Historic Newton Completes Durant-Kenrick Restoration Project

Opens with Innovative Approach to Historic House Exhibitions

 Historic Newton Completes Durant-Kenrick Restoration Project,
Opens with Innovative Approach to Historic House Exhibitions 

For Information Contact:

Historic Newton

Director Cindy Stone, (617) 796-1450

cstone@newtonma.gov
Photo Courtesy of Robin Z. Boger

(Newton, Massachusetts, January 26, 2014)  The Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, a beautifully restored and preserved 1734 house and newly constructed educational center,  celebrated its grand opening today in a ceremony that marked the completion of an eight-year, $4.9 million project carried out by volunteers and staff of Historic Newton. 

Leading the celebration were Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Historic Newton Board president Carl M. Cohen, and Historic Newton Director Cindy Stone.

Mayor Warren said, “Newton tips its hat to the tremendous effort carried out by Historic Newton over the past eight years. The Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds provide an important sustainable educational resource to allow us to better understand our past and gives us a great perspective to help us plan our future. The project represents the very essence of community engagement and public-private partnerships.”

Historic Newton President Cohen said, “Our success shows how much can be accomplished when dedicated and caring individuals come together for the good of their community. We are deeply indebted to the tremendous generosity and ongoing support of the Durant Homestead Foundation for donating the home and getting us started on this project. And, without a doubt, we could not have reached this milestone without the generous support and encouragement we received from Mayor Warren and the Board of Aldermen, and a host of local residents, foundations, and state and federal agencies.”

Director Cindy Stone said, “For Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds we developed a host of family-friendly interactive and state-of-the art multi-media exhibits to educate area residents about the Revolutionary War, the mid-1800’s horticultural revolution, the freedoms we now appreciate through our experience with slavery in Newton, and the importance of the historic preservation movement.”

Located at 286 Waverley Avenue, the house was the home to the Durants, community leaders representing Newton in opposing the Tea Act and chairing Newton’s Committee of Correspondence; they marched to Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1776; fought in the Revolutionary War; owned slaves; and served as school masters when the house was used as a public school. Later owners of the house, the Kenricks, ran one of the earliest and largest commercial nurseries in New England on 90+ acres (including the current Farlow Hill and Commonwealth Golf Course). More recently, Harvard business professor Arthur Stone Dewing and his wife Frances restored the house their ancestors built, and were leaders of the New England’s historic preservation movement.

Construction on the house included adding the support structure needed to accommodate visitors, updating electrical, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, adding a new wing to accommodate school groups and other visitors, and in a rare step for a historic home, installing an elevator to allow visitors with disabilities access to parts of the second floor.

The project was designed by Ann Beha Architects and Lucinda Brockway of Past Designs historic landscape design, and constructed by M.J. Mawn, Inc.

Future work calls for planting a wide variety of heirloom fruit trees, herbs, and flowers to finish out the grounds.

Starting January 29, the Durant-Kenrick House will be open Wednesday-Friday, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. Admission to the site will be $6 for a full price ticket, $5 for a discounted ticket. Discounted ticket rates apply to: Newton residents, seniors, children 6-12 years, AAA members, and students with ID. Children 5 and under and members of Historic Newton receive free admission. Passes that combine admission to this site with admission to the Jackson Homestead and Museum are also available.

Historic Newton is a partnership of the Newton Historical Society and the City of Newton, who together operate the Jackson Homestead and Museum and preserve three historic burying grounds. In addition, Historic Newton operates and maintains the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, and offers Newton’s annual House Tour, Preservation Awards, historic markers, a broad range of walking tours and an exciting mix of educational programs, exhibits, and presentations. Additional information is available at www.historicnewton.org.

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