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Natick Historical Society seeks approval to move the town's oldest house to a new resting place

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  February 28, 2013 03:57 PM

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Leaders from the Natick Historical Society will ask town officials tonight to approve a plan to move the first home built in town from the Audubon Society's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary to Shaw Park, a small space about a mile-and-a-half down the road from the sanctuary and across from the Bacon Free Library.

Historical Society president James Morley said the group is seeking the okay of the town's Historical District Commission which is needed to move structure known as the Sawin House. The society then must appeal to multiple town boards and Town Meeting, and wage a $750,000 fundraising campaign before the move could happen.

Morley said it would be easiest to take apart the 18th century home, which is currently vacant and in disrepair, and rebuild it on Shaw Park, also restoring it to its original interior and opening it for tours to the public.

"It would be the only historic home in Natick open to the public," he said, noting that the home was built by Thomas Sawin, a miller who was invited into Natick by the Praying Indians tribe.

If the plan goes forward, the society would also use the house as their main headquarters. Their collection of historical Natick artifacts have outgrown the current society offices at the Bacon Free Library, Morley said.

Morley said if the plan is not approved, the house will continue to deteriorate since the Massachusetts Audubon Society lacks the funds to maintain it.

"It will probably turn to dust over time," he said.

Stephen Evers, a historical society board member, said permission from the commission is necessary because the park is in a historic district.

"If they say no, I don’t know what to do," he said. "We’ll lose the house."

The meeting before the Natick Historical District Commission will begin at 7:45 p.m. tonight at Natick Town Hall.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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