The Wellesley Historical Society, which has been getting more and more cramped in its current location at the Dadmun-McNamara house at the junction of Rtes. 9 and 16, has closed on the purchase of a much bigger property that should allow the non-profit organization’s expanding collection of town artifacts to breathe.
The Society on Dec. 31 closed on its purchase of the Stanwood House at 323 Washington St. (shown here), which is located between Cliff Road and the Unitarian-Universalist Church. Built in 1916 as the home and office of Wellesley doctor Frederic Stanwood, the property contains over 5,000 square feet of usable space and a three-car garage. It’s unclear when the organization will actually be able to move to 323 Washington St., as various refurbishments to accommodate historical document storage, handicap accessibility, etc., need to be made.
The Society has been searching for a new location for years to better expose its collections of butterflies (let them spread their wings!), maps, art and more, so that they can be enjoyed by visitors young and old. It learned about the Stanwood property’s availability in October and has been working to raise money for the down payment and initial operating expenses. The Society has been on a major outreach program of late and according to WHS president John Celi, “is initiating a capital campaign to raise the needed funds to pay off the mortgage and set up an endowment.”
The home (see the staircase here) was sold to the Society by David Zuretti, a retired Natick schoolteacher who has spent the past decade improving the house, traveling through New England to find paneling and artwork (including items from the Wellesley Inn) to create a virtual showcase of Americana.
The Society plans to maintain the Dadmun-McNamara House, which was built in 1824 as the home for the toll collector on the Worcester Turnpike. The Society’s Tollhouse Shop, which sells gently used china, glass, jewelry, linens, and other objects of interest, will continue to operate out of the 229 Washington St., building, as will the Society’s administrative offices, at least for now.