Peter Miller joined the Medford Historical Commission in winter 2019, just in time to help with our annual spring rush of demolition applications. He has jumped right in and he has this to share with us: the following personal introduction and a view of old Corey St,
My wife and I feel lucky to have settled in the Hillside neighborhood in 1997. We have three children, all of which have attended the Medford public schools. As an architect, I have an appreciation for the timeless craftsmanship and detail that can be found in our historic structures and I look forward to helping contribute to the preservation of Medford’s historic fabric. In summer, I can be seen performing with my band at the Medford Farmer’s Market and I very much enjoy walking my dog, Edward, past the Paul Curtis House and along the Mystic river paths.
Photo courtesy of the Commissioner.
Ryan D. Hayward, past Chair, who patiently and thoughtfully led the Commission for many years,
I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to work in the fields of history and architecture. I was introduced to the topics in the fifth grade while attending Medford Public Schools. I later pursued these academically, graduating from the Boston Architectural College with a degree in Historic Preservation. My professional career began at the Medford Historical Society, Brooks Estate and Royall House and I joined the Commission in 2007 in order to give back to our community. When not preserving our local heritage, I’m out collaborating with homeowners as a self-employed preservation and design consultant. I’ve had he opportunity to work on buildings old and new. It’s rewarding seeing the joy of owners at the end of their renovations. I myself am restoring an 1895 Queen Anne Victorian which has been in our family for 70 years. As I have lived and worked in Medford all my life and know about the past, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our community. Working with the Commission, we will ensure preservation is part of the ongoing change happening every day.
Photo courtesy of the owner.
Hayward House c. 1947
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.
[Updated – Richard Northrup has resigned his commission, effective Jan 2019. Thanks for your service, Richard!]
Next, Richard Northrup!
My wife and I became Medford residents when we bought our first home in 2011. In 2016 we welcomed our son. We have grown to love Medford and spend a lot of our time getting to know our adopted City. Outside of my work on the Historical Commission we also enjoy exploring the Middlesex Fells with our son and exploring Medford homes as part of the annual Jingle Bell Festival.
View from Bear Hill, in the Middlesex Fells, c.1895-6, taken by Boston commercial and naval photographer Nathaniel Stebbins. Image via Friends of the Fells.
Our newest member, Edward Wiest, shares this about his love for Medford, its architecture and its history:
Our family blundered into becoming temporary custodians of Medford’s Edward Oakes House – earliest elements erected c. 1729, moved to current site 1977 – more than 30 years ago. We’re still there. I am on on the Commission now to continue paying forward the work of Joseph Valeriani, Greg and Maia Henderson, John Hand, Fred Knox and many others who preserved the home in which we have lived so long, and the history of Medford as a whole.
The Oakes House, in what the commisson’s neighborhood surveyors now call “Medford Square South,” with its distinctive roof line – which could be described as both gambrel and saltbox. Photo from MACRIS.
Now, a word from the current webmaster of the Medford Historical Commission website, me – Abigail Salerno. I also administer the Commission’s ongoing neighborhood-by-neighborhood survey of historical buildings, landmarks and public spaces.
I recently moved to Medford with my young family and I am interested in neighborhood history, and the similarities and differences in the historical development of Boston, and Philadelphia, where I worked at the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I enjoy walking in the Fells and riding my bicycle “over the river and through the woods” on our expanding network of trails.
Below, Annie Londonderry – Boston resident and the first woman to bicycle around the world. Illustration (and more info) from the Jewish Women’s Archive, in Brookline, MA.
Next up, 2019 Chair, Jennifer Keenan, who shares the following:
I’ve officially been a Medford resident since 2006, but my roots go deeper as my father had his business here during the 70s and 80s. I am proud to call myself a local Realtor®, and I love being able to do my small part each day to make Medford a better place for all. If you come to my house you’ll find tea instead of coffee, steak instead of seafood, and cookies instead of brownies. In my next life I want to be a rock star, but for now I am wife to Melvin and mom to furbaby Dallas.
From Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth collection, photo titled “Teens Frolic in Medford Square,” 1972, by photographer Spencer Grant.
We’d like to share a little more about each of us – the members of the Medford Historical Commission – and our interest in Medford history. Look out for biographical updates in the coming year. Commissioner Benjamin Johnson offered this:
I moved to Medford in 2009 being drawn by the historical assets the city has to offer. During the day, I am an archivist at Harvard Business School Special Collections. I enjoy canoeing on the Mystic River, gardening, cooking, and fermenting things.
Photo postcard of “the little stream that feeds Mystic Lake at West Medford” c. 1910 and courtesy of ebay.
The Commission is sad to share the news that our most senior member, Dan Menezes, passed away last week. His Boston Globe obituary is here. The commission – and all of Medford – benefited from his deep knowledge of local history, and his passionate energy for preserving it. We will miss him.