• Recent Programs

    Fall 2015 Programs

    Student Curators Present The Morse Family

    Morse Monument_Vine Lake Cemetery

    Morse Monument at Vine Lake Cemetery in Medfield.

    Monday, March 7
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    In March our student curators, Medfield High School seniors Elizabeth Athanasiadis and Wesley Fedak, presented a program on the Morse family, descendants of Samuel Morse, one of the original Medfield settlers.

    There are a lot of Morses around, not all of whom are directly related to our Samuel. The Morse Society, based in Lakeland, Florida, is an organization that researches and preserves information of genealogical and historical significance to and for Morses around the world. Their work is inclusive of all variant spellings of the surname, including Morse, Mors, Morss, and Moss. So far the society has identified over 150 people descended from the original Morse, Morss, Moss, etc.

    The Morse monument is arguably the most prominent in Medfield’s Vine Lake Cemetery. Morse Society paid for repairs on it several years ago.

    Growing Up in Medfield in the 50s and 60s

    Red Palumbo (left) and Morris (Moe) Geller, who ran Geller's M & M Cleaners located next to Palumbo Liquors.

    Red Palumbo (left) and Morris (Moe) Geller, who ran Geller’s M & M Cleaners located next to Palumbo Liquors.

    Monday, February 1
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Mefield

    About 10 years ago town historian Richard DeSorgher staged a series of very entertaining programs that drew huge crowds about small-town life when many of the regular now-adult attendees were kids. In February, curator Jack Downing brought together an engaging group of panelists, including Tom Sweeney, Bob Curry, Marge Vasaturo, and Nancy Frame Sedin, who regaled the audience with stories about growing up in Medfield in the 50s and 60s.



    Members-Only Holiday Party

    Hamant House Holiday PartySunday, December 13
    2-4 pm
    The Hamant House

    Chuck and Louise Bickley graciously opened their home to the Medfield Historical Society for our annual holiday party, on Sunday, December 13.

    The Bickley’s house, built circa 1651 by Francis Hamant, one of Medfield’s original thirteen settlers, was beautifully decked out for the holidays. The 25+ members who attended had a good time in a wonderful house!

    Peak House Pantry and White Elephant Sale

    IMG_0690Saturday, November 21
    9 am – 1 pm
    The Peak House
    345 East Main Street, Medfield

    The annual Peak House Pantry Sale, a town tradition for going on 45 years, was held at the Peak House on Saturday, November 21, from 9 am – 1 pm. As always, Elizabeth Mann and her two daughters were welcomed as our first customers of the day.

    Enthusiastic treasure hunters filled the front yard of the Peak House scooping up bargains at the White Elephant sale. There was something for everyone thanks to the generous donations from our members. Dan Mederios, Medfield Historical Society Treasurer, excelled at his first time as the Master Cheese Cutter. Customers lined up to watch Dan slice the aged Cabot cheddar cheese into wedges while they nibbled on samples.

    The tables inside of the Peak House were loaded with baked goods. The scrumptious pies baked by curators Susan Leavitt and Michelle Linnert and volunteers Jackie Wile, Jane Carter, Carolyn Caragliano, Colleen Sullivan and Michelle’s mother-in-law Bev, sold out quickly. Additional baked goods included donated pumpkin, blueberry, pecan, and mince pies; apple crisps; pumpkin, cranberry, and banana breads; gingerbread Peak House cookies; ginger snaps, oatmeal cookies, Snickerdoodles, and the colonial Joe Frogger cookies.

    The annual Peak House Pantry Sale supports the upkeep of the Peak House. It was a successful day thanks to the people who donated baked goods, White Elephant sale items, and most importantly, their support.

    “History Lost” by Town Historian Richard DeSorgher

    Demolition of the Historic Newport-like  Curtis Mansion at 50 North Street. Suburban Press photo by Laila Kain.

    Demolition of the Historic Newport-like Curtis Mansion at 50 North Street. Suburban Press photo by Laila Kain.

    Monday, November 2
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    Over 100 people attended Richard DeSorgher’s “History Lost” presentation — the largest crowd of the year! Richard presented a one-hour multi-media screening showing “History Lost.” In it he looked at the historic homes Medfield once had and that were demolished. We have lost much but we still have much to be saved. From the town’s character point of view and from a financial point of view, we must work harder to protect these historic homes.  The crowd was riveted as Richard showed what we have lost, what has been saved and why many more homes are in danger of destruction.


    Ken Gloss of Brattle Bookshop Speaks

    Proprietor Ken Gloss.

    Proprietor Ken Gloss.

    Monday, October 5
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    Ken Gloss, who owns the Brattle Book Shop, one of the country’s oldest and largest antiquarian bookshops, is a nationally-recognized authority on old books, and he’s often appeared on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. Ken spoke about the business and pleasure of old books and some of his exciting finds. He delighted the audience by examining and evaluating old books attendees brought to the program.

    MEMO’s Medfield Day

    Jack and Susan man the booth.

    Jack and Susan man the booth.

    Saturday, September 19
    9 am – 3 pm

    MEMO’s 2015 Discover Medfield Day took place on Saturday, Sept. 19th. 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 of historic Medfield homes that have been demolished. In addition to Medfield historical maps and books were some new gift items for sale to raise much-needed funds for the society.


    Winter/Spring 2015 Programs

    Members-Only Museum of World War II Tour

    Museum of WWII. Photo courtesy of Museum of WWII.

    Museum of WWII. Photo courtesy of Museum of WWII.

    Saturday, May 16
    10 am
    Museum of World War II
    8 Mercer Road, Natick
    $15 per person
    This year’s member-only event was a visit to the World War II Museum in Natick and, very appropriately, it took place on Armed Forces Day.

    Visiting the museum is a unique experience. In addition to housing the most comprehensive collection of original World War II artifacts anywhere in the world, the exhibition — nearly 7,000 pieces — integrates the human, political and military stories. It is an intense experience made more so by the fact most artifacts are not behind or under glass. Most can be touched.


    Antique Weapons Experts Speak

    Stuart Mowbray and Joe Pouleo

    Stuart Mowbray, editor, left, and Joe Pouleo, technical editor, right.

    Monday, April 6
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    Is our Medfield musket America’s oldest? The historical society has, locked in its vault in the former Medfield Cooperative Bank, a significant collection of old swords, rifles, pistols, etc.

    We had tried without success to find out about their history, value and care. A few months ago we got lucky. A random phone call from Adams Shipman of Natick led to a two-hour meeting and an extensive write-up in Man at Arms magazine. The article is entitled, “The Medfield Musket – could this be the oldest intact military longarm used in America?”

    Stuart Mowbray, editor, and Joe Pouleo, technical editor, internationally-known experts in antique guns and swords, with John Turner’s musket, presented their surprising and fascinating findings about our collection on April 6 at 7:30 pm at the Society’s meeting at the old meetinghouse, First Parish Unitarian Universalist.


    Personal Accounts of Vietnam War Era
    as Told by Medfield Vets

    Vietnam war soldier.

    Vietnam war soldier. Photo courtesy AP.

    Monday, March 9
    7:30 pm
    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

    IMG_0036 IMG_0038 IMG_0107Every year the historical society holds a holiday party at an historic house in Medfield. Last year it was at the elegant Granville Mitchell shingle-style house on North Street, built in 1910.

    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

    IMG_0448Saturday, November 22, 2014
    9 am – 1 pm

    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

    Former Master of Hounds David W. Lewis.

    Former Master of Hounds David W. Lewis. Courtesy photo.

    Monday, November 3, 2014
    7:30 pm

    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

    Speaker John Thompson

    Speaker John Thompson

    Monday, October 6, 2014
    7:30 pm

    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

    MHS Booth at Medfield Day.

    MHS Booth at 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

    Medfield Girls High School Basketball Team 1906

    Taken on the steps of the Medfield’s original Wheelock School a mere 15 years after James Naismith invented the game of basketball in Springfield. The school, which was on Pleasant Street, burned down in 1940. Courtesy: Medfield Historical Society.

    Monday, April 7, 2014
    7:30 pm
    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

    Former House of John Greene

    Former House of John Greene. Late 19th or early 20th century. Source: Medfield Historical Society.

    Monday, March 3, 2014
    7:30 pm
    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

    Medfield State Hospital

    Medfield State Hospital. Early 1900s. Courtesy Medfield Historical Society.

    Monday, February 3, 2014
    7:30 pm
    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

    Granville Mitchell House

    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

    Chief Mann.

    Courtesy Medfield TV.

    Monday, November 4, 2013
    7:30 pm
    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

    Kingsbury Grist Mill Water Wheel

    Courtesy Theresa Knapp.

    Monday, October 7, 2013
    7:30 pm
    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

    Peak House

    Peak House

    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

    Historical Society DisplaySaturday, September 21, 2013
    9 am to 3 pm

    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

    Fairbanks House_web

    Saturday, June 22, 2013
    10 am

    Fairbanks House
    511 East Street
    Dedham, MA

    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

    The Peak -- Medfield High School YearbooksMonday, April 1, 2013
    7:30 pm
    T. A. Blake Middle School Auditorium

    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

    Old and New Medfield Land Grants

    Map of old and new land grants.

    Monday, February 4, 2013
    7:30 pm
    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

    Peak House Pantry Sale

    Peak House Pantry Sale goodiesThe 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

    Monday, November 5, 2012
    7:30 pm – 9 pm
    First Parish Church

    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

    Attack on StonehouseMonday, October 1, 2012
    7:30 pm – 9 pm
    T.A.  Blake Middle School Auditorium

    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.

    Medfield Day

    Medfield Historical Society BoothSaturday, September 15, 2012
    9 am – 3 pm
    Medfield Center

    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!

    First Thursday

    Medfield Cultural DistrictThursday, September 6, 2012
    6 pm – 10 pm
    Library Courtyard & Zullo Gallery

    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
    Peak House

    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.
    Artist J. J. Francis
    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

    Medfield High School MemorabiliaThursday, August 2, 5pm – 8 pm and
    Saturday, August 4, 10 am – noon
    Medfield Historical Society

    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.


    Weapons Display

    Antique CutlassSunday, August 5 and Sunday, August 26, 2012
    2 pm – 5 pm
    Peak House

    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

    Classic farm machinerySunday, August 12, 2012
    2 pm – 5 pm
    Peak House

    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.