AT A GLANCE Our campaign will: • RESTORE the pre-Revolutionary Durant-Kenrick Homestead • IMPROVE ACCESS for visitors and schools to the Jackson Homestead • STRENGTHEN PROGRAMMING for schoolchildren, families and adults We are graced with a window of opportunity to preserve Newton’s past, connect it to today, and inspire our future.
$4.61 MILLION Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds Restore the house and grounds, build a new education wing, and endow its on-going operations and interpretative programs
$0.91 MILLION Jackson Homestead and Museum Develop and improved classroom/orientation space, expand the archives, and improve visitor and staff amenities
$5.52 MILLION IN TOTAL THE BENEFITS OF OUR CAMPAIGN WILL REACH…
• Teachers & Schoolchildren
• Amateur and Professional
Historians • Homeowners • Preservationists • Gardeners
• People with disabilities • Out-of-town visitors and • the Entire Newton Community
1 A WINDOW OF
The qualities of our city in which we take most pride—its progressive vision, commitment to justice and equality, and active civic participation—did not come easily. Hot debate and hard choices shaped our town.
“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” [ David McCullough ]
Newton’s tradition of engagement with civic ideals stretches back in time. As stewards of our community’s rich history, Historic Newton mines our political and cultural conversations of past years, finds the issues that speak to us today, and uses history to put contemporary challenges in perspective. How do we accomplish this? • By keeping alive the spirit of the Jackson family. Staunch abolitionists, they opened their home as a station on the Underground Railroad bringing runaway slaves to freedom. • Through innovative programs such as our online exhibition “HyphenatedOrigins: Going Beyond the Labels,” which tells the story of what it means to be an immigrant American through the eyes of Newton high school students. • And now, we have a unique opportunity to preserve the Durant-Kenrick Homestead. One of Newton’s earliest houses, it dates to 1732. Once fully restored, this stately home will help us bring to life the ideas behind the American Revolution. Edward Durant and other Newton residents showed us the power of civic engagement as they honed the arguments for the rights accorded every British citizen. New exhibits and programs will demonstrate how these lofty ideals took shape around a kitchen table—just like yours. Preserving and interpreting history is important work. Historic Newton believes that it is critical to infuse our young people and all citizens with the conviction that engaging in civic life is essential to sustaining our democracy and community. Teaching the past helps to shape tomorrow. Our Campaign for Historic Newton presents a rare opportunity to contribute to the character of our city, the understanding of our citizenry, and the education and upbringing of our children.
OUR WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS NOW. PLEASE JOIN US.
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
CHAIR, CAMPAIGN STEERING COMMITTEE
A window of opportunity to preserve Newtonâ€™s past, connect it to today, and inspire our future HISTORY
preserves OUR HERITAGE
connects PAST & PRESENT
Ours is a view of history connected to people and places that brings to life the vitality of ideas. Historic Newton together with the City of Newton operates the Jackson Homestead and Museum on Washington Street. With your help, we can acquire another, even older, historic property. The Durant-Kenrick Homestead on Waverley Avenue played an important role in the days leading up to the American Revolution. These are places where history comes alive; they are built environments that bring the past into today. Yet, what captures our imagination most about old structures are the people who lived and worked there, the ideas generated within, and their impact on our city and nation. Houses are platforms for interpretation and discussion about what truly makes a difference.
4 Preservation is a tool toward our museum’s true work: education. We see the whole city as our museum. We create innovative exhibits, walking tours of neighborhoods and burial grounds, and hands-on, experiential activities for children and adults. These programs remind us how this city has participated in movements—both big and small—that have shaped our world. We take pride that Newtonites have been at the center of two truly pivotal moments: The time leading up to the Revolution, which laid the groundwork for democracy, and the decades before the Civil War, in which citizens argued for social justice and the basic rights of all people.
“History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew.” [ E.L. Doctorow ]
connects PAST & PRESENT
We have much to learn from these two homes and the themes they embody. It is up to us to steward their legacy. Through the Historic Newton campaign, we will continue to lend context to contemporary problems by bringing the wisdom of the past to bear on the issues of today and providing access to the lessons of history.
NEWTON AS THE REVOLUTION DAWNED
Great Britain won the French and Indian War, but economic recovery proved elusive. Turning an eye to the colonies, Parliament enacted a series of taxes that eventually fomented rebellion. Second generation at the Durant Homestead, Edward Durant III enjoyed a cosmopolitan and genteel lifestyle. A victualer, or wholesale grocer, his trade with Boston brought him in contact with radical ideas concerning what he saw as arbitrary and onerous taxes. Elected selectman and town moderator, Durant helped form Newtonâ€™s Committee of Correspondence. These committees, the Internet of their day, coordinated information throughout the colonies. Within days of an event, the countryside was alert to consequences and united in resolve. The resulting Revolution began at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, where two of Durantâ€™s sons fought with the patriots under the command of Lt. Michael Jackson, cousin of the builder of the Jackson Homestead.
a unique opportunity to preserve this historic jewel to capture its lessons for today
preserves OUR HERITAGE
What we call history is a record of people building a better tomorrow. Clearly, that was the goal of Edward Durant in the winter of 1773. As word of the Boston Tea Party arrived in outlying towns, he gathered other local leaders to form the Newton Committee of Correspondence. It reported the town of Newton to be “greatly alarmed” at Parliament’s attempts “to undermine our happy constitution, and deprive us of those rights and privileges which we justly claim as men, as members of the British Empire, and as chartered colonists.” Now, we have a unique opportunity to preserve this home—a historic jewel where these ideas were birthed and developed—to capture its lessons for today. The
$4.61 MILLION Durant–Kenrick Homestead
Durant Homestead Foundation is offering the property to Historic Newton to develop the house and grounds
286 Waverly Avenue
as a public resource. Our campaign seeks $4.61 million in capital improvements and endowment to make this
THE CAMPAIGN WILL…
PRESERVE A CLASSIC 18TH CENTURY HOME OPEN A MODERN VISITOR CENTER CREATE AN EDUCATION WING RESTORE THE GROUNDS ESTABLISH AN ENDOWMENT FOR OPERATIONS AND PROGRAMS
What will these funds achieve for Durant-Kenrick? • First, the PRESERVATION of one of Newton’s earliest remaining and most significant homes, built in 1732. Working with preservation architects, we have developed a detailed plan to restore the home both inside and out. This is vital, because it will preserve the environment of the Durant and Kenrick families. The house itself and its period furniture, paintings, and other artifacts are authentic objects that reach across time. To ensure Newton’s vitality both past and
present, and to set it into the larger context of our region and nation, preservation of historic buildings is essential.
VISITOR CENTER AND EDUCATION WING
• Second, we will construct a VISITOR CENTER AND EDUCATION WING. This wing will become the new entrance for the home, accessible to people with disabilities. And it will provide a modern learning environment with exhibits, lectures, and experiential programming. In particular, we will enrich the Newton Public Schools’ third-grade curriculum on local historical families, including the Durants, in the late Colonial era. By bringing schoolchildren to the Durant-Kendrick House, we will make their studies tangible and real. Stepping into a pre-Revolutionary world, they will experience firsthand how lofty ideals took shape in kitchens and parlors—just as their parents are discussing current political ideas today. • Third, we will RESTORE THE GROUNDS. The Kenrick family, the 19th-century residents of the property, were among America’s first horticulturalists. Their orchards and nurseries extended across the southern slope of Farlow [Nonantum] Hill. The current property, about two acres, retains an ancient beech tree that survives from their time. We will add examples of plants they grew commercially, which
preserves OUR HERITAGE
will bolster programs on agricultural economy, horticulture, landscaping, and ecological history. Finally, we are well aware of the costs associated with preserving and maintaining old houses. In order to accept the responsibility as stewards for the Homestead, we will set aside an endowment to provide for upkeep and programming into the future. Both the Durant Homestead Foundation and the Historic Newton boards have
contributed leadership gifts to this purpose.
RESTORE THE GROUNDS
“History by apprising [students] of the past will enable them to judge of the future...” [ Thomas Jefferson ]
EXISTING BUILDING OUTLINE
NEWTON AS THE REVOLUTION DAWNED
share stories and spark mindsâ€”young and old alike
inspires OUR FUTURE
History happened here. William Jackson, 1783–1855, was a Congressman and ardent supporter of the abolitionist movement. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, he gave asylum to runaway slaves, helping them escape to freedom. The Jackson Homestead is a documented site on the Underground Railroad. Jackson’s actions and commitment connect Newton to one of the defining issues in American history. The family’s example lives on today through hallmark exhibits and programs on social justice, interracial harmony, immigration, and slavery.
$.91 MILLION Jackson Homestead and Museum 527 Washington Street THE CAMPAIGN WILL… DEVELOP BETTER EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES FOR SCHOOL AUDIENCES CREATE AN ORIENTATION AREA CONSTRUCT A BETTER AND MORE ACCESSIBLE HOME FOR OUR ARCHIVES IMPROVE STORAGE FOR OUR COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL OBJECTS EXPAND WORKSPACE FOR STAFF, INTERNS AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
12 Changing museum exhibits at the Homestead display objects and share stories that spark minds—young and old alike. Programs bring long-ago people to life, promote a sense of civic identity, inspire residents who are restoring their old houses, imbue a sense of community through walking tours of Newton neighborhoods and historic burying grounds, and remind us of local customs. Overall, we promote inquiry into and exploration of Newton’s past within the broad context of
IMPROVED CLASSROOM/ ORIENTATION AREA
American history. However, the current space at the Jackson Homestead severely limits our ability to fulfill our educational mission.
What are the challenges and solutions for the Jackson Homestead and Museum? • Visitors to the museum must enter through the only available room for school visits, often stepping over the heads of children! It is disruptive to both the students and the visitor. Our plans call for an improved EDUCATIONAL SPACE to provide a more conducive learning environment as well as a welcoming exhibition to orient the public to the treasures within. • MUSEUM ARCHIVES overflow with tens of thousands of documents, manuscripts, maps and photographs—all related to Newton, our people, and our history. But, the only study space for scholars and homeowners who wish to search the collections is in staff offices. Private study carrels, modern storage, climate control to preserve historic records, and a catalogue providing productive access to our archives are priorities. • The museum also has a valuable collection of HISTORICAL OBJECTS that is stored in closets and cupboards throughout the museum as well as the second floor and attic. By moving our collection of historical objects and artifacts off-site, we will be able to store these items more conveniently so they can be easily unpacked and moved into exhibits. At the same time, the second floor space will be converted into space for interns and staff and for educational programming. With the acquisition of the Durant-Kenrick Homestead and improvements to the Jackson Homestead, we will have two venues for teaching history—a historic home, that invites visitors to experience how people lived, and a museum, housing multiple exhibits illuminating our city’s character over time. Together with walking tours and the burying grounds, the whole city becomes the canvas on which to tell our story.
inspires OUR FUTURE
IMPROVED CLASSROOM/ ORIENTATION SPACE
NEW UNIVERSAL ACCESS ENTRANCE
THE JACKSON HOMESTEAD AND MUSEUM PLAN
THE JACKSONS AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD “One night between twelve and one o’clock, I well remember father was awakened by pebbles thrown against his window. He rose and asked what was wanted? Dr. Bowditch replied it was he, with a runaway slave whom he wished father to hide till morning, and then help him on his way to Canada, for his master was in Boston looking for him.” [ Ellen Jackson, Annals from the Old Homestead ]
Close to the railroad tracks, the Jackson Homestead was a convenient station for fugitive slaves. If, that is, Jackson family members were willing to risk their own freedom and fortune. In the era before the Civil War, harboring slaves was illegal and the Underground Railroad is sparsely documented. We know that William Jackson contributed to many antislavery organizations and held office in the Massachusetts Abolition Society. In 1840, he helped found the Liberty Party, hopeful that politics could bring about the end of slavery. In 2001, the Jackson Homestead became one of the first ten sites nationwide to be included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
engaging in civic life is essential to sustaining our
Holding down costs is an essential management practice. Consequently, Historic Newton has gone to great lengths to ensure that seizing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered by the Durant-Kenrick Homestead will preserve our organization’s history of fiscal restraint and operation in the black. Our board insisted that the acquisition of the Durant-Kenrick Homestead not stress future operating budgets. Consequently, a significant element of the Campaign is an endowment for upkeep and programming for this new acquisition. Our plans to acquire and restore the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds and renovate museum facilities at the Jackson Homestead are based on an extensive strategic planning process that covered finances, capital improvements, and expanded public outreach. This fiscal responsibility has helped our Campaign receive early and enthusiastic leadership giving: • 100 PERCENT
of Historic Newton board members have pledged.
• The Durant family, through FOUNDATION AND PERSONAL GIFTS, will not only donate the property but also contribute to its endowment.
16 • Several foundations that are LONGTIME SUPPORTERS, such as the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, have given early support. • COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT (CPA)
funds, critical to the success of
this project, have been allocated for our projects. In launching the public phase of the Campaign for Historic Newton, we will have raised over $4.5 million of our overall goal of $5.56 million, amounting to more than 80 percent. That is significant support by any standard and far more than usual at such an early stage for a community-based organization. We are well on the road to success! NOW, THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS WILL COME FROM YOU—THE NEWTON COMMUNITY.
This campaign offers a window of opportunity to join our leadership donors as stewards of Newton’s past, present, and future. Your gifts will be an investment in our community, preserving a significant historic building and expanding the educational impact of Newton’s history to ensure an informed and engaged citizenry for our future.
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY: Steve Rosenthal, Melissa Westlake, David Oliver, Harry Lohr, David DeJean, David Olson, and Sage Builders
Cynthia S. Stone
527 Washington Street Newton, MA 02458 Tel (617) 796-1450 Fax (617) 552-7228 www.historicnewton.org
David G. Oliver