March Determinations

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. 

Cinotti’s 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.

 

Demo Application: 7 Lauriat Place

The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the demolition of the building at 7 Lauriat Place located within the Washington Square neighborhood of East Medford.

The building at 7 Lauriat Place was a large “gold-beating” or gold leaf workshop run by the Lauriat family. Louis Anselm Lauriat was an innovator of the gold leaf craft in Boston in the early 1800s; he also pursued chemical experimentation, and hydrogen aerial ballooning in cities and towns throughout New England, and as far away as Milwaukee, WI and Memphis, TN! His family moved to Medford and established a number of successful gold-beating workshops here – on Ashland St and Riverside Ave (both c. 1880) where they employed more than 40 men and women in the highly skilled technical labor. The last of the Lauriat gold leaf workshops was built on 4 Lauriat Place, in the late 1890s, with a Lauriat family residence next door at 5 Lauriat Place. Medford’s Lauriat Gold Leaf Workshop continued the craft for another 30 years until the workshop became a printing business. 

gold beating

Image from the pamphlet “The History of Gold Leaf and its Uses” published by the Boston Gold Leaf manufacturer F.W. Rauskalb, in 1915.

Medford’s Lauriat Gold Leaf Workshop has already been recommended for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Buildings by our architectural historians. The Commission will post updates below during the review process.

7 Lauriat Place MHC Form B
Washington Square Area Form
Click here for the neighborhood overview for East Medford