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 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 leaf 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, at 7 Lauriat Place, continued the craft for another 30 years until the workshop became a printing business.
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
Legal Advertisement for 7 Lauriat Place
Determination of Significance for City Clerk