Preferably Preserved – January 2021

At our January meeting we voted that both the property at 15 Hadley Place AND the property at 75 South Street should be preferably preserved. In both cases, neighbors expressed concern that the loss of these homes would be a detriment to the character of the street and neighborhood.

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.

Thanks to the Medford residents who wrote in, or attended in person, to voice their opinions for and against the preservation of these buildings.

We also voted that the building at 403 Riverside Avenue was NOT historically significant. When, after review, a building 75 years old or older is deemed NOT historically significant a demolition permit is granted.

To review all our demolition cases under review, see our index of Demolition Review Cases.

January 2021 Agenda

This month’s agenda is now available, along with all Zoom info for remote participation.

At our monthly public meeting, this month on Monday Jan 11, the commission will be determining whether or not two properties – one on South Street, and one in Haines Square – are preferably preserved. We invite all residents and members of the public to share their thoughts on these properties with us – you can email, or attend the meeting next week.

Past posts and documents on 75 South Street, and 15 Hadley Place.

Historically Significant

At our busy December meeting, we voted that the building at 73-75-77 South Street was historically significant. This residence was built – likely as a duplex – circa 1860 and is located on the south bank of the Mystic River, across from Medford Square. Our determination was made based on the age of the house and its association with the South Street resident and shipyard-owner Jotham Stetson.

Stetson Family Ship Building

Stetson’s Medford shipyard was established on this same south bank of the Mystic (near today’s Winthrop Street Bridge) and produced 33 clipper ships that traveled as far as Calcutta, India. Jotham Stetson and his family lived across the street from that shipyard at 102 South Street – a residence that dates to 1822 and still stands today – and he bequeathed to his daughter Almira Stetson the property at 73-75-77 South Street.

Our architectural historians, who have been surveying Medford neighborhood by neighborhood for the past few years, describe this area of the city as “Medford Square South” – the area just south of the River and extending (more or less) to George Street. They describe it this way because it developed early and the homes and businesses that flourished there were part of the life of early Medford; the Cradock Bridge – which connected the two areas – dates back to the early 17th century. But beyond that, the river itself connected the homes and businesses on South Street – like Stetson’s ship yard, and “Grandfather’s House,” the home of shipbuilder Paul Curtis – to life on Medford’s High Street and in Medford Square. Today, we might think of this neighborhood, which has gradually become more residential, as part of South Medford, or Hillside. However, in the first half of the 1800s the Hillside and South Medford were still mostly undeveloped farms and (literally) hillsides, while “Medford Square South” was already bustling with businesses, multi-family residences, and the large homes of prominent residents like the Stetsons.

Form B and other materials from our surveyors, for 73-75-77 South Street are here.

Postcard view looking towards South Street, from the north bank of the Mystic River, circa 1914

At our December meeting, we also voted that the home at 15 Hadley Place was “historically significant.” This vote was based primarily on the home’s size and architectural merits and its association with the building practices and development history of the residential neighborhood surrounding it – the late-Victorian neighborhood that is now “east” of 93.

Materials for 15 Hadley Place are here.

Demo Application: 15 Hadley Place

At our November meeting, the Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the demolition of a large Queen Anne Victorian located at 15 Hadley Place.

Located just off Salem Street, the building was constructed in 1896 on a small lane which has since become a vital traffic link when Interstate 93 was constructed in 1956. The building was set back when the road was widened and survived largely unaltered since.

15 Hadley Place as seen looking west from the street. The building is located halfway between Washington and Salem Streets.

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