Monday, June 8, 2015

The Historic Paine Estate, the Oaks

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Oaks—Entrance today
Loretta reports:

The other day, I discovered a hidden gem nearby.  The Oaks, also known as the Paine Estate, was not exactly hidden. I’ve driven past it scores of times without noticing. Building started in 1774, then paused during the Revolutionary War—the owner being a Tory. The house’s history is long and filled with characters and stories. The house itself is chockablock with objects which date from its earliest days on through its various building stages, its rescue in 1914 by the Timothy Bigelow Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and its life in succeeding decades. It had stood empty for twenty years when the DAR rescued and restored it—which included scraping the black paint off beautiful marble and slate fireplaces.
The Oaks—Original Entrance

Thanks to its being a chapter house, it still has vitality, something you can feel when you enter. As someone lucky enough to visit many historic houses, here and in England, I’ve noticed the difference between houses that are basically museums and houses that are museum-like but continue to have a real life, either as a family residence or, as in this case, an organization’s ongoing use. The Timothy Bigelow Chapter of the DAR meets, holds numerous events, and conducts tours here. A caretaker lives in the house. It’s loved and appreciated. The women who took us about the other day clearly loved the house, and delight in the discoveries they continue to make about it.

Rather than attempt to encapsulate in a short blog what others have covered in beautiful detail, I offer some photos and links.
Small Dining Room

We were invited to touch the table in the center of the photo—and I will tell you I had goose bumps when I learned that John Adams, our second president, dined at this very table, which currently stands in the small dining room of the house.

I loved this bedroom, simply because there was so much interesting stuff in it: the comb-back chairs, the rocking chair arrangement between them, which allowed for mother or nursemaid to sit next to the baby. As Jennifer Willson’s Revolutionary Oaks blog indicates, they are acquiring and finding objects all the time.

I plan to return for a private tour, my photographer armed with a tripod (the rooms are dark, making photography tricky).  Then you can expect some close-ups and details about fascinating objects.

Meanwhile, you can view then (1890) and now photos of the rooms here. Please click on the images to enlarge.

You can find out more about its history here at the chapter’s site, and here at the College of the Holy Cross site.

You can find out about one of the colorful family members, at the the City of Worcester site.

Images by Walter Henritze. Please click to enlarge.


GSGreatEscaper said...

A hidden Worcester gem! Thank you so much, I'll try to get my book loving friends to include it in a future trip!

Anonymous said...

An old musket hanging on the wall, rag rugs on the floor, and a good legend about a visit by a Founding Father: sure signs of a small town historic house museum. These are the museums that introduce so many people to their own local history. Their very lack of historical focus and the catch-all nature of their collections make them more accessible and invaluable. They're like wandering through your great-grandmother's house instead of a more "period correct" restoration. That's what makes them much-loved, as you wrote. God bless the DAR for saving it!

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