History of the House
The Hartshorne House is Wakefield’s oldest publicly owned building. It is thought to be the town’s oldest extant home in its original location. Part of the house dates to at least approximately 1681. Throughout its life it has served as a private residence, a tavern, and even a tenement house. In September 1929 a devastating fire consumed all the surrounding industrial buildings on the property, but miraculously the old homestead somehow survived. During a Special Town Meeting on October 14, 1929, the Town voted to purchase the house and adjoining meadow (the current Veteran’s Field) for $14,999.
Visit the Hartshorne House History Page for more information about the house's history.
View the video history of the Hartshorne House.
The Col. James Hartshorne House Association was formed in July 1930, and incorporated in 1936 for the purpose of preserving and maintaining the house. The Association leases the historic property from the Town, and and has been proven a worthy steward for 87 years. Over the years the house has been the scene of hundreds of weddings, showers, reunions and meetings, and remains a popular and charming setting for such events. The second floor of the building is occupied by House Residents, who assist in the maintenance of the home. The original ‘hostess’ was Mrs. Archibald Hume, who established the house’s lovely gardens. She lived at the house from 1933 until her retirement in 1967. Since that time a succession of young couples have had the privilege of residing in the Hartshorne House, not only facilitating the rentals, but also assisting in the upkeep of the house and grounds. Our current residents are always happy to show the house to anyone interested in renting it for an event; they can be reached at 781/245-3935.
Hartshorne House Restoration and Maintenance
During the past few years, the Association has overseen some historical restoration at the Hartshorne House, including new sills, cedar clapboards, replacement and repair of roof timbers and windows and replacement of the asphalt shingles with more historically accurate cedar shakes. Inside the house, the badly outdated systems have been updated and a state of the art wireless security system was installed to protect both the house and the residents.