We’ll be discussing the redevelopment plans for 421 High St (formerly the location of Cincotti Funeral Home, in West Medford) at our upcoming November meeting. Public input has been important to the process so far, and the current version of the developer’s plans are available here –
417-421 High Street Plans
The rest of the meeting agenda isn’t finalized yet, but our November meeting will be held on Monday, Nov 18 at 7 PM in City Hall Room 201; it’s a week later than usual because of the Veterans’ Day holiday.
A Google street view of the Funeral Home.
According to the report from our architectural historians, the building was a large single-family home until the 1950s, when it became the property of Concetta Cincotti, “daughter of Italian immigrant Ciro Cincotti (1883-1963), who operated a funeral home first in Boston’s North End, and later moved the business to Medford.” Historical Commission members walked through the building this fall, and although the interior has some interesting details, the building is, inside and out, “heavily altered,” as the Form B (below) puts it.
421 High Street MHC Form B
The barn at 23 Bower St, in West Medford, was determined to be preferably preserved at our May public meeting. For details on the decision, please see our forthcoming meeting minutes.
When a building is found to be preferably preserved an 18 month delay of demolition is imposed. In this case, the Historical Commission requires that the building be fully documented before demolition. The building – located behind a large and recently renovated Queen Anne home, on historically central Bower St – was built c. 1880. Since then, it appears to have been used as a barn, a carriage house and, finally, a working garage. As such, the building retains traces of West Medford’s historical transformation from a rural town center, to a turn of the century suburb, to a 20th century “two-car” community.
In other West Medford development news, our May meeting also included a lengthy discussion – between neighbors, the commission and developers – of plans for 421 High St, the site of Cincotti’s Funeral Home. Thanks to the Medford residents who shared their thoughts at the public meeting.
As a locally owned and operated funeral home, Cincotti’s is importantly associated with the 20th century cultural social history of Medford and its residents, and so the building was deemed preferably preserved at our April meeting. In this case, the applicants were invited to return to the commission’s public meetings to present plans and alternatives to demolition, and to discuss the concerns that their neighbors and the commission have. If a plan can be developed that addresses these issues, the demolition delay on 421 High St may be lifted before the 18 month period. Again, for more on what the plans and concerns are, please see our forthcoming minutes.
Or attend the next public meeting, Monday, June 10, 7 PM City Hall, where conversations will continue!
Buildings at 421 High Street, 16 Foster Court, 104 Winchester Street and 7 Lauriat Place were all determined to be preferably preserved at our April public meeting. Thanks to the Medford residents who shared their thoughts and concerns at the public meeting, and in writing.
For details on each decision, please see our forthcoming meeting minutes.
When a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18 month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition.
Each of the applicants is 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. If, in any case, a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18 month period.
It’s a big meeting – with Cincotti Funeral Home in West Medford, a shipbuilding family’s early Cape Cod in East Medford, a 19th century gold leaf workshop, and a Ball Square beauty all on the agenda. Each of these buildings was deemed “historically significant” at the March public meeting. At this month’s public meeting the Historical Commission will decide whether or not each of these properties is also “preferably preserved.”
April 2019 Agenda
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. Meeting will be Monday, April 8 at 7 PM in Room 201 of City Hall.
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.
Cincotti 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.
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.
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
Legal Notice for 421 High Street
Determination of Significance Letter