for all our determinations and is generally used for every building reviewed under the demolition delay ordinance.

130 Boston Avenue – MHC Form B

At our last meeting, we also voted to add additional contextual information for this and the other property along Boston Avenue up for review. Those forms are included here:

We will be receiving demolition applications for the following properties:

  • 10/12 Newcomb Street
  • 43 Wright Avenue
  • 85 Fern Road
  • 50 Winthrop Street
  • 2-4 Capen Street
  • 80 Canal Street

Following acceptance of these applications, we will proceed with determinations of significance. A building can be found significant for a number of reasons. Straight from the bylaw, a building is significant either because:

(1) Has been listed in or is the subject of a pending application for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; or

(2) Has been listed in the Massachusetts Register of Historic Places; or

(3)Was built within 75 years or older and which is determined by the commission to be a significant building as provided by subsection 48-78(d) either because:

a. It is importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic, or social history of the city or the commonwealth; or

b. It is historically or architecturally important in terms of period, style, method of building construction, or association with an important architect or builder, either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings.

The following buildings are up for review:

20 Otis Street: The applicants have proposed to demolish the adjacent carriage house. Their dwelling is a late nineteenth century Victorian situated in East Medford. This particular area is home to high concentrations of priority buildings.

76 Sharon Street: Another unique West Medford Victorian, this house is slated to be altered beyond recognition. The Commission will review the partial demolition and determine if the building meets the criteria for significance.

The interior of 76 Sharon Street in West Medford from Redfin.

136 Boston Avenue: This property has been halted by the building commissioner for failure to complete review under the demolition delay ordinance. The building is being reviewed after demolition has taken place to determine if the remaining integrity warrants additional review.

4054 Mystic Valley Parkway: The applicants of this building are proposing total demolition to make way for new lab and office space.

The Commission provided comments on this project as part of ongoing site plan review. As part of this, we were deeply concerned that the plan does not take into account the impacts to the adjacent parkway, nor the adjacent art decco building at 4068 Mystic Valley Parkway. You can see that form below:

There are a few projects currently under delay which we will take up discussion for release:

  • 17 Edwards Street – The Commission has completed documentation of this building and is ready to release the delay.
  • 78 Cotting Street – The Commission subcommittee presented the proposed design which mitigates demolition to this important early nineteenth century resource. The Commission will debate lifting the delay this evening. Please see prior months for the architectural plans, which have been posted for a month.

The Commission will share plans for 69 Jerome and post them up here once the subcommittee has completed review of final tweaks by the homeowner.

There are new developments at 15 Hadley Place, which apparently no longer calls for demolition of the existing structure. The Commission will review the changed scope of work.

Beyond the above, we will provide updates to all the great projects which are happening in the City! These are exciting times! We hope to see you this evening!

Volunteers Wanted for Archaeological Dig!

Channel Your Inner Indiana Jones!

The Medford Historical Commission is seeking 20 volunteers to participate in an archeological dig at Thomas Brooks Park.

Participants must be a minimum of 18 years old and be available during the week of June 6th, with potential spillover into the week of June 13th. Participants will work 1 full day, Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm with a 30 minute lunch break. All volunteers must participate in a 1 hour orientation on the morning of Day 1.

If there are more than 20 volunteers, a lottery drawing will be held and participants will be assigned a day. If you are unable to work your assigned day, another volunteer will be chosen.

Digging will take place during inclement weather. Volunteers do not need to bring any equipment but must wear close-toed boots/shoes with good ankle support. Flip flops are not allowed. Participants are welcome to bring their own gardening gloves and/or knee pads. Volunteers must provide their own lunch and water.

If you are interested, please email the Medford Historical Commission at

May Meeting Materials

We have a busy month coming up and we want to make sure that information is readily available to the general public so they may submit comments at or in advance of the meeting on May 9. In this post, you will find the MHC forms for the various demolition delays, as well as some updates on projects that we are working on with applicants already under delay. Our agenda has been posted on our website. If there are questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out. Comments always welcome in advance of the meeting and may be submitted via email or regular mail (via City Hall).

Public Hearing – 69 Jerome Street:

69 Jerome Street as seen from the sidewalk. The building was constructed by noted designer and builder Moses W. Mann of West Medford.

The Commission will hold a public hearing to determine if the partial demolition of 69 Jerome Street is detrimental to the resources of the City of Medford. Information for the property can be found below:

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

Determination of Significance:

The Medford Historical Commission will determine significance of the following properties:

130 Boston Avenue:

52 Allston Street:

232 Fulton Street:

146 Summer Street:

Site Plan Review4054 Mystic Valley Parkway:

The Commission will be receiving and accepting the demolition application for the Bertuccis building at 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway. We have also been invited to comment on the proposed development. The industrial brick building was constructed c. 1945 as a potato factory and has undergone a number of transformations over the years. The Commission will be determining significance at the June meeting. In the meantime, you can read the form below.

The public should be aware that information about the proposed development, which is currently undergoing review by other boards, can be found on the City of Medford’s website.

4068 Mystic Valley Parkway:

4068 Mystic Valley Parkway – the WEEI Radio Transmission Station. Built in 1936, it is one of the oldest radio buildings in the Commonwealth.

We commissioned this form in response to proposed development located at 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway. The WEEI building is an important example of Art Decco architecture. It is still used as a radio broadcast station and has been recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Coming Up for Review:

The Commission will be accepting applications for the demolition of the following properties:
– 20 Otis Street Carriage House
– 76 Sharon Street
– 136 Boston Avenue
– 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway (already mentioned above)
Information and Forms will be posted before the next meeting.

76 Sharon Street, an intricate nineteenth century Victorian building slated to altered beyond recognition and subject to review under the demolition delay ordinance.

Demolition Delay Committee Updates:

78 Cotting Street: The demolition delay subcommittee provided initial comments to the owners of 78 Cotting Street. The owner’s architect has made changes which seek to mitigate the demolition proposed for the building. The Commission invites the public to review the proposed plans and provide feedback, either in advance of, or at the meeting. The latest version is at the bottom of this list.The Commission will then review the next steps, if any, for the project.

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.