Medford’s Community Read 2018

Medford’s community read this year  – Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks – is “inspired by a true story” from colonial New England history.  Medford Public Library is hosting a discussion of the novel, and its “history, themes, relationships and impact” on Wednesday, Aug 15 at 7 PM. The discussion will be lead by Library Director Barbara Kerr, more info here.

The novel is “set in Massachusetts in the 1660s” and “tells the tale of Bethia Mayfield, a restless and curious young woman growing up amid a small band of English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other…”

There’s still lots of 2018 left, so even if you haven’t read the novel yet, you can stop by and learn more.



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.

Next Meeting! Tues July 31!

Thanks to summer schedules, our August meeting to determine the historical significance of three interesting properties – 77 Cotting St, 137 Damon Rd and the “Bocelli’s” commercial building at 368, 370 and 372 Main St – will be Tuesday, July 31 7 PM in room 201 of Medford City Hall. A little more on the process, here.



Although the image above was basically just swiped off the internet, it does show the art deco lettering of the old DePasquale’s facade, just barely peeking out from under the Bocelli’s sign.

And the photo left shows the little art deco antelope on the facade, a symbol of agriculture and abundance.

More information about the individual properties can be found below as follows:

77 Cotting Street:
77 Cotting Street Demolition Application
77 Cotting Street Site Plan Scan
77 Cotting Street MHC Form B

137 Damon Road:
137 Damon Road MHC Form B
137 Damon Road Demolition Application

368-374 Main Street:
Main Street MHC Form B
368-374 MainStreet Demolition Application
368-374 Main Street Owner Approval Letter
374 Main Street New Building Plans




Hyper-local Histories at the MPL

This summer, our local historian, Dee Morris will offer a walking tour to introduce you to Medford’s famous Hallowell family; brothers Norwood and Edward Hallowell were Civil War officers and their families enjoyed the good life, 19th century style, on lower Mystic Street. The first of these walking tours is Saturday, June 16, at 10 AM. More info here.

And, if you’d like to learn how to research your own family history, the Medford Public Library is hosting a weekly series of workshops, starting this Thursday, June 7, at 7 PM. More details via the library’s Events page, or on this flyer.

Commissioner Bios – Doug Carr

Doug Carr, our acting secretary, was born of mysterious origins and raised by the strict but benevolent hand of the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls. The Commonwealth Museum is currently hosting a fascinating exhibit on the 19th C history, and recent archeology, of that school. For now you have to visit the State Archives and read the plaques on the walls upstairs. Or take a peek at the amazing project website of the Boston City Archeology Lab, here.


The Crying Child Figurine, found in the privy of the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls, photo via the Boston City Archeology Lab.

What is Design Review anyway?

Many nearby communities use design review to help their neighborhoods benefit from new development (and Medford’s getting plenty of that). If you want to learn more about how to embrace change AND enhance neighborhood character, you are invited to Historic New England’s next workshop. The June workshop, part of a series of “Preservation Strategies that Work,” will focus on Design Review Concepts, Cases and Issues. At the Barnstable Town Hall, June 1.

Your Medford Historical Commission plans to send a member, and if you’d like to join us, drop us a line and tell us why!! Guest will be selected at random.

More details here, but you have to scroll through. 

Fells & Mystic Surveys

Ah, signs of spring! Crocuses! Bird song! User surveys about our favorite natural and historical landscapes! In the first, the Friends of the Fells partnered with the Tufts Environmental Studies Program to learn more about how we use the Middlesex Fells today – Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation Survey. 

View_of_the_bridge_over_mystic_riverIn the second, another collaboration with Tufts, the Mystic River Watershed Association wants to know not just how we enjoy the nearby Mystic Greenways, but also how we get there. There’s even an interactive map where we can add the trafficky trouble spots in the area – Mystic River Greenways Survey

Image of the Mystic River c. 1790 via the Library of Congress.