Independence Day invokes New England’s rich history | New
Our country’s recent Independence Day celebration reminds us how lucky we are to live in the historically rich region of New England.
Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution, and reminders of that era can be seen in communities throughout the Commonwealth.
An example of local life in colonial times can be found in nearby Lowell at Spalding House.
Built around 1760, the Spalding House is located at 383 Pawtucket St. in Lowell.
Originally built by Moses Davis and called the Davis Inn, the house served as lodgings for barge workers traveling the Merrimack River.
Over the next 30 years, ownership of the property changed once. The property was purchased by Revolutionary War Captain John Ford, but remained an inn for barge workers.
In 1790 the Inn was purchased by Revolutionary War soldier Joel Spalding. He moved in as a widower with his two children, Jonathan and Phebe, as his wife had died in childbirth.
Spalding eventually remarried and lived at home until his death in 1823.
The house then passed to Joel’s son, Jonathan, who stayed in the house to raise his own family.
The house remained in the Spalding family until it was sold to the Molly Varnum Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) by Jonathan Spalding’s daughter, Sarah Spalding, in 1906.
The DAR was looking for a place to display its growing collection of colonial artifacts, and what better place than a colonial-era house once owned by three different Revolutionary War soldiers.
Over the next 90 years, the DAR began to restore the house while using the property to hold meetings, tea parties and special events.
In the late 1980s, the chapter’s membership began to decline, and the remaining, but aging, members of the DAR began to seek another organization to assume ownership of the house and to prevent this historically significant property from being lost. be lost on promoters.
After much research to find a suitable new owner for the Spalding House, the new Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust was approached to take over the Spalding House.
Although initially wary of undertaking a major restoration project, the Trust agreed that this historic home would be lost forever without the Trust’s protection.
The Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust took possession of the house in the mid-1990s and have continued the renovation process ever since.
More recently, in 2016, the exterior landscaping was completely redone, including a bluestone patio, dry stone walls, granite steps, new grass and plants.
The necessary work on the ceiling, floor and plumbing was completed in 2018, generously funded by the organization Methuen Festival of Trees.
In 2019, the painting of the entrance hall and the door was completed.
In addition to grants and private funding, most of the properties like Spalding House that are under the care of the Trust are maintained by volunteer stewards.
These volunteers provide on-site surveillance of the property, as well as basic landscaping, gardening, litter control, spring cleaning, exhibit development, archiving, and touring the property to the public. .
The Spalding House Museum is open for educational programs for groups by appointment.
The doors to the museum are only open to the general public during the Doors Open Lowell event held each May to celebrate the historic buildings the town of Lowell has to offer. However, the public is still welcome to explore the exterior grounds of the house, and virtual tours are available online.
Despite the fact that the parades are over and the last fireworks have long since died down, there are still many reminders of the American Colonial way of life and the patriots who bravely fought for the freedom of our country.
Remembering our colonial past can bring greater understanding and clarity when looking for a new path for the future.
For more information about Lowell Park and Conservation Trust to take a virtual tour, request an in-person tour of Spalding House or become a volunteer steward, visit www.lowellandtrust.org