Historic Tenacre house makes its move closer to Benvenue Street

Tenacre Country Day School students in Wellesley didn’t have to go far for a very cool field trip this past week: They only had to go outside on campus to see an historic 2-story building called Appledore on its 150-f00t move along rails to get closer to Benvenue Street.

The move of this former home for heads of school from 1952-2023 is part of a larger campus transformation that includes converting that building into an administrative office space and constructing a new 9,000 sq. ft., 2-story design center building at the former Appledore location that will support technology, art, and other learning.

appledore tenacre
Appledore building at Tenacre (photo courtesy of Chelsea Sebastian, who wrote that it was refreshing to see an old home moved instead of demolished)


Tenacre lays out its timeline for the project in a 2022-2027 strategic plan. The last phase involves renovating its Leesway building as it morphs into a learning hub for students in 2025.

The move of 4,000-plus sq. ft. Appledore, built in 1880, caught the eye of numerous Swellesley readers for “floating” upon temporary cribbing infrastructure at its new location. We thank those who shared photos with us.

Tenacre used the engineering project as not just an outdoor field trip, but also for an in-classroom lesson. Kindergartners at the pre-K-through-grade 6 school got a visit from the foreman from the project to help them model the mechanisms that would be used to move the actual house. This involved building a small house, leveling a rail, adding a temporary support beneath the house, and using wooden dowels to move the house down the rail.

Kids fortunately were spared modeling the process of getting a project through town approvals, including at the Design Review Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, as Tenacre did in 2023 (see construction plan submitted to the town last summer).

appledore tenacre
Appledore building at Tenacre (photo courtesy of Michael Tobin)

Please support your local news source, The Swellesley Report