Holliston Historical Society Receives $10,000 Matching Grant

The Asa Whiting House

The Holliston Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $10,000 from Preservation Massachusetts, in partnership with The 1772 Foundation.  “We are so grateful to have these funds to help restore the exterior of the Asa Whiting House, the Society’s home,” said Society President, Nancy Lamb.  Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage, and The 1772 Foundation plays a leading role in promoting historic preservation nationwide. 

Under the terms of the grant, the Society will match the award to cover the total $20,000.00 cost of the restoration, contracted to Schmidt’s Painting of Holliston. The work will include removing all the paint from the clapboards and trim by “shaving” the paint down to bare wood, repairing any defects, hand sanding, and applying two coats of paint. The shaved paint is collected as it is removed to reduce dust and exposure to the old lead-based paint. The clapboards are original to the house and feature scarfed joints, typical of the 1812 date of the house.

About the Holliston Historical Society:

The Holliston Historical Society was founded to help enrich the life of the Holliston community by promoting historical preservation and by sharing Holliston’s past and current history through research, publications, exhibits, programs, events, and education.

The Society collects, preserves, and exhibits a wide-ranging group of artifacts, photographs, maps, letters, records, and other ephemera; clothing and textiles; and tools and other items that represent Holliston’s agricultural and manufacturing past.  It also sponsors an active research library for genealogy, town history, local architecture, local sports, and other subjects.  Programs of interest to the community on varied subjects are presented free of charge.  And for over 40 years, every third grader in Holliston has been invited to experience 18th century hands-on activities for a day as part of their local history curriculum.  It also partners with a number of other local non-profits to support the Holliston community.  As a non-profit organization the Society depends on its property rentals, grants, and donations from individuals to provide these programs and care for its historic buildings and gardens.  New members are always welcome!

About Preservation Massachusetts:

Preservation Massachusetts was established in 1985 as Historic Massachusetts, Inc.  It is the statewide non-profit organization that actively promotes the preservation of historic buildings and landscapes as a positive force for economic development and the retention of community character. The organization is supported entirely by grants, fundraising events, and the support of its membership. In keeping with its mission, it works in partnership with national, state, and local organizations and individuals across the Commonwealth to advance the understanding, appreciation, and utilization of our historic built and natural landscapes.  More information about Preservation Massachusetts may be found online at www.preservationmass.org.

About The 1772 Foundation:

The 1772 Foundation was named in honor of its first restoration project, Liberty Hall in Union, NJ, which was built in 1772 and is the ancestral home of the Livingston and Kean families. The late Stewart B. Kean was the sole benefactor to The 1772 Foundation, which works to ensure the safe passage of our country’s historic buildings and farmland to future generations. More information about The 1772 Foundation may be found at www.1772foundation.org.

Paul Saulnier

4 Comments

  1. Cyndy Robb on May 13, 2021 at 7:42 am

    I am so excited that this beautiful home and historic landmark has received this grant.

  2. Dotty Kelly on May 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

    I hope they paint it white!

  3. Mark Ahronian on May 17, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Congratulations !! Well deserved ! 😀

  4. Paul Saulnier on May 18, 2021 at 7:00 am

    I asked Joanne Hulbert, Town Historian, if she knew the original color of the Asa Whiting house. This is her response:

    “I don’t know, but I do know that the oldest photos we have seem to show it as white. But then again, nearly all the photos we have of houses in Holliston were taken the the 20th century. But white paint was not “affordable” until the early 20th century. Photos of houses in Holliston in the 19th century seem to show various browns and grays. Or no paint at all! The earliest white paint was merely whitewash, not effective in staying white for long. The color the house is now is likely closer to keeping with the era in which it was built. Also, looking at other historical sites around New England, they do tend to avoid white paint. And also, the barn, being white, was most likely first done with white wash as we know that barns were traditionally red – not that this barn ever was.

    One mention of house paint in the early years about 1820 said that most of the houses along what is now called Washington Street were not painted at all, I think that was a derogatory comment in a way.

    Even churches were not white – early photos show St Mary’s as possibly brown and the old Baptist church was multi-colored. The original meetinghouse in the 18th century was apparently some shade of red-orange.

    If we choose to be traditional” the color we have now is probably a good one to stay with. I think if we went back to white, it would be a step in the wrong direction.”

    Joanne Hulbert

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