4/22/2016: 2016 Show House at the Nathaniel Allen House

So the Junior League of Boston is doing their 2016 Show House at the Nathaniel Allen House (35 Webster St). 20 designers have transformed 25 rooms inside the house.

The Junior League of Boston has confused me with being a member of the press, so I get a sneak peak on May 4th. The rest of you guys have to wait until May 7th for the grand opening. The Show House runs through June 5th.

Below are some before photos, courtesy of Eric Roth. More info on the Show House here:


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2/24/2016: What’s up with the Nathaniel Allen house?

The Newton Cultural Alliance, which owns the Nathaniel Allen House, cut down some trees the past few weeks around the property. So I called them to see what’s up.

Allen house

Here’s the deal you guys. They’re hosting the Junior League of Boston this summer as part of their show house series. Basically they have 15-20 designers that will each design a room in the house, then be open for public viewing. They’re cutting down the trees to clean the property up a bit. The house itself is protected under historical restrictions and can’t be changed. So no like development or anything happening here.

Also, did you guys know there is a bowling alley in the barn? I think we need to take some Coors Lights down there a bowl a few frames.

bowling alley

3/19/2015: Management guest blog on Nathaniel Allen House 

Management here. Forced to write my first guest post because I can no longer sit idly by while Dave says things like, “the Nathaniel Allen house looks like it was built in 1593.”  I mean, that predates the Mayflower, the Plymouth colony, and John Winthrop, you guys.  I have a reputation as a wanna-be historian to uphold here. More importantly, it turns out that the Nathaniel Allen house is an awesome piece of local and national history. 
Shout out to blog reader EH for alerting us to Allen’s reputed involvement with the Underground Railroad.  No, Dave, there were no actual trains on that railroad – but there were “conductors,” and Allen was an active one. Writings by his wife, Caroline, and their daughter, Lucy, confirm that the house was a stop on the Railroad.  The Allens rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in the abolitionist movement during the nineteenth century. We’re taking about radical badasses like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Charles Sumner!
If that doesn’t impress you, it’s also worth knowing that this was Allen’s main residence while he established the West Newton English & Classical school – a pioneer in co-education, racially-mixed classes, physical education, and the first school to establish a pure kindergarten in the country!  The awesome team over at Historic Newton has some great info on their website about Allen, his family, the house, the school, and their significance to the education and abolitionist movements.  If you’re interested in a little more background, check out the writeup on their files:  http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/historic/research/collections/papers/allen.asp.

3/13/2015: What’s up with the Nathaniel Allen House on Webster St?

You guys know this place.  On Webster Street.  Looks like it was built in 1593 and may just say F it and fall over backwards.

Allen house

Belonged to Nathaniel Allen, a West Newton educator and abolitionist from back in the day. Like way back in the day.  For those of you who aren’t history buffs like myself, abolitionists study and promote the health of trees.  The Nathaniel Allen House was one of the first co-ed, racially integrated schools.  Didn’t matter if you were a boy or girl, black or white, Nathaniel Allen dropped knowledge about trees on kids from all backgrounds.  Guy was also boys with Horace Mann & Cyrus Pierce.

Fast forward 700 years and the Board of Alderman has just approved $300k of Community Preservation Funds to stabilize the building and make it accessible as part of the 1st phase of restoring this old beaut.  Renovations are already under way.