Historic Newton has received a bit of a boost in its restoration of the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton Corner.
MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council recently awarded a $218,000 Cultural Facilities Fund Grant to Historic Newton to help with the preservation of the property as well as the construction of a new educational wing at the Waverly Avenue home, according to a press release issued Wednesday.
“We are especially grateful to MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for this generous gift early in our capital campaign. We were able to leverage this gift as matching funds for another grant thereby increasing its value,” Historic Newton Director Cynthia Stone said in the press release.
The property, which was built in 1734, was home to the Kenrick family and their sprawling nursery, which was one of was the largest in New England by the 1830s. Through connections with European horticulturists, the Kenrick family introduced many fruits in the United States today including several popular varieties of grapes, strawberries, and pears, including the Bosc pear.
Historic Newton acquired the Durant-Kenrick property seven years ago and is in the process of turning it in to an educational facility to teach local families about life in Colonial times. According to the Historic Newton website, the restored property is set to open in 2013.
“By restoring the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, Historic Newton helps preserve open space and creates more opportunities for public programs focusing on the city’s history,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones said in the press release. “This grant will help the organization disseminate interesting information about Newton’s past and present.”
The city of Newton has provided $2.7 million in Community Preservation Funds to support the Durant-Kenrick project, according to the Historic Newton website, and another $1.5 million has been provided by Newton residents, foundations and corporate sponsors.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission also awarded the project a $50,000 grant last year.
A full press release from MassDevelopment is included below:
MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $218,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to the Newton Historical Society, which does business as Historic Newton and encourages the exploration of Newton in the context of American history. The organization will use grant funds to preserve and restore the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, which was built in 1734. Historic Newton will also add an educational wing to the Waverley Avenue home, one of only a few pre-Revolutionary houses remaining in Newton.
“By restoring the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, Historic Newton helps preserve open space and creates more opportunities for public programs focusing on the City’s history,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This grant will help the organization disseminate interesting information about Newton’s past and present.”
Historic Newton recently acquired the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds including period furniture from the Durant Homestead Foundation. The house, in near original condition, will be furnished with period vignettes, interactive displays and a family learning center to tell the stories of three families: the Durant family—active in pre-Revolutionary War activities—serves as models of civic engagement; the Kenrick family, which developed a nationally significant commercial nursery that impacted the nation's horticultural economy in the early 19th century; and the Dewings, who were active in the historic preservation movement in the early 20th century. The interpretation extends to the grounds where specimen trees were planted by William Kenrick, one of the country’s first horticulturists.
“We are especially grateful to MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for this generous gift early in our capital campaign. We were able to leverage this gift as matching funds for another grant thereby increasing its value,” said Cynthia Stone, Director of Historic Newton.
MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council administer the Cultural Facilities Fund, an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006, the Fund offers capital grants, feasibility and technical assistance grants, and systems replacement grants for eligible nonprofits engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Fund has awarded more than $44 million in grants to more than 200 cultural organizations across Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MassDevelopment and Massachusetts Cultural Council websites.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.