The Medford Historical Commission had a request to discuss the possible demolition to two buildings on South Street, numbers 23 and 31, to accommodate a new apartment building. The Commission discussed the process with the potential purchaser and provided the inventory forms prepared for the properties as part of the Medford Square South Neighborhood Survey project. These inventory forms provide an architectural description and historic narrative on which the Commission bases its review during the demolition delay review. The proposed building plans are included for the public to become familiar with the potential project.
Demo Application: 75 South Street
The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the total demolition of the building located at 75 South Street in the southern half of Medford Square (Medford Square South). The applicant plans to build a new three-family residence on the site. The building, which dates to the nineteenth century, is a contributing resource to the South Street streetscape. Entirely residential, the historic road was once the way to the ford on the Mystic from which Medford derives its name. The houses were once home to the shipyard owners, many of whom moved here after living near the Riverside Avenue yards. They were later home to some Medford notables. Several forms can be found on the Commonwealth’s MACRIS database. The Commission will determine significance at its December meeting.
Click here for the neighborhood overview for Medford Square South from the Survey Plan.
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.
Click here for the neighborhood overview for East Medford from the Survey Plan.
Medford’s current Demo Review process is not likely to be a surprise or an exceptional burden for homeowners or developers.
Most Massachusetts communities, from Boston to Woburn and beyond have a demo review process similar to that in the City of Medford. A property owner would be hard pressed to “leave Medford” and buy a property nearby that does not need to follow this, or a similar process, before being demolished. Similarly, a developer – someone whose business it is to redevelop properties – would not likely buy in Medford, Arlington, Woburn, etc and not know that older buildings will be subject to a demo review process by the town or city.
On our website, we describe the demolition review process in our city, and at the bottom of that page you can review the demolition policies of our neighboring towns and cities.
For information on the homes demolished on Winthrop Street site above, and the famous folks who had lived there, read more here!!
This is the fourth post in a series of Clarifications & Corrections. See also:
“Pro-Active Preservation,” about our ongoing survey and inventory research.
“Kissing Cousins”, which explains the different roles of the Historical Commission, the Historical Society and the Historic District Commission.
And “Are We Anti-Development?” about the big picture directive of the Medford Historical Commission.
Are we “anti-development?”
The Historical Commission’s goal is NOT to fully restore houses to their historic state – we are not here to recreate Sturbridge Village or Plimoth Plantation in the heart of Medford. Nor are we, personally or professionally anti-development – the commission includes historians, archivists and homeowners, as well as architects, folks in real estate, and building preservationists. You can read our bios here.
If we’re not planning to turn Medford into a history theme park, what are we up to?
The Medford Historical Commission, like most Historical Commissions in towns and cities across Massachusetts, is part of city government. Our procedures were put in place to allow the community to bring their preservation concerns to our public meetings, with developers present. During these discussions, we increase public knowledge about the historic uses of our buildings, neighborhoods and residences, about the city’s past residents, and about the past design and construction of the buildings in our city. And, finally, for buildings deemed both “historically significant” AND “preferably preserved” – a multi-step, public process – we discourage demolition in favor of designs that preserve the historic character.
Monthly Meetings – Our meetings are the second Monday of the month, and they were traditionally held in Room 201 in City Hall; like most of Medford’s city boards and commissions, we’ve been holding Zoom meetings since May 2020. The public is always welcome to listen in or speak up!!
Agendas & Minutes – Our agendas are posted in City Hall, and in the Transcript, and we try to post them on Facebook and here on the website.
This is the third post in a series of Clarifications & Corrections. The first post in the series was “Pro-Active Preservation,” about our ongoing survey and inventory research. The second was “Kissing Cousins” and it explained the different roles of the Historical Commission, the Historical Society and the Historic District Commission.
Demo Application: 202 Middlesex Avenue
The Medford Historical Commission has received an application for the partial demolition of the Queen Anne Victorian house located at 202 Middlesex Avenue. Located in the Wellington neighborhood, the building is a large and ambitious example of the types of buildings erected during the earliest development. Large lots were laid out for white collar commuting individuals but the proximity to the Boston and Maine Railroad enticed the working classes to round out the neighborhood. Constructed largely between 1880 and 1920, the Wellington area contains some of the finest examples of single family residences anywhere in the City. In addition, the house has an excellent social history which roots the occupants firmly to the fabric of the area. We will review the building for significance.