• 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 Heck

    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 Heck

    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, now operating as the Peak House Heritage Center
    345 Main Street – 1711-1714

    The Peak House today, with tree removed, new walk and railing, historically appropriate herb garden planted.

    Located at 345 Main Street (Route 109) in Medfield, its architecture is one of the earliest surviving examples of post-medieval English (Elizabethan) architecture as well as being the only free-standing structure of its kind in the United States. Its most unusual and salient feature is its exceptionally steep pitched roof which is the highest on record in Massachusetts. This distinction is noted by its name, the Peak House.

    The house also has the earliest known example of an innovative roof form, consisting entirely of principal rafters without purlins (a horizontal beam along the length of a roof, resting on a main rafter and supporting the common rafters or boards). According to Historic New England, this practice appeared in the development of 17th century communities inland from the Massachusetts coast.

    In 1924, with consultation by William Sumner Appleton from SPNEA (currently Historic New England) the Peak House was thoroughly restored without altering its basic framework.

    The Peak House is now operating as the Peak House Heritage Center. For more information, click here.



    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.

    Visiting the cemetery? Make your cemetery visit easier and more informative by downloading the Vine Lake Cemetery app from your app store onto your mobile phone or tablet to locate gravesites, explore memories, and take walking tours. Interested in searching Vine Lake Cemetery burial records? Click here to get started.

    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.

    18 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

      • identicon
        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

      • identicon
        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

      • Medfield Historical Society
        February 14, 2015 at 12:01 am

        According to the 1930’s U.S. Census, George Miller lived on Frairy Street. He was 64 years of age, his wife Ruby 45, their son, George, 21, the oldest daughter, Ruby, 19, Margaret 18, Dorothy 16 and Mary 10. George and his wife were workers at the hat factory. I believe the Millers rented the Dwight-Derby House. I have heard stories of them rolling up the carpet in the parlor and dancing. So, ice dancing does not seem that unbelievable.

        Are these the Miller’s you’re looking for?

        • Nadine suereth
          August 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm

          Absolutely!!! This is great information and I hope to get to Medfield to gather more family info. My mother was Ruby, aged 18 at the time you mentioned. Can I get her graduation info at the Town Hall? Thank you for answering me

    5. David Swallow
      January 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Has any consideration been given as to the historical significance of the grist mill
      at Kingsbury’s Pond? Shouldn’t it be number 7 on the list? I noticed an upgrading of
      the outside of the building, but has anyone entertained the idea of getting it
      running again? The water-race is still there to run it, and the grindstones should
      still be inside.

      • identicon
        Medfield Historical Society
        September 18, 2015 at 2:34 am

        Built around 1718 by Captain Joseph Clark, the Kingsbury Grist Mill is one of Medfield’s most visible historic buildings. While it does hold a great deal of historical significance, it has not (yet) been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is why it is not on this page of our website. The Kingsbury Grist Mill Committee has undertaken the restoration of the grist mill — in fact, these efforts have been underway since the 1980s. The new water wheel, which was installed in September, 2013, is now running. Eventually, the committee hopes to re-open the mill for people to see how milling has progressed through the years. In addition to the new water wheel on the side of the building, there is also a turbine (essentially a water wheel on its side) inside the building which the original committee had repaired. For more information, email medfieldgristmill@gmail.com or see their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MedfieldGristMill.

        • Paul Nyren
          April 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm

          The Committee was formed in the early 1990s by the Selectmen when Medfield acquired the Mill, pond and surrounding property from Mrs. Kingsbury’s estate starting at Route 27 to the train tracks dividing the Kingsbury pond from the smaller pond on South Street.
          The Mill never had an exterior water wheel only a turbine fed by the sluice under the Mill and the wheel is only a modern glamourization. Paul Nyren, Original Chair

    6. Steve Rossi
      August 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Early 1900s my great grandfather and his son, my grandfather, worked for Dr Goldthwaite at the doctor’s horse farm about where Lovell’s nursery is now ( once owned by my grand uncle Peter Pederzini ). My great grandfather was Dioginio Rossi ( aka Juni ) and his son was Nando Rossi. I seek proof of when they worked there. My late father ( born 1908 ) said he grew up in what is now known as the Flagg House.

    7. October 30, 2015 at 6:37 am

      Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better!
      Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!

      He always kept chatting about this. I wiill forward this write-up
      to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
      Thankks for sharing!

    8. carolyn sherry nee thurston
      January 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Thankyou for your interesting website. I am researching my relative john Thurston who was an early settler from England. I wondered if his name is mentioned anywhere in the records. He was a carpenter and built the first schoolhouse in Dedham before moving to Medfield when it founded. He was married to Margaret and they arrived in massachusets in 1636 aboard the Mary Anne out of Great Yarmouth England. They had several children who all lived in Medfield. My son has married an American and my grandchildren are American so I am very interested to find out all I can about Medfield for them. as part of their legacy and roots.

      • David Temple
        January 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm

        I just noticed your inquiry, almost a year to the day after you posted it. You can find Thurston information in Tilden’s History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts. Note particularly page 495 ff. Here’s a link to the complete text of Tilden. https://archive.org/details/historyoftownofm00tild

    9. Karen Wills
      June 15, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Hello, thank you for such an informative, interesting website! I am looking forward to visiting the historical society on Saturday in hopes of learning more about my father and grandparents. My grandfather, Everett Wills, and grandmother Rhoda McLeod Gallagher Wills, lived on a small farm about 3 miles outside the center of Medfield in the 1930’s and Everett worked as a carpenter. I think his family had a hardware store in the town.
      Rhoda (1900-1972) came from St. John’s, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia at 16 years old to be a housemaid to a family that lived in or near Needham. In about 1924, she married Frank Stevenson Gallagher, Sr., who died in about 1930, leaving her to raise my dad Frank Stevenson Gallagher Jr (1927-2015). Rhoda worked as a governess for wealthy families in the area and my dad was fostered out — he lived with various families including a lobsterman in Gloucester and a farmer in Needham. Somehow my grandmother met and married Everett Wills in about 1937. During the war she raised chickens and supplied eggs to many people in Medfield. In the 1960’s and 70’s, after Everett died, Rhoda worked at Lord’s Department Store, and lived on Elm Street. My dad ranged the marshes, trapped muskrats and sold their pelts. Everett adopted my dad who added the last name “Wills.” I am writing up the story of my dad’s life (just for fun and to share with our family), and would be happy to share copies or scans of photos of Medfield in the 30’s through 60’s, if of any interest. I put some information on ancestry.com but it’s too expensive to maintain the subscription! I look forward to visiting while in Boston area this week. – Karen

    10. Karen Smeed
      August 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      My husband’s family history is embedded in the Colonial Period of MA and we are traveling to MA this fall, so I would like to know if the following ancestors have gravesites or other related historical sites in Medfield: Lt. John and Elizabeth (Freeman) Ellis; John and Magdalene (Bullard) Partridge; Jane (Hogg) Partridge; [John settled near his bro, Samuel, in the Black Swamp ~ where is that?]; Zachariah and Mary (Ellis) Partridge; & John and Magdalene (George Martyn) Bullard. Any information re. the above mentioned persons will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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