Blog :: 01-2017

Modern Living in a Historic Home: 33 Main St., Westford, MA

33 Main Street, Westford MAAs a life-long fan of historic homes, I’m thrilled and honored to share our latest listing — the impeccably restored and lovingly maintained property at 33 Main St., Westford. This home is a classic 4-square design Greek Revival with a service and workroom wing off the back of the house. It includes all original materials including hand-cut nails. And it is unique in having both the character and details of a historic home and the modern amenities desired by most families — central air-conditioning, loads of storage space with built-in shelves and cupboards, a utility/mud room, built-in pool, a 2-car garage, and much more.

Located in the heart of Westford, within in easy walking distance of the library, arts center, and town common, the 2-acre property enjoys a front-row seat for community events including Westford’s apple blossom festival and the annual group photo session for Westford Academy’s senior prom. Easily accessible from both 495 and 128 and boasting top-ranked public schools, this property is a perfect fit for families, hobbyists, gardeners, hikers, nature appreciators, history buffs, and anyone who appreciates a strong sense of community.

Historic DoorknobAnd one of my favorite parts of an older home is the story — and this home has the most well-documented story I’ve ever seen! Originally a 10-acre working farm, the first house was built in 1797 (known as the Cogswell house), which Sherman Dewey Fletcher (SDF) disassembled and then reused some of the materials when he built the current structure in 1848 — an early example of balloon framing, a technique still used today.

Sherman Dewey Fletcher is an interesting character — after serving 8 years as a messenger to the national House of Representatives in Washington, DC and marrying Emily A. Fletcher, he built this house and settled in as a gentleman farmer and merchant. Per historical documents, he operated the local general store (across the street) with his father-in-law until 1873. He farmed on the property, specializing in blackberries, raspberries, grapes, currants, and apples, which they shipped to Boston via horse-drawn wagons.

Sherman Dewey FletcherActive in town life, he served as treasurer of the Unitarian Parish for 46 years, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Westford Academy, Postmaster for 20 years, and Town Treasurer for 33 years. He was instrumental in building the town’s first bandstand and erecting the flagpole on the town common just steps from the home.

Four generations of Fletchers lived in this house, including son Sherman H. Fletcher, who served as a captain in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia during the Civil War, and their two daughters, Gertrude and Julia. The sisters never married and lived together in the house until their passing in 1965 (Julia) and 1969 (Gertrude).

Notable are the ten fireplaces in the home — lovely examples of Count Rumford fireplace design, built to reflect more heat into the room and to efficiently carry away smoke with as little loss of heat as possible. What’s particularly remarkable is they are all intact and working! As cast iron stoves became popular for cooking and heating in the mid-1800s, fireplaces became obsolete and often fell into disrepair or were bricked over. Recently restored and modernized, the chimneys and smoke chambers have been rebuilt with matching brick and repointed with new mortar, the flues received stainless steel liners and were insulated with mortar — perfect for taking the chill off a spring day or providing a cozy backdrop on a snowy afternoon.

A wealth of documentation and historical records have been preserved, including a framed accounting of the cost of materials and labor to build the house, totaling $2,724.40. Sherman Dewey Fletcher’s initials (SDF) are visible on beams in the attic and the pub room. Additional materials pertaining to the home and Fletcher family have been donated and are on view at the Westford Historical Society.

This home is an exceptional example of a historic house that has been well-maintained to keep its antique charm and thoughtfully updated to the standards of today’s discerning home buyers.

 

If you’re in the market, contact us to schedule a visit and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family!


 

Things to Do In January In & Around Bedford MA

The holidays are behind us, the kids are back in school, and the gray days and dark nights of Winter are upon us. While it may be tempting to snuggle under an afghan and hide out at home, there are still plenty of things to do to energize and entertain you and the kids.

Here are some highlights:

Places To Skate

If you're not already spending all your time at an ice rink while one of your kids plays hockey, here are some great places to practice your double axel, including my favorite — Frog Pond on the Boston Common.

Sat., January 14

Blast-off Saturday with Concord Family Network

A morning of space exploration through crafts — make a telescope, a rocket that actually blasts off, and star constellations out of mini marshmallows and toothpicks.

  • 10:00 AM - 11:30 am
  • Free. Children must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver.
    • RSVP to ensure enough supplies are on hand.
  • Concord Children's Center, 1300 Main St., Concord, MA

An Afternoon of Chinese Culture

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with the Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL) and an afternoon of dance, music, food, traditional costumes, crafts, and a dragon parade!

  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Av., Lexington, MA, 781-862-6288
  • Free

Meet Marshall from Paw Patrol

Marshall from Paw Patrol will be sharing high-fives and hugs at the Learning Express of Bedford.

  • 3:30-4:30pm
  • 168 Great Road (Whole Foods Plaza), Bedford, MA
  • Free

Mon., January 16

Lego Zone at The Discovery Museums

Bring your imagination and they supply the LEGOs. Build whatever you can dream up and add your creation to the community display to inspire other builders!

  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM (drop-in)
  • The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St. (Route 27), Acton, MA
  • Event included with museum admission of $12.50

Fridays, January 20 | February 10, 24 | March 10, 24

Moonlight Tours: Living in the Dark

Take a moonlight tour of Gore Place and learn what it was like to live on a country estate in the 1800s before electric light. The tour includes the 1793 carriage house, the grounds, and the 1806 mansion, one of the few early homes designed by a woman.

  • 7:30 PM
  • Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham, MA
  • $15, $10 members and ages 5-12. Purchase tickets.

 

Happy exploring!!


 

2016 Real Estate Review & 2017 Forecast

2016 was a whirlwind year and with no seasonal slow-down in December! In fact, a new report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) shows existing-home sales in October zoomed to the highest annualized pace in nearly a decade. All major regions saw an increase in sales in November as well.

An improving economy and lowering rates of unemployment promise steady growth, and two major demographic shifts promise to drive sales for years to come - the entry of millennials as first-time homebuyers and the large group of people reaching retirement age. "We are now in the midst of two massive demographic waves that will power above-average demand for homes for at least the next 10 years," says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com's chief economist.

And while home prices have gone up, existing home prices have risen a moderate 2.1% in the Northeast overall compared to last year (NAR). Placing these numbers in perspective, the increase during the same time in the US overall is 5.6%, with increases of 5.9% in the Midwest, 6.6% in the South, and 8.1% in the West!

Locally, the latest numbers from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR) show a 3.1% increase in median sales prices for all properties in Bedford, with sellers receiving 98% of their original list price. So while the trajectory of home prices is certainly rising, it’s at a moderate, steady climb. And the key indicator to watch is the mortgage rates, which are predicted to rise slightly throughout 2017 based on Freddie Mac's projections, with this anticipated increase inspiring continued buyer activity through the winter.

So, there's a place for both buyers and sellers to succeed as we launch into 2017 and I invite you to take advantage of the skill and experience of the Suzanne & Company team to get the best possible results for you and your family to make it a truly happy new year!