Using measuring tape, hammer and nails, teacher Garrett Tingle and students from Newton North High School’s Carpentry Technology program are replacing the railing on the back porch of Jackson Homestead with sections that they built in class. The project, a collaboration between Historic Newton, the City of Newton Public Buildings department, and the Newton North carpentry program, adds a new but historically appropriate section to the porch overlooking the yard at the Jackson Homestead.
To come up with the design, members of the Buildings & Grounds committee at Historic Newton researched architectural plans for the Jackson Homestead. The oldest documents they could locate come from 1935 and show a relatively simple handrail around the side porch and back exit. The committee favored the simple design of a 2x4 inch top railing with balusters. A decorative ball on each of the end posts, part of the design of the railing that is being replaced, will be added for a modest enhancement. When complete, the handrails in the rear of the building will resemble the new handrails beside the ramp to the parking lot off of Washington Street. The Newton Historic Commission approved the design.
“We are thrilled with the result of this collaboration between different city departments,” said Historic Newton Director Lisa Dady. “It’s a learning opportunity for students and the result is a beautiful and functional new railing.”
The cost for the project is shared between departments, with Public Buildings covering materials, students providing labor, and Historic Newton making a financial contribution to the student carpentry program as compensation for the labor.
The students plan to continue building and replacing sections of the railing throughout the school year so that the new railing will be ready for a coat of paint this spring, just in time for summer education programs at the Jackson Homestead.