Winter/Spring 2015 Programs
Personal Accounts of Vietnam War Era
as Told by Medfield Vets
Monday, March 9
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
26 North Street, Medfield
For the Monday, March 9th, society presentation, this year’s Medfield High School student curators, James Callahan and Olivia Leiwant, presented personal accounts of the Vietnam War Era as told by Medfield-based veterans.
The presentation featured a thirty minute video with clips from each interview and information regarding Medfield during this turbulent time. James and Olivia will also be preserving and cataloguing each interview in its entirety at the society.
Fall 2014 Programs
Annual Holiday Party
Sunday, December 7
2 pm – 4 pm
Jonathan Boyden Jr. House
120 High Street, Medfield
This year it was at the more traditional circa 1700 Jonathan Boyden Jr. house at 120 High Street, behind a white stone wall at the intersection of Plain Street. The current owners are John and Michelle Linnert, the people who are seeking to restore and reopen the 1740 Clark Tavern next to the Peak House.
Several new families used the occasion to join the society and see the house.
The oldest part of this large, elegant house was built about 1700 by Jonathan Boyden. Unusual for an historic house in Medfield, it has changed ownership more than a dozen times, sometimes even being flipped. The Allen family from Boston (not an original Medfield Allen) owned it from 1728 to 1782, and those 54 years constitute the longest single period of family ownership since the house was built.
The Linnerts have been there since 2003, and the house looks great!
Peak House Pantry and White Elephant Sale
It was a cold, blustery day, but that didn’t keep shoppers away from the Peak House Pantry and White Elephant Sale.
As is to be expected, Elizabeth Mann was first in line at the Peak House door, but she was by no means the last!
The scrumptious pies baked by curators Susan Leavitt, Cheryl O’Malley and Michelle Linnert and volunteers Jackie Wile, Jane Carter and Jackie Timmins, sold out quickly.
The 40 holiday plates (boxed and in perfect condition) from B&G, Haviland, Royal Copenhagen, and Hummel went quickly as well.
Norfolk Hunt Club History Presented at November Meeting
Monday, November 3, 2014
The Norfolk Hunt Club’s 50-acre tract at 240 North Street, Medfield, encompasses much of the land on the west side of North Street between School and Farm Streets. Once a golf course, for over a century it’s been the site of horse shows, polo matches, and most importantly, drag fox hunts, wherein the scent of a fox is spread across the ground to excite the hounds, who are then pursued by riders on horseback. Tally-ho!
On November 3, David W. Lewis, Jr., of Dover gave a droll and engaging account of the early history of the hunt club, which was founded in 1895. Lewis was the editor of the definitive history of the hunt club, “The Norfolk Hunt: One Hundred Years of Sport.” He’s been a member of the club for decades and was master of the hounds from 1973 to 1980.
Speaker Series: Archaeologist/Geologist John Thompson
Monday, October 6, 2014
October is Archaeology Month in Massachusetts, and we were honored to have John Thompson with us. An entertaining and engaging speaker, John spoke about the rich archaeological history of Medfield, from the early post glacial times to the contact period when settlers came to town, and into the more recent history including the science of finding and preserving historical artifacts.
He also shared his work on excavation sites in Medfield like the Clark Tavern and the Dwight Derby House and showed artifacts that have been found in town and preserved by the town, including the Historical Society.
MEMO’s Discover Medfield Day
Saturday, September 20, 2014
9 am to 3 pm
MEMO’s 2014 Discover Medfield Day took place on Saturday, Sept. 20th. The Medfield Historical Society welcomed many visitors to its booth, which was, as always, located just across the street from the Dwight-Derby House.
On exhibit were pictures from Medfield’s 325th Birthday as well as those of famous Medfield people and places. In addition to Medfield historical maps and books were some new gift items for sale to raise much-needed funds for the society
Spring 2014 Programs
Medfield High School Sports: The Glory Days
Monday, April 7, 2014
First Parish Church
26 North Street
Athletics have always been a huge part of Medfield High School. Recently, Medfield sports have been headlining newspapers and winning titles. But what did they used to be like, and how have they changed?
Student curators Charlie Horan and Lia Bonfatti took us back to the times of developing teams and new programs, exploring the many successes and stories that followed. Attendees learned more about our town’s past athletics and heard from some of the players and coaches who experienced those glory days themselves!
Slavery in Colonial Medfield: A Tale of Three 18th Century Medfield Families
Monday, March 3, 2014
First Parish Church
26 North Street
In pre-revolutionary America, several respected Medfield families were slaveholders.
In March, former society curator Alice Crawley presented the stories of three Medfield men and their families: Warwick and Newport Green (brought here as slaves), and John Greene, a Boston merchant and slaveholder who voluntarily came to Medfield from Boston in the early 1770s.
She explored what happened to these men and how Medfield treated its slave population.
Go Back In Time to When the Medfield State Hospital Was Still in Operation
Monday, February 3, 2014
First Parish Church
26 North Street
In this program we stepped back in time to an era when thousands of people lived on the large campus of the Medfield State Hospital. Back in those days, when people in Medfield—less worried about political correctness—used to quip, “I’m from Medfield, where half the town is crazy.”
Marge Vasaturo headed up a line-up of people who worked at the hospital and knew the place intimately. She shared memories of working there summers while in college in the 1950s, and later as a member of the Board of Trustees for nearly 20 years.
She was joined by Darel Nowers, who grew up on the hospital grounds and whose father, Rod, managed the hospital’s farm operation; and by Mary Calo, R.N., who worked there as a nurse for 30 years, as well as a few others.
Fall 2013 Programs
Members-Only Holiday Party
Sunday, December 8, 2013
2 pm to 5 pm
Granville Mitchell House
111 North Street
Doug and Meredith Teany hosted this year’s holiday party at their historic home at 111 North Street. The house was built around 1910 by Granville Mitchell, the eldest son of Medfield’s industrial baron E.V. Mitchell, who owned the Excelsior Straw Works. Members enjoyed an afternoon of good food, good company, and great tours of the circa 1910 house including stops in the attic, basement and barn.
If you’d like to attend members-only events, it’s easy! Just click HERE to join the Medfield Historical Society.
From the Blotter: Tales of a Small Town Police Chief
Monday, November 4, 2013
First Parish Church
Police Chief William Mann is one of Medfield’s most beloved, familiar–and entertaining–figures. He was appointed Medfield’s chief of police in August of 1969 having begun his career as a patrolman in 1959. A native of the area, he was born in Millis and has lived in Medfield since he was in the first grade.
During his 30-year tenure, Chief Mann called for and saw built a new police station. During the 1970s he dealt with bomb scares at the high school and vandalism and wide-spread drug use throughout town. Join us as Chief Mann regales us with stories of cops and robbers and other memorable characters and incidents he encountered during his tenure as Medfield’s police chief.
The Kingsbury Grist Mill: The Rebirth of a Medfield Treasure
Monday, October 7, 2013
First Parish Church
Constructed almost 300 years ago, the Clark Kingsbury Grist Mill endures as a snapshot in time and is one of Medfield’s most visible historic landmarks on Spring Street, the Rt. 27 gateway into Medfield. Having fallen into disrepair over 100 years ago, the mill has recently been given a new lease on life.
Curator Andrea Cronin will open by sharing the history of the origins and early use of the mill. Dick Judge and other members of the Kingsbury Pond Committee will then reveal the details of the restoration efforts undertaken by the Committee in the late 1980s and 90s that allowed the property to be saved. Hear the story of how the mill acquired its new 10-foot-diameter custom waterwheel and watch a brief video of the actual installation. Learn how the committee plans to get the millstones turning again and what’s in store for the future. Photos of this important and monumental effort will be on display as will artifacts discovered on-site.
Summer 2013 Programs
Peak House Tours
Sundays, 2 pm to 5 pm
June 23 – Sept 15, 2013
345 Main Street
The Peak House will be open Sunday afternoons, from 2-5 pm during the summer. Stop by to see our special exhibits or to take a tour of this historic property. Even in the heat of summer, the Peak House is really cool—literally!
Discover Medfield Day
Now in its 34th year, MEMO’s Medfield Day is slated for Saturday, September 21, 2013. The theme for this year’s event is “A TREE-mendous Medfield Day” in support of the town’s quest to become a Tree City USA community. Come visit us at the Medfield Historical Society booth (#39), across from the Dwight-Derby House. Bring along a few friends and introduce them to what the Historical Society has to offer. While you’re there, be sure to enter our drawing!
Winter 2012/Spring 2013 Programs
Fairbanks House Members-Only Tour
Saturday, June 22, 2013
511 East Street
This spring we’ve decided to take a break from the usual members-only Strawberry Social and instead offer our members a free tour of the fascinating Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA.
The Fairbanks House normally charges $12 for the tour, but your society is picking up the tab!
The Fairbanks House is thought to be the oldest timber frame building in North America still standing. Built circa 1637-1641 for Jonathan and Grace Fairebanke and their six children, it was home to eight generations of the Fairbanks family.
It is significant, not only because of its claim to being the oldest house in New England but because of its architectural significance–it has survived in an unusually unspoiled condition, with a high percentage of its original features intact.
Medfield was the first satellite community to split off from Dedham. All of Medfield’s first thirteen families moved from Dedham. A tour of the Fairbanks House will give you a firsthand experience at what life was like in the beginning years of Medfield.
A Peek at The Peak: A History of Medfield High School Yearbooks from 1925 to Present
Ready to relive your glory days—at least vicariously? In our April program, student curators April Neafus and John Powers will present a retrospective of The Peak, Medfield High School’s yearbook.
In this fun-filled, fast-paced slideshow April and John will showcase the changes in clothing, hairstyle, makeup and general appearance of Medfield high school students, the modifications in curriculum, the various sports offered, the different uniforms of the sports teams and the countless teachers who educated Medfield youth over the past eight decades.
You won’t want to miss seeing vintage pictures of current members of the teaching staff who attended Medfield High School as students. A special display will feature photos of Medfield students and teachers over the years, along with all the yearbooks. Whether or not you attended Medfield High, this welcome blast from the past is sure to create some conversation—and chuckles.
Medfield—A Town Divided
Monday, February 4, 2013
First Parish Church
Three hundred years ago, in 1713, Medfield residents on the west side of the Charles River broke away to form their own town—the town of Medway. Curator Richard DeSorgher will reveal the underlying causes that led to the split and portray the impact it had on Medfield. Medway, which is just beginning its 300th Anniversary Celebration, will send members of its historical society to the “scene of the crime,” the First Parish Church, where the February 4th program will take place, to present the reaction in Medway and what life was like 300 years ago in that new settlement.
Fall 2012 Programs
Saturday, November 20, 2012
10 am – 2 pm
Peak House Pantry Sale
The annual Peak House Pantry Sale, a town tradition for over 40 years, will be held at the Peak House on Saturday, November 18, from 10am – 2pm. Stop by early to pick up home-baked pies, breads and cookies as well as a wedge of sharp Vermont cheese cut by cheese-cutter extraordinaire, Curator Mike Stamer. Browse the white elephant sale for treasures and novelties and take a tour of the house while you’re there. All proceeds support the ongoing maintenance of the Peak House.
Hats Off to the Ladies
Hat factories and the hat industry drove the Medfield economy throughout the 19th century. We’ll take a look at the men who made their fortunes, and how the industry evolved. We’ll also dig deeper, examining women’s role in this industry beginning with 12-year-old Betsey Metcalf and explore what the industry represented in their lives – the emergence of women as a social, political and economic force within the community.
Medfield Under Attack
The society is launching its 2012-13 season with the premiere showing of “Medfield Under Attack,” a brand new retrospective on the Native-American assault on Medfield on February 21, 1676, during the King Philip War. Filmed on location, the movie takes you through Medfield, recounting the events of the attack told at the spot where they occurred. Hear the stories behind the lives lost, the homes burnt and the flight of Native-Americans over the burning Charles River bridges. This one-hour movie, produced by curator Richard DeSorgher and filmed by Medfield TV, makes its debut on the big screen at the Thomas A. Blake Middle School Auditorium on 24 Pound St, site of the original Thurston Homestead, which was destroyed in the attack and which saw one Thurston child taken hostage and two killed. A must see for anyone interested in the story behind this inauspicious day.
MEMO’s Medfield Day is slated for Saturday, September 15, 2012. Come visit us at the Medfield Historical Society booth (#39), across from the Dwight-Derby House, where we’ll be featuring a display on “Medfield Reads History.” Bring along a friend and introduce them to what the Historical Society has to offer. While you’re there, be sure to enter our drawing!
Join us on Thursday, September 6, for a collaborative First Thursday with partners of the Medfield Cultural District. Zullo Gallery will remain open from 6 – 10 pm with the last week of its exhibition “Four Artists” and continue its popular grilling on the deck. At 6:15 pm, Town Historian Richard DeSorgher and Public Art Consultant Jean Mineo will lead a 45-minute walking tour along Main Street to discuss the poetry installation “Thoughts Are Free” and several historic properties in the District. A brief tour of the Peak House is included. From 6 – 8 pm, cultural leaders from the Dwight Derby House, Medfield Green, Medfield TV, Medfield Historic Society, Medfield Cultural Council, M.E.M.O, Friends of the Library, Vine Lake Preservation Trust, and more, will be on hand to preview their upcoming programs.
Summer 2012 Programs and Events
J. J. Francis Art Exhibit
Sunday, July 29 and Sunday, August 19, 2012
2 pm – 5 pm
One of Medfield’s more famous artists, John Jesse Francis, will be featured in two one-day exhibitions of his paintings at the Peak House.
J.J. Francis was a world-renowned watercolor artist, who painted local landscapes in his 2nd-floor studio at Medfield’s Peak House. At least by 1886 when he was 24 years old, he came to Medfield as one of a growing artist colony that discovered this town’s landscapes and milieu conducive to creativity. He retreated from Boston to Medfield each summer for an unknown number of years before beginning residence in Newton around 1910. He and members of his family are buried in the Old Section of Vine Lake Cemetery.
Medfield High School Revue
Find your old classmates and teachers in our collection of MHS yearbooks, look back at old photos and paraphernalia and reminisce about “the good ol’ days.
See the sword that was used aboard the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) during action in the War of 1812 and an assortment of swords, sabers and guns in other conflicts, from the Civil War to World War I and II, at this fascinating exhibit of old weapons on display at the Peak House.
Antique Farm Machinery Exhibit
Explore the ways people in the 18th and 19th centuries conducted life in New England, and the evolution of farm machinery during a period when hand labor was gradually replaced with mechanical devices.