On June 8, 2011 I attended the Medfield Historic Commission meeting to discuss with its members and the Montrose School’s Business Manager, Jack Flaherty, the current status of and prospects for the Cushman House, which is located at 65 North Street. The property, the site of the former bike shop, is owned by Montrose, but is currently vacant and its use is not within their plans.
The Historic Commission wanted to see if they could do anything to assist in seeing that the building could be saved, given its deteriorating condition and its historic significance to the town. I am told that the house dates from about 1850.
On June 22 I toured the house with members of the Historic Commission, and learned that while appearing delapidated, there does not appear to be any great evidence of water intrusion and rot for the most part. The agreed consensus was that the building was historically interesting and in structurally good shape.
The dilemma is how to rehabilitate the building so that it can be used, given that Montrose does not want to spend anything on the house, because it is not within its current plans or mission. I asked Jack if Montrose would give the house away if someone were to move it, and while he made it clear that he was not able to commit the Montrose board, he did seem interested and did not rule it out as a possibility. Moving the house could be a financial possibility for the Town of Medfield, where the utilities did not charge the town for the large services required when the Lowell Mason House was moved.
Another alternative that occurs to this writer is for Montrose to long term lease the house to someone who willing to rehab it – if the Montrose rent was low enough and the term long enough, then the financial incentive would exist to spend the monies to do the rehabbing.
It does not serve the Town of Medfield well to have a house in such a prominent location on one of its main streets standing unused and in such a decrepit condition.