The following Sponsored Post has been researched and written by Dede Long, a Realtor at Pinnacle Residential Properties.
Every house has a story to tell, whether through the styles and methods of building from 200 years ago or by showcasing the advancements of modern construction in the present day. Wellesley’s rich architectural diversity gives us a visual history lesson, preserving the heritage and personalities of each unique neighborhood while effortlessly blending the old with the new.
My affection for older homes is rooted in their ability to serve as time capsules and is one of the reasons I became a Realtor at Pinnacle. There is something magical about imagining the world as it was during the time the house was under construction. Who were the original homeowners and what was their occupation? From where did they come? Who designed the home, and what special labor was required to build it? What did the world look like as owners looked through the ‘wavy’ glass of the old windows? It is this collective history of the people and bygone days that gives older homes a soul as unique as a fingerprint, and in turn, endears them to their owners as they become a part of the story that a house is always writing.
It just felt like home
That is certainly true for my friends, Kerry and Damian Miles, who remember a connection that was ‘hard to describe’ when they entered the Washington Street house on the Lower Newton Falls side of town. “There was just something about the way the house felt”, says Kerry. “Damian and I knew that we had found our home from the moment we walked in the door.”
Kerry, a native of Maynard, met Damian in London while they both were working there. After marrying and having two sons, they decided to move to Massachusetts to be near Kerry’s family. Finding the perfect home was a process, and the idea of owning an older, renovated home appealed to them.
As a family who also appreciated history, they were delighted to find out the home with which they felt a kinship had a special past. When they bought it, they knew it was built in 1906 by James and Sarah Early, grocers with a store in Lower Newton Falls. They also knew the Early’s had two children, and that one of them was rather famous. The Early’s had a son named Jack, a revered local politician and celebrated WWI war veteran, who went on to help found the American Legion. Jack was so respected in Wellesley that upon his death, he had a funeral procession down Washington Street fit for George Washington himself.
Not too late to discover more about the Earlys
Recently, I asked the Miles’ if I could look a bit deeper into the history of their home just for fun. Looking up the provenance of my friends’ and clients’ homes is a passion of mine as a realtor, and I had just joined the Board of the Historical Society, so they agreed. It did not take long to uncover that there was more to the Washington St. home than Jack Early’s story. It turns out that Mr. and Mrs. Early had a remarkable daughter as well, and her name was Eleanor.
Eleanor Early is arguably as important or more so than her better-known brother in the contributions she made during her day. It is not just what she did, but what she had to overcome to do it. Expected to be a kindergarten teacher, she defied her parents and instead became a prolific writer and world explorer; penning novels and articles on topics ranging from travel to food to marriage advice. I was able to find a letter at an antique dealer in New York penned by Ms. Early wherein her adventurous spirit shines through: “Your letter was forwarded to me in the West Indies…I am flying to Ireland tomorrow…Tell your pupils…to go to college, study writing — then to write…it is only by writing, I think, that they’ll learn how to write.”
As avid readers with a penchant for traveling, reading, and cooking, the connection they felt to their home was no longer a mystery. Discovering that an author named Eleanor Early — a woman brave enough to do what she did in the years before she even had the right to vote — deepened their affection and further endeared them to their already beloved home. Owning their home is now more than just their legacy but has become part of Eleanor’s; they know they are writing a new chapter where she wrote so many in the same rooms they live in today.
Every house has a story
There are so many homes just like Kerry and Damian’s in our gorgeous hometown, and many other chapters are waiting to be written as they pass from one family to the next. Does your older home have a story? Uncovering how the history of these homes connect to their owners is one of the most fun parts of my job, and I would love to help you find out. Feel free to reach out to me anytime and we can see if you, too, own a piece of history!
Dede Long, Realtor
Pinnacle Residential Properties
555 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482
+1 (617) 717- 9683 mobile
+1 (781) 237-5000 office