On the crest of a hill overlooking Newton Centre Playground sits an unassuming little building known as The Hut.
Located on Tyler Terrace, The Hut is a structure of modest size and unusual proportions; it houses an after-school program for Newton Public Schools children. In the past, though, this building has served a number of other purposes in other locations around Newton Centre.
The steeply pitched gable roof of the Hut is the best clue to figuring out its original use. Built in 1892, the Hut was the first chapel of the Trinity Episcopal Church on Pelham Street. In 1898, the church was moved to the corner of Centre and Homer streets, which has been the home of Trinity Church ever since.
As the city grew, so did the size of the parish, and the modest shingle-style building that was its first home became too small for the congregation. In 1915, the hut was moved to make way for the new Trinity Church, which was completed in 1916 and remains in its original location. But what happened to the original church?
As a growing suburban city, Newton had more children and families in the late 19th century than at any other period of its history up to that point. Recreation was an important part of community life for many Newton residents of that era, much as it is today. Groups like the Newton Centre Women's Club and the Newton Centre Improvement Association joined forces to secure a large tract of land in Newton Centre for recreational purposes. Their efforts were successful, and the Newton Centre Playground was designed by one of the most famous landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted, in 1890.
With all sorts of recreational activities happening at the Newton Centre Playground, citizens were in need of showers, lockers, and other sanitary facilities. Trinity Church kindly donated their old building to the city once they had made their plans to build their new church. In 1915, the Hut went to its third and (so far) final home on Tyler Terrace.
Reconditioned in 1940 and renovated once again in 1992, the Hut now houses an after-school program; it still stands after 118 years, three locations, and three different functions. Adapting to many changes over time, this building demonstrates how one building can suit many different needs for a city like Newton. Historic preservation of buildings like the Hut saves money, reduces waste, and adds to the richness and texture of the city's built environment.
Historic Newton has records of thousands of homes and other buildings like the Hut built before 1907 in its Historic Property Survey files. To research your home or another building in the city, contact Historic Newton and make an appointment to come in and learn more about Newton's rich architectural heritage.