The First of Three Historic Homes in Wolcott Woods
Slated for Renovation is Nearly Complete
Wolcott Woods is distinguished not only by its magnificent setting, but also its roots in Massachusetts’ history. In 1851, prominent Beacon Hill merchant Joshua Harrington Wolcott bought the land and subsequently built Blue Hill, a summer residence for his family. Later known as the Wolcott Mansion, Roger Wolcott, the former Governor of the Commonwealth, was raised here and generations of the family lived on the property until the late 1980’s. It is one of the three existing homes on the 47-acre site, designated to be “condominiumized” and incorporated into the fabric of this new 55+ community. The developer, Northland Residential, considered this decision to be a rare opportunity to pay homage to the estate’s history in a community designed for today’s lifestyle. Accordingly, Northland’s team accepted the challenge and identified Devens House as the first of the three to be remodeled. The renovation plans were finalized the Summer of 2020 and the company’s Design Manager was tasked with identifying a program of contemporary features and finish options that reflected the timelessness of an era gone by with an eye towards leading-edge specifications.
The history of Devens House and its existing conditions were thoroughly documented prior to commencing the project. A step back in time, Devens, was originally built in 1940 by Cornelia Wolcott Drury, the only daughter of Governor Wolcott. The home was designed and built for Cornelia and her husband Rev. Drury to retire to, but the Reverend passed away just before its completion. Cornelia did move into the home and lived there for many years.
The name, Devens House, was chosen to honor Charles “Charlie” Devens, who married Edith Wolcott, daughter of Cornelia Wolcott Drury. Devens, a graduate of Harvard University, was a pitcher for the New York Yankees until he retired just before their marriage. As Edith’s father did not want to have a baseball player for a son-in-law, Charlie was strongly encouraged to accept a position as a teller at a reputable bank, State Street Trust Company, where he eventually became Vice President. He then went on to assume the role of President of Incorporated Investors. Charlie was also the nephew of Charles Devens Jr., former United States Attorney General for whom Fort Devens is named. Devens’ son, William L. Devens followed in his father’s athletic footsteps. Following his education at Milton Academy, William also attended Harvard University, his father’s alma mater, and played baseball, football, and hockey.
The Devens House was designed by architect John Bradley after colonial prototypes. The front façade is symmetrically organized around a center entrance. This entrance is emphasized by a gabled roof entrance porch decorated with dentil molding. This style house was popular in Milton during the second quarter of the 20th century and indeed still is today.
Even stripped to its bones, Devens offered insight into the comfortable yet sophisticated lifestyle that this exceptional setting provided its residents over the years. Its formal vestibule, circular staircase, ocular window and fireplaced study evoked the charm of a traditional English Country House, a design concept reflected in the choice of new features and finishes.
The interior transformation began with taking it back to the original framework and included installing new HVAC systems, updating five
fireplaces, and replacing windows with historic replicas. Once the plastering, trim work and painting were completed, the brass sconces that once graced the dining room fireplace were re-wired and re-hung over the living room mantle and the new hardwood floors were stained in a rich chestnut.
With the transformation nearly complete, historic Devens House, is well suited for its new role as a free- standing condominium in Wolcott Woods.
MILTON, MA – ONE OF THE TOP TEN
SMALL TOWNS IN AMERICA
Three towns in Massachusetts made the top 10 in WalletHub’s list of Best Small Cities to Live in in the United States. Milton, home of the Blue Hills Reservation and the new 55+ community, Wolcott Woods, was ranked the 6th best small city out of the 1,200 cities that WalletHub reviewed.
The ranking compared cities with a population of 25,000-100,000 citizens on 43 categories including affordability, education, quality of life, and safety . As of 2020, Milton has a population of 27,568. According to WalletHub, Milton has the third lowest crime rate on the list. For this, and many more reasons, Milton is a great place to call home.
Check out what else Milton has to offer:
Milton offers a top-rated public school system that garnered an “A+” rating from Niche. Students score consistently higher in math and reading according to test scores. There are six schools in the Milton system ranging from elementary to high school.
Milton Academy is a prestigious private school, educating students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Boarding is available for grades 9-12.
Curry College, located right in Milton, is a private institution founded in 1879 offering both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It was originally located in downtown Boston and moved to its current 131-acre campus in 1952.
Milton serves up a wide variety of dining options. You can find almost any cuisine you are looking for, from classic American fare and upscale Italian to great seafood and sushi.
Here are some of our favorites:
Steel and Rye – Locally-sourced New American dishes with hand-crafted cocktails.
Abby Park – A trendy New American bistro known for its stylish decor and creative dishes.
Newcomb Farms – a well-known favorite for breakfast.
Novara – A casually sophisticated Italian restaurant located on the site of the historic Milton cinema.
Fruit Center Marketplace – A local favorite one-stop-shop for gourmet groceries, flowers, and beer and wine that also offers great food to go from sandwiches to sushi.
The Plate – The Plate is a favorite stop with locations in Lower Mills and above the Milton Marketplace with a seasonal menu, a homemade bakery and restaurant.
Explore Town – Something to do for Everyone
Whether you’re looking for something to do inside or out, the town of Milton has activities for everyone – from educational museums to hiking the Blue Hills and everything in between. If you prefer learning about the area’s rich history and exploring collections of art, be sure to visit the Forbes House Museum, a National Historic Landmark located atop Milton Hill overlooking Boston’s skyline, where you can uncover the treasures of four generations of the Captain Robert Bennet Forbes family. Another great stop for the history buff is the Eustis Estate Museum, a beautiful historic mansion with four art galleries and eighty acres of property to explore just down the road from Wolcott Woods.
If nature is more your thing, then Milton is still the place for you – with a few different parks for you to explore. Blue Hills Reservation offers over 125 miles of trails to hikers, bikers, and cross-county skiers with views of the Boston skyline from numerous outlooks at the summit. Within the Blue Hills is Houghton’s Pond for picnics, swimming, and fishing. Also in town is the Neponset River Reservation, which runs from Milton to Boston and offers walking/hiking, biking, boating and fishing.
Milton is ideally located, just a 20-minute drive outside of Boston, with access to major highways such as Routes 128, 93, 95, and 3 that can lead you wherever you want to go. If you don’t want to drive into the city, Milton offers close proximity to commuter rail stations including University Station just minutes away. Milton station is in the Lower Mills District for quick and easy access directly into the city via the Red Line.