Meet Your Commissioners-Edward Wiest

Our newest member, Edward Wiest, shares this about his love for Medford, its architecture and its history:

Our family blundered into becoming temporary custodians of Medford’s Edward Oakes House – earliest elements erected c. 1729, moved to current site 1977 – more than 30 years ago.  We’re still there. I am on on the Commission now to continue paying forward the work of Joseph Valeriani, Greg and Maia Henderson, John Hand, Fred Knox and many others who preserved the home in which we have lived so long, and the history of Medford as a whole.

The Oakes House, in what the commisson’s neighborhood surveyors now call “Medford Square South,” with its distinctive roof line – which could be described as both gambrel and saltbox. Photo from MACRIS.

Oakes House MACRIS


MedHC March Mtg Delayed

Apologies for the short notice but . . . tonight’s meeting will be delayed until next week. The March meeting of the Medford Historical Commission will be held at 6:30 on Monday, March 19th.

Due to LAST week’s snow storm (and City Hall being closed), our agenda could not be submitted by the deadline for open meeting requirements. So, we need to postpone our meeting to be in compliance.

Join us! Weather permitting, we’ll be discussing the Historical Society’s plans for a driveway at the Peter Tufts House and a proposed demolition on Logan Street, as well as our budget, our annual report for 2017, our upcoming CPA projects and our ongoing survey project. Full agenda here, as always.

Meet Your Commissioners-Abigail Salerno

Now, a word from the current webmaster of the Medford Historical Commission website, me – Abigail Salerno. I also administer the Commission’s ongoing neighborhood-by-neighborhood survey of historical buildings, landmarks and public spaces.

I recently moved to Medford with my young family and I am interested in neighborhood history, and the similarities and differences in the historical development of Philadelphia and Boston – two beautiful areas that I’ve lived in and loved. I enjoy walking in the Fells and riding my bicycle “over the river and through the woods” on our expanding network of trails.

Below, Annie Londonderry – Boston resident and the first woman to bicycle around the world. Illustration (and more info) from the Jewish Women’s Archive, in Brookline, MA.


Medford’s History Happy Hour

The Medford Historical Society is hosting a History Happy Hour 2.0


This Friday evening, March 2, at 6:30 PM at the Historical Society on Governors Ave. The event promises to share a brief history of 20th C Medford “in five events – a mural, a map, a highway, a fire and a Bicentennial.” Beverages from the Medford Brewing Co. will be available.

Find details, and RSVP on Facebook.

Image via DigBoston.

Meet Your Commissioners-Jennifer Keenan

Next up, Commissioner and current Vice-Chair, Jennifer Keenan, who shares the following:

I’ve officially been a Medford resident since 2006, but my roots go deeper as my father had his business here during the 70s and 80s. I am proud to call myself a local Realtor®, and I love being able to do my small part each day to make Medford a better place for all. If you come to my house you’ll find tea instead of coffee, steak instead of seafood, and cookies instead of brownies. In my next life I want to be a rock star, but for now I am wife to Melvin and mom to furbaby Dallas.

From Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth collection, photo titled “Teens Frolic in Medford Square,” 1972, by photographer Spencer Grant.

Medford Teens

Join Medford’s Cemetery Board

Support Medford’s historic cemeteries and serve on the city’s Cemetery Board of Trustees. The mayor is looking for new board members, more info via the Transcript.

Medford’s two remaining cemeteries – the Oak Grove Cemetery and the Salem Street Burying Ground – offer contemporary Medford residents insight into our “civic ancestors,” as local historian and cemetery trustee Dee Morris (pictured below) puts it. Salem Street holds colonial families in the heart of Medford Square, while Oak Grove owes its rugged beauty to the Victorian “garden cemetery” movement that inspired the Mt. Auburn and Forest Hills cemeteries. Both of Medford’s cemeteries provide all of us – families visiting graves, history buffs, genealogists, nature lovers, neighbors, and visitors seeking quiet recreation – with beautiful spaces of contemplation.

Oak Grove

Dee Morris and “Charity,” photo via WBUR.

Meet Your Commissioners-Benjamin Johnson

We’d like to share a little more about each of us – the members of the Medford Historical Commission – and our interest in Medford history. Look out for biographical updates in the coming year. Commissioner Benjamin Johnson offered this:

I moved to Medford in 2009 being drawn by the historical assets the city has to offer. During the day, I am an archivist at Harvard Business School Special Collections. I enjoy canoeing on the Mystic River, gardening, cooking, and fermenting things.

Photo postcard of “the little stream that feeds Mystic Lake at West Medford” c. 1910 and courtesy of ebay.


Hustle-Bustle of the (Application) Season

Here’s a link to the Medford Community Preservation Committee’s brand-new Community Preservation Plan. It’s a fascinating read whether or not you can make the next meeting – on Monday, Nov 27, 7-9 PM, at the South Medford Fire House.

If you or a group you know is working on a CPC application that is related to historic preservation here in Medford, and you’d like support from the Historical Commission, drop us a line. We’re busy brainstorming and drafting applications right now too!