There are no shortage of historic homes in Everett – homes and buildings with a glorious history – but it’s a history lost on almost everyone living in the city.
Everett is one of the more unique Greater Boston cities with a Colonial past that has been virtually lost to time, but over the past week the comprehensive Everett Historical Survey has been completed, providing the beginnings of re-constructing the history before everyone’s eyes.
“I’ve learned a lot about Everett,” said Lisa Mausolf, the consultant who compiled the survey over the past year. “I think I only began to scratch the surface and there are a lot of magnificent properties. There was a survey done in the 1980s, but this new work represents a much more comprehensive look that what was accomplished in the `80s. Glendale Square had never been looked at holistically. No one had looked at why it looks the way it does. Everett Square has some great buildings and a lot of potential for restoration and investment. I have to say, though, the cemeteries were my favorites. Woodlawn Cemetery is incredible, and Glenwood is a wonderful municipal cemetery. The Jewish Cemetery is incredible too, and very few know it’s there.”
The effort to restore the past started a little over a year ago when the Historical Commission began to meet again under the auspices of retired City Clerk Michael Matarazzo and current City Clerk Sergio Cornelio. Several residents have joined the Commission, and the first order of business was to conduct an official survey.
Maria Josefson, of the City’s Department of Planning and Development, has taken charge of the project and the Commission now. After reviewing the survey, she said so much of Everett’s history has come alive for her.
“There’s a home I walk by all the time on the way to the gym and I never stopped to notice it until I saw it was on the survey,” she said. “I stopped one day and noticed how stately it was. It’s one of those things that’s right in front of you, but you don’t notice. It’s nice to understand the history behind it.”
And such is the case for one of the oldest homes in Everett. Though may school children are taught about 519 Ferry St. – the Jonathan Green House – few really know that the home likely dates to around 1719. Though there were once many older homes in Everett like it, most have been demolished through the years.
It is the one that does remain. The survey points out that it is the only early gambrel-roofed houses remaining in Everett. Other examples which once existed, but are no longer standing, included the Carrington-Paine House on Main Street and the Old Lynde House on Bow Street. That makes the Green House even more special, and a gem that few know about.
The house was originally located in “south Malden,” and on Ferry Street, which was a route to get Malden residents to Winnisimmet (or Chelsea) where the Ferry existed. Jonathan Green eventually was prominent in Stoneham, but it is believed he came there from South Malden, which is now Everett.
That said, Mausolf said they were very excited to document the home and she said the Massachusetts Historical Commission was excited to potentially study the home to get more definite answers.
“One thing that was very interesting about that house was the folks from Mass Historical were excited about it,” she said. “They really wanted to study it a little more. There aren’t many communities that have a structure that old still standing.”
The focus of the study, however, was more on Glendale and Everett Squares. Both are very historic, but Glendale Square had a very extensive historical survey done for, likely, the first time ever. The Square came to be during the transition from pastoral fields to a streetcar suburb. Starting in the 1880s when horse-cars began carrying people to the Square, development began to sprout there. By the 1890s, the area quickly began to transform under the new streetcar mode of transportation. After that, it began to boom, and develop into a “streetcar suburb,” such as is seen in other areas of Greater Boston that are now considered urban areas.
In all, Mausolf said Everett has a lot of historic buildings and homes, and many of them are likely fit for the National Registry.
“I think it was a good project,” she said. “There are a number of properties that are likely to be eligible for the National Historic Registry,” she said. “It’s an exciting time in seeking out Everett’s history.”
The historic Jonathan Green House at 519 Ferry St. is likely the city’s oldest home, dating back to the early 1700s. A recent historical survey conducted for the City have revealed a marvelous past dating back to the Colonial era.