“If my walls could talk: Historic Homes of Bedford” – Local Homeowners to Speak on Their Old Homes’ Histories

The three presenters for the Bedford Historical Society’s March program, “If my walls could talk: Historic Homes of Bedford” – Courtesy image, all rights reserved

Submitted by the Bedford Historical Society

An 1800s resident of Bedford, brought back through time to tour Bedford today, would be astonished to see how many of the Town’s old homes had disappeared.  Fewer than 100 Bedford buildings constructed before 1850 are in existence today.

Three surviving historic homes will be described in detail by their modern-day owners when the Bedford Historical Society presents its March 29th Speakers Series program: “If my walls could talk: Historic Homes of Bedford.”

The program will be held on Wednesday evening, Mar. 29 in Upper Fellowship Hall of the First Church of Christ, Congregational.  A social period with refreshments will begin at 7:15 pm, to be followed by brief announcements and the introduction of the three guest speakers at 7:45 pm.

This program is free and open to the public.

“Twin Elms” – Dr. Carl Hanson

Historical Society member Carl Hanson will speak about his house at 40 Springs Road, known as “Twin Elms,” and of the first owners of the property.  Their name was Gragg, but because there were numerous other Gragg families in Bedford, there has been some confusion about this home’s early owners.   Were they William and Mary Gragg or William F. and Maria Gragg?  Dr. Hanson also will show some photographic history of the homestead.

The Hanson’s house is a two-story of Colonial-Federal style that is believed to have been built around 1834-35.  The land on which the house sits was owned by Joshua Page, one of Bedford’s first real estate developers, and sold for $200 on April 28, 1834.  In 1835, real estate taxes on the house amounted to $8.00.

The property was named “Twin Elms” because it boasted two magnificent elm trees, which were destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938.

Dr. Hanson, a retired acoustical engineer, left Bolt Beranek and Newman to co-found Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Inc. in 1982. Hanson worked on some of the earliest, ground-breaking transportation noise challenges, including work for the New York Port Authority and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.  He has lived in Bedford since 1967 with his wife Signe.  After moving to 40 Springs Rd. in 1973, they became interested in the history of the house and the property, and have done extensive research on the home’s early residents.

“Corey House” – Dr. Alan Long

Next, Alan Long will speak on the history of his historic house, the “Corey House” at 43 The Great Road.  This house was thought to have originally been built on Springs Street, and later moved to The Great Road and remodeled in 1830.  Research conducted by Town Historian Ina Mansur in 1978, however, revealed that the original house was built around 1822-25 on its current site.

Original owners of the Corey House were cordwainers (shoemakers), one of the most active and successful early industries in Bedford.  The house saw ownership by several different families, and Dr. Long will display a scrapbook that was passed down from the former owner and share information about the history of the house and its inhabitants.

Dr. Long has served as Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs for Massachusetts Eye and Ear since 2011.  Before assuming this position, for 36 years he worked at Harvard University; his last Harvard position was that of Assistant Dean for Research Finances and Systems for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  In Bedford, he has served on the Historic District Commission for many years.

“Christopher Page Homestead” – Kevin Latady

Kevin  Latady, current resident of the “Christopher Page Homestead” at 2 Myers Lane (formerly 50 Old Billerica Road) will be the Society’s third speaker of the evening.  Christopher Page (1710-1786) received the land from his father, Nathaniel, who lived nearby at 89 Page Rd.

The Christopher Page Homestead included a large tract of land; the property remained in the Page family until 1830.  Part of the property was the site of Bedford’s Nathaniel Page Elementary School, built in 1957 but recycled into private housing.

Architect Kevin Latady has extensive experience designing and renovating old and historic homes.  Prior to founding Latady Design, LLC in 2000, he worked for nine years as a designer and project manager on numerous historic projects for Boston architectural firms Tappe and Associates, Inc. and Amsler Woodhouse MacLean Architects, Inc.

Mr. Latady also has served the Town of Bedford in numerous capacities.  He is a long-time member of the Bedford Historic District Commission and served on both the John Glenn Middle School and Bedford DPW Design and Building committees.  He is a past Vice President of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Bedford Historical Society, visit its website, https://www.bedfordmahistory.org/

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