The Timothy Jones House on Concord Road Now In National Register of Historic Places

The Col. Timothy Jones House has recently been named to the National Register of Historic Places ~ Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

 

Ann Seamans, a long-time friend of Gregory Maguire, arranged his appearance on the B-TV News ~ Image (c) JMcCT, 2015

Everyone in town knew there was something special about the house Col. Timothy Jones was building on Concord Road shortly after the Revolutionary War. According to A.E. Brown’s 1891 History of Bedford, “At the ‘raising,’ Rev. Mr. Penniman offered a most eccentric prayer, after having indulged too freely in the ‘mixed drink’ of the occasion.”

No doubt Ann Seamans loved that story. Seamans, who died on Jan. 12, 2021, was the most recent owner of the historic structure at 231 Concord Road, and she worked tirelessly to have it accepted in the National Register of Historic Places.

Her goal has finally been achieved. John Linz, chair of the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission, announced last week that as of Sept. 9, the Timothy Jones House is part of the distinguished register.

Seamans, who operated a bed and breakfast in the historic house, invested “exceptional effort” to have it added to the National Register, along with Don Corey and the architect Kathleen Kelly-Broomer, Linz said.

“It is a fitting part of Ann’s legacy, though it is sad that she cannot be part of our celebration of this achievement,” said Linz. Seamans was a member of the commission at the time of her passing; she also was a leading volunteer for Bedford TV on and off the air.

Linz said he was notified by the Massachusetts Historical Society of the inclusion, which processes the application. After approval, it goes through the National Park Service. Linz emphasized that this is not like a Historic District designation. “Nobody has to give up property rights; it’s almost an honorary title.”

Timothy Jones needed a big house at 231 Concord Road. He and his wife Rebecca had nine children between 1769 and 1794.

But this structure is not only spacious. It is “architecturally very significant,” wrote Broomer, the architectural historian who compiled the Historic Properties Survey for the Historic Preservation Commission in 1998.

Although the National Register designation opens the door to some financial incentives, it doesn’t guarantee that the house will be preserved. And there is concern because it has been on the market for most of 2021.

Not to worry, says the broker who is in charge of the offering. Charity Edwards of the Concord office of Barrett Sotheby acknowledged that “it has presented some challenges,” but noted, “The majority of the buyers who have contacted us have been interested in preservation.” And that includes “a lot of younger couples.”

“I’m not much of a historian myself, but I have been able to share some of the details when people come in and tour the property,” said Edwards. “And last week we had eight showings. I think everyone’s goal is to have someone come in and preserve Ann’s vision.”
And here’s a home-court advantage. Brown’s mother Helen is also a realtor, and “this was the first home she ever sold.” And her father is a first cousin to Ann Seamans.

Linz said, “There are federal, state, and local tax incentives that are available to support preservation of historic properties listed on the National Register. Ann was pursuing the listing in the hope that she could make use of the incentives for some needed repairs. These incentives, if granted, will have constraints on how the owner can modify his property.”

Several years ago the town adopted a tax-saving provision solely for buildings in the National Register, noted Linz. “It recognizes that if you are going to make a substantial renovation, it is likely to be valued more, so your property tax would increase. This is a way of phasing in the increase over a five-year interval.”

The real estate listing says 231 Concord Road is “single-family detached” with eight rooms, with three bathrooms on a level lot. Then there are the details: “Timothy Jones House, circa 1770, charm, high ceilings, eight fireplaces, four-square design, original flooring, huge windows throughout. This truly beautiful, impressive home has been loved and cared for.”

The description in Broomer’s properties survey says 231 is a “high-style Georgian dwelling” with “a dentil cornice, cover quoins, a pedimented door surround with fluted pilasters, five-pane transom, and 6/6 wood sash.”

Timothy Jones was a second lieutenant in the Bedford Minutemen (it’s not clear how he became a colonel) and a town constable during the 1780s, which carried a lot more influence than it does today.

His house was designed and built by Ruben Duren, who moved to Bedford in 1775 (talk about timing). He also was the architect for the historic house at 26 The Great Road; the street behind it bears his name.

Timothy Jones’s enslaved African-American is actually better known today. Caesar Jones was part of the Bedford fighting contingent at the skirmish in Concord on April 19, 1775, and subsequently enlisted in the continental army after he was freed. Across Concord Road and a little way west of 231 is the street named for him.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763

3 Comments

  1. I had the honor of growing up in this beautiful home and I cherish those memories!! I would love to take a tour!!

  2. Sure enjoyed the Detailed info about the domicile on concord road… Looking down from the Satellite it’s a fine building which I think is indeed worthy of Preservation Mighty pleased with my friendship w/ Bedford author, Mrs Brown…. I was visiting w/ mrs Rev. Frank Thompson, when the mid evening call came in to tell of Ms Browns passing.. plz excuse my drifting of Thought, but articles like this awaken things I treasure.. My Visit was to. examine the set of Handbells which were in mrs T’s safekeeping… it was that. Handbell exam that made up my decision go into collecting 15 Glockenspiels that became ” The-Bedford-Girl-Scout BELL BAND “… Thank You for your forbearance as Joe Damery simply goes back into 90 years of wandering memories…

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