- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program Seeks Request for Expressions of Interest for the Re-Use of Three Historic Structures
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced it is seeking Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) from private parties interested in the opportunity to rehabilitate, reuse, and maintain historic properties within the state parks system. The properties, which are part of the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, include the 18th century farmhouse and former Superintendent’s House at Beartown State Forest in the Town of Monterey, the turn of the century former Metropolitan Parks Commission (MPC) Police Lodge within the Middlesex Fells Reservation in the Town of Stoneham, and the Whitehead House, an 1840s farmhouse in Willowdale State Forest in the Town of Ipswich. At this time, the DCR is not calling for formal proposals, but is issuing an RFEI to present the properties and gauge general interest in the re-use of the structures. Additionally, the Department is particularly interested in exploring partnerships for creative reuses of the historic properties that provide, first and foremost, the preservation of the structure, and encourages innovative ideas that balance practical concerns with historic preservation standards. The RFEI is also an opportunity for neighbors and other stakeholders to provide commentary and input regarding the potential leasing of the properties to an outside party.
“Since the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Historic Curatorship Program was first developed, there have been 23 of the state’s historically significant properties successfully restored and rehabilitated with over $22 million of private funds contributing to the program’s accomplishments,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Baker-Polito Administration continues to foster public-private partnerships, like the Historic Curatorship Program, where curators will have the opportunity to directly work with the agency to restore important structures like the Superintendent’s House, the Police Lodge, and the Whitehead House, enabling their preservation for future generations to enjoy and benefit from.”
The two-story Superintendent’s House at Beartown State Forest was built in 1799 as a farmhouse and was altered in the 1930s for use by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The four bedroom, two bathroom house needs extensive rehabilitation, including new heating, plumbing and electrical systems. DCR is performing structural stabilization work in order to halt further deterioration. The MPC Police Lodge was built in 1900 by the Metropolitan Parks Commission and provided housing for park police at Middlesex Fells Reservation. The two story residence retains much of its rustic architectural style, which integrates fieldstone into its Tudor Revival style to reference the rocky terrain of the Fells. The house sits adjacent to a public parking area that provides access to Virginia Woods and the Reservation’s extensive trail network. The Whitehead House (c. 1840) retains its original exterior finish and is noteworthy for its simple, well-proportioned Greek Revival form with characteristic sidelights and transom surrounding the front door. The two story farmhouse was purchased by Bradley Palmer from the Small family in the early 20th century and became part of his large country estate. It formerly served as forest headquarters and residence for the park superintendent.
In addition to the RFEI, two new properties significant to the agency’s history have recently been added to the Historic Curatorship Program’s enabling legislation. The 1908 Stable on Randolph Avenue in Blue Hills Reservation in the Town of Canton and the 1898 former Superintendent’s House for Stony Brook Reservation in the City of Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood are now eligible for the program. Look for more information on potential Curatorship opportunities at these properties in the future.
The Historic Curatorship Program requires that the property is used in a way that is compatible with the historic building, the park, and the surrounding community. The open and competitive selection process of curators is based on a number of criteria, including the overall quality of the proposal, experience in restoration and historic preservation, financial resources, and the proposed incorporation of public benefits. Curators must provide public access to the property at least two times a year. Currently, the agency has not placed a deadline for responses to the RFEI, and will continue to solicit interest until a formal Request For Proposals has been issued, or if another preservation approach is pursued based on information resulting from the RFEI. Interested parties can find the application documents and additional information on the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program webpage.