• Historic Places

    Medfield has six sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


    Dwight-Derby House
    7 Frairy Street, opposite Meetinghouse Pond – 1651

    Dwight Derby House

    Dwight-Derby House. Credit: Cheryl O’Malley

    The original Dwight-Derby House on Frairy Street, opposite Meetinghouse (Baker’s) Pond, was built in 1651 by Timothy Dwight. It is one of the ten oldest existing wood frame houses in America. In 1996 the house faced the wrecking ball, and the town of Medfield bought it to preserve an historic treasure that could serve as a community resource. Thanks to hard work by a dedicated group of Medfield volunteers, and grants from the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the house has been stabilized and partially restored.

     

     

     


    First Baptist Church
    Corner of Main and South Streets – 1838

    First Baptist Church

    First Baptist Church. Credit: Jo Ellen Collins

    The First Baptist Church, 438 Main Street — Medfield’s first Baptist congregation was formed in 1752, and the first meetinghouse was erected 20 years later on West Main Street, near the present Route 27 intersection. In 1822 it was enlarged, but in 1838 that meetinghouse was sold. The church bought land at the corner of South and Main Streets (a.k.a. Route 109), site of the present church structure. The new, larger, more centrally-located Greek Revival-style Meeting House was dedicated on October 3rd of that same year. The speedy building contractor was Jonathan Gleason.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    George Inness Art Studio
    406R Main Street

    George Innes Studio

    George Innes Studio. Credit: Cheryl O’Malley

    George Inness (1825-94), was one of America’s foremost artists of his time. He lived in Medfield from about 1860 to 1864. Inness’ studio is at 406R Main Street, which is now privately owned. Inness is best known for his landscape paintings, many of which are exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other leading museums.

     

     

     


    Meeting House, now First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street – 1789

    Meeting House - First Parish Church

    Meeting House, now First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. Credit: Jo Ellen Colllins

    The 1789 Meeting House, now the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, is the third town meeting house building on that site. The first, a building constructed of logs with a thatched roof, was built in 1660, and the second,  a clapboard building with a shingled roof was built in 1706. The five Medfield Historical Society programs are usually held here. There was no heat in any of these buildings until 1826.

     

     

     

     

     


    Peak House
    345 Main Street – 1668

    Peak House

    Peak House. Credit: Jo Ellen Collins

    The Peak House is located at 345 East Main Street (Route 109), at the Pound Street intersection. It is open for tours from 2 – 5 pm Sunday afternoons during the summer and at the annual Pantry Sale the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It was deeded to the Medfield Historical Society on October 18, 1924, by its then-owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Smith, after which it received a down-to-the-frame restoration.

    The original Peak House was built about 1668 by Benjamin Clark; it was one of 32 houses – half the houses in town – that were burned down February 21, 1676, in King Philip’s War. It was rebuilt by Benjamin in about 1680 on its original site, which is further back from the road than the Peak House that stands today. Through dendrochronology testing, it is believed that the current structure was built in 1711, likely by Benjamin’s son Seth. It is one of the earliest surviving examples of post-medieval English (Elizabethan) architecture in the United States.


    Vine Lake Cemetery
    625 Main Street – 1651

    Vine Lake Cemetery

    Old section of Vine Lake Cemetery. Credit: Edmund Prescottano.

    Established in 1651, Vine Lake Cemetery is the town’s only public cemetery, aside from a small private lot at Medfield State Hospital. What began as a small 4-acre burying ground has evolved in a modern 30-acre cemetery. Today it is the town’s only outdoor museum. Four seamless gravescapes are celebrated here: the colonial burying ground, the rural cemetery, the garden cemetery and the landscaped lawn cemetery. The oldest marked grave is that of Lydia (Albee) Lovell, dating from her 1661 death. Only two of the town’s thirteen founders, James Allen and Samuel Bullen, are interred with marked graves.

    Vine Lake Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2009 to preserve, enhance, interpret and celebrate historic Vine Lake Cemetery. The Trust funds preservation projects, conducts walking tours, organizes educational programs, sponsors special events and directs volunteer initiatives.

    More information on each of these historic places is available at the Medfield Historical Society and Museum at 6 Pleasant Street. The Museum is open Saturdays from 10 am to noon.

    7 Responses to Historic Places

    1. Linda Willis
      January 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I appreciate all of the information on your website. I have never been to Medfield, but hope to visit soon. I am wondering if you could tell me whether or not Gershom Wheelock, and his wife, Hannah Stodder Wheelock, are buried at Vine Lake Cemetery. My understanding is that the Wheelock family is a founding Medfield family, but I see no mention of them.

      Thank you so much.

      Linda Willis

      • Medfield Historical Society
        January 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Gershom Wheelock and his wife may be buried in unmarked graves at the cemetery. There is no record of marked graves.

        • Eric Fahey
          February 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          Grave #102 in map section A-4 lists an Abigail Wheelock, wife of Mr Gershom Wheelock. Abigail died in 1805.
          There are about 14 Wheelock graves in Vine Lake Cemetery in the old section.

    2. Linda Willis
      February 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Thank you for continuing to look for Gershom Wheelock and his wife Hannah Stodder. I also discovered recently that my husband is a direct descendant of Thomas Wight. We are looking forward to visiting Medfield soon.

      Linda Willis

      • Medfield Historical Society
        March 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

        We look forward to your visit.

    3. Wendy Smythe
      September 29, 2013 at 8:43 am

      I will be visiting Medfield Oct. 13-14.
      I am a descendant of founder Robert Hinsdale and his son Barnabus,killed by Indians in1675.

      I would like to visit the sites where they might have lived,worshipped and tread. can you assist me in my search?
      Are any Hinsdale’s buried in Medfield (spouses )? Thank you for any assistance that you can provide.
      Wendy Smythe

    4. Nadine Donahue Suereth
      September 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Is there a day during the week that your Historical Building open? I would also like to know if you have a list of all persons that have lived in the Dwight-Derby
      House? I believe my mother may have lived there with her family(George Miller) possibly in the1920-1930s.She used to tell me that she and my Uncle George used to ice dance together on Bakers Pond across the street. Unfortunately no one left in the family to confirm so would like to receive directions as to how to get this info. many thanks for your help
      Nadine Donahue Suereth

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