2B Oak St. - Thayer Home Place
If you have visited Choate Park in Medway, Mass you probably noticed changes on the 2B Oak St. property. Last year there was a concerted effort led by Selectman Dennis Crowley and the members of the DPS to clear the property of huge piles of dumped stumps and landscaping waste left on the property. They removed all the material and landscaped the property with new grass seed, leaving a visually pleasing vista of the park and pond.
Currently the Thayer Home Place and barn are undergoing work to provide stabilization of both the house and barn. With a grant administered by Mass Highway, the Medway historical Commission, under the direction of the Board of Selectmen and Community Preservation Commission worked with Dave D'Amico, director of Medway's DPS to complete a successful bid process and have contracted with Custom Copper, a contractor qualified in restoring historic structures.With the improving weather, they have begun work on the roof of the house and replacing structural timbers in the barn. The work in the barn will utilize post and beam methods, mirroring the original construction of the barn. Both efforts address serious structural issues that were identified by the Newport Collaborative Architects and Structural Solutions, who were contracted by the town to
assess and provide a Historic Structures Report for the property. This comprehensive document serves as a touchstone for the property with regard to it's historical and architectural elements as well as providing a comprehensive assessment of the buildings and a proposal for restoration and upkeep.
The house and barn were built in the 1830's and were owned by the Thayer family, who owned much of the land in West Medway including the land that would eventually become Choate Park. Cephus Thayer owned a home on Village Street and his son Addison had his homestead at what is now the home at 2B Oak Street overlooking the pond. The dam at Choate Park was built to power the stone mill in West Medway, which still exists and is across the street from the park on Route 109. The mill evolved and supported among other things, a woolen mill and the New England Awl and Needle Company. The mill exists to this day and the space supports a variety of local businesses. In 1836 Joel Partridge bought 13 acres of land next to what is now Choate Pond. He built his dwelling house there in 1838, established his homestead and farmed. His landholdings would
grow to 70 acres. The Partridges were another old Medway family. Joel was the father of Lydia Partridge who became Addison Thayer's wife. In 1853 the Partridge children sold the homestead to Addison Thayer who had married their sister in the same year. Addison and Lydia Thayer moved into the Partridge Homestead, hereafter called the Thayer Home Place, and made it their home, raising three children there.
Our current efforts are centered on stabilizing both the house and barn for future use by the Citizens of Medway. A number of public hearings have been held to solicit ideas and gather proposals for the use of the property along with guidelines of preserving the historic nature of the house and maintaining the open space of the property for recreational use. The Medway Historical Society is exploring whether the property is a viable location for the society to locate their existing collection to. This move may provide greater access and display of their historical artifacts for citizens and visitors to Medway. Additionally the location of the property to the Park, the Medway Trail Link and access to an expansive parcel of conservation land, make this an ideal destination for folks to explore the outdoors and the historic nature of their town
all in their own back yard!
EVERGREEN CEMETERY PRESERVATION
Evergreen Cemetery in Medway, Massachusetts was established in 1750 and is still in use today. There are roughly 362 stones in the oldest part of the cemetery. Early internments included members of the Adams, Allen, Bullard, Clark, Hill, Partridge and Plympton families. Over fifty of the early stones of slate were carved by Joseph Barber Jr., a prolific local carver. The artwork on these stones is a significant cultural resource to the citizens both locally and nationally as examples of our early colonial heritage.
After several seasons of preliminary work, including charting gravesites and clearing brush and overgrown vegetation, the first phase of preservation of Evergreen Cemetery has been completed. The historic section of the cemetery (old burial ground), final resting place of many of Medway's earliest settlers, has been suffering from neglect for many years.
Last spring, Town Meeting approved the use of Community Preservation Act funds for the project. The Medway Historical Commission retained conservationist Kai Nalenz to begin preserving some of the damaged stones in Evergreen Cemetery. Overseen by Mark Wilcox, President Medway Historical Society, Board Member Historical Commission, the work was completed April 2009. Repairs of broken stones and re-setting of tilted stones were finished with a complete cleaning of the stone.
Kai Nalenz is the owner of Gravestone Services of New England. He is a member of the Association of Gravestone Studies and The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works. Kai has conserved hundreds of markers throughout New England, including some entire cemeteries. He specializes in 17-19th century conservation.He is well known for his gentle methods and non-abrasive hand tools to clean, preserve and repair.
An assessment for Phase 2 preservation has been done for the near future.