As I shared last week, one of my favorite architectural styles is Greek Revival, which explains why I was so drawn to the Suzanne & Company office at 90 Great Road. Built in 1842, 90 Great Road is registered with both the National Register Old Bedford Center Historic District and the local Bedford Center Historic District under the historic name Hartwell-Hamblen House. This example of Greek Revival architecture is notable for its handsomely carved front door enhanced by a brass knocker (now lost), the line of which echoed the tendrils and gothic arch of the door carvings.
Besides the wonderful architectural details, historic homes always have stories to tell! In the era before I bought the property around 2001, it was referred to as the Sheldon House and was part of the Sheldon Block (now the Blake Block). Edward Hamblen and his wife owned the Sheldon house for 19 years. As the town doctor, Edward Hamblen maintained an office on the property, where town residents would visit him. They were followed in the home by Walter and Mary Sheldon and their twin daughters, who owned 90 Great Road for more than 40 years. Walter was the town's druggist and his office was only a few steps away at 68 Great Road.
I have a friend who grew up nearby who used to cut across the yard on his way to school, which upset the owner who would tap on the glass of the upper window to shoo him away. Imagine his surprise when he stopped by while we were renovating to discover we had accidentally broken that exact pane of glass with a crowbar -- he thought the former owner was still chastising him!
The house was vacant and boarded up for some time before we bought it, and as we cleaned and renovated, we found a lot of old bottles from the pharmacy, as well as many pairs of shoes in the walls. A couple years ago, I had the privilege of welcoming one of the former residents when she stopped by and shared the spot in the house where she was married over 60 years ago, which is now my office! They were so excited to see much of the structure unchanged that they asked if they could come back with some family members to take an anniversary photograph, resulting in over 15 people returning for some heart-warming multi-generational portraits.
Would you like to see the details of the house and the results of our hard work for yourself? Then please join us at our first Suzanne & Company ice cream social/cocktail hour open house on Thu, July 17 between 4 and 6:30pm.
We'll have drinks and snacks from Prince St. Cafe and Bakery and Bedford Farms for adults and kids, as well as activities to keep the kids occupied while the grown-ups get (re-)acquainted and check out what we've been doing to brighten up our office space.
And then you can head right over to the Bedford Thursday evening free concert. Please let us know if you're stopping by so we'll have enough food for everyone with a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you here!
What's your favorite house style? Please share, and tell us what you love about it!
Portions of the history of 90 Great Road is taken from the January 22, 1987 article in the Bedford Minuteman.