Templeton, Mass is rich with history and real estate that is a goldmine ~ ok that’s a stretch, but this story will show just how rich one can be in real estate.
Pull up a chair and pour a coffee and let’s get to my favorite part ~ some storytellin’…and Tuesday Girl really loves a good yarn and this one hits “home” in many ways.
I’m a Realtor and people and houses are my way of making a living, but really neighbors and homes are my passion. Is there a difference? Of course there is! When you are connected with your town or city you support business owners by buying and dining local, attend town meetings (you know like the one we survived in 2012), volunteer within the community and it is no longer “just a town you live in” it becomes YOUR community and the folks that also live there, they become your neighbors. A house is just walls until it is filled with people that bring and love it to life and gather with family and friends which in turn brings warmth and love to the inside and THAT is what makes it a home. Which leads me to the next part of my yarn….
Every day since I moved back home in 2003, I have driven by this one piece of real estate that at first I would think “sheesh, could someone please do something with that house?” or “wow, maybe they should just tear it down and start over” how about “why did that let that house just go to pot and not maintain it” or even better, “maybe it will meet an untimely end by fire”. Yes, I know it’s not nice, but it was sad to see this house just sit waiting for someone to love it. Then one day a couple of years or so back I drove by this real estate and had to do a double take … something had changed. Someone was working there and although it was just a small change, it was change and by this time I was a Realtor and it was no longer just “real estate”, I had a whole new appreciation for the word “home” and what that meant. I began to get excited about driving by each day to see progress and really wanted to know just who was doing the work. The roof was torn off, some digging was going on in the cellar, an addition was being put on along with a garage, many windows and doors were being hung, I wondered about the work going on inside and then winter came and work came to a stop and I couldn’t wait for Spring for it to start again.
In the midst of my fascination with this project, I realized who was doing the work and that we are related and the details are foggy, but I was able to meet the craftsman and his wife and we really just connected. He had been following this blog and on the Tuesday Facebook page and it was just a great way to finally meet family and a wonderful neighbor. I was amazed and inspired at the labor of love this man was creating all by hand; the siding, the windows (all 37 of them), the doors, the details on the inside, the color on the outside, the research….the list goes on. Can you imagine be able to create something with your two hands that you will live in and enjoy for your lifetime? I am just in awe of this whole project and not just because I am a Realtor, it’ really something that touches a place in my soul. It’s been so wonderful to keep watching the work that is being done and to think I thought it should be burned down! This home is just so stunningly beautiful on the outside I am even more excited to see how it will be transformed on the inside. I try my best to be sure to stop by my neighbors and just chat or take some photos and admire this rich real estate gem.
By now I bet you have either guessed or want to know what home I am referring to and the address is 350 Baldwinville Road and it is owned by Janet and Jonathan Haley. Did you know…Jon is the 7th generation owner of his mother’s family, the Brown’s, homestead! Did you know…the work I described above has been a labor of love for Jon on this Cape style home for the last 12 years! I am a history geek and the 7th generation fact alone is just amazing! Before I give you more facts about this home, here are some photos of this great home that come with a lot of history. If you want to see an enlarged image, click on the photograph.
So, here’s a snippet of what this house would say if the walls could talk:
- I was an original part of the land grant secured by Colonel Silas Cutler in 1777 following the Revolutionary war
- I was built between 1752 and 1780
- Benjamin Brown became my owner in 1809 and he and Silas were deacons in the Baptist Society Church that could be seen out my windows and was erected in 1800
- Many a townsfolk would ride by me in their horse and buggy to meet uptown for the country fair or to purchase some wares from the tinsmith, clockmaker and cobbler.
- That church is now sitting across from Cumberland Farms in Bucketville, now called Baldwinville
- I have seen 6 generations of the Brown family grace my homestead from 1848 through 1999 and now I belong to Jon and Janet who are once again restoring me where traditional meets modern
- The color red is perfect for me because in my time period paint was made with clay and was considered “dirt cheap” for a modest home
Jon is also a history geek (I had to Jon) and his interest in period colonial homes led him on frequent research trips to Old Sturbridge Village. In studying their ways along with knowing he wanted to bring history alive, he was able to instruct a mason on the type of chimney and fireplace that he wanted in this home as you see above. This fireplace also has a working brick oven and the entire masterpiece sits in the main keeping room of the home.
I am still excited each day I get to drive by and see Jon working outside on the lawn or fixing the stonewall and just knowing he is inside making the walls talk once again is heartwarming to this Tuesday Girl. You can see from this picture to the ones above just how far the work has progressed over the last several years. So, the moral of my long tale is that real estate isn’t always rich in dollar signs, it’s rich with history~stories~families and labors of love and that is what transforms a house into a home. And by the way, I have been dropping hints to Jon and Janet that a large housewarming will be in order when it’s finished to show off this work of love and art and I cannot wait to help make that come to be.
Here is a brief excerpt in Jon and Janet’s words I want to share about how this 18th century period home meets the modern age and what is means to keep this legacy for generations to come:
“In the year 2000 knowing Jon’s interest in history, especially of his family, his Uncle Bob offered to sell the house to Jon, who jumped at the opportunity to create a living legacy to his ancestors.
Jon has also taken artistic license in creating his plans to build all the interior doors, paneling, trim, and cabinets for the home. Although modern will meet the old in his designs of this 18th century home, it is with the hope that the spirit of the time will shine through and the legacy of his ancestors’ dreams of home will continue well into the future. It is his intention to keep the home in the “Brown” family for all eternity, he and I being the next inhabitants to grace its walls.”
This is what I looked like way back when….