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About the HOUSE:
 How it came to be here. 
                           How we discovered  it.
                                                 What we did during the restoration.
                                                                             Oddities we found along the way. 
How the house came to be here--with a railroad eight feet away

     During the Civil War, the Florence Sewing Machine Factory was booming with Army orders for sewing machines. And of course, the Army was recruiting soldiers in the area too.
     The factory told their department heads that if they stayed with the firm and didn’t go off to war, the factory would build each of them a house on Chestnut St.
    Nine houses were built—all one and a half stories tall farmhouse style houses. This home was built in 1865, and in 1868, the railroad was built eight feet from this house. That’s when things really got interesting for the next 101 years.

How we discovered it

     Starting in the mid to late 1990s, I started doing a series of lectures in communities that were debating the idea of converting a former railroad corridor into a linear park, a rail trail.             Back then, in many places, this was a very controversial idea. Pitched battles/debates ensued in many places.  In more than a few places, the idea was so controversial that families and neighbors were divided.  Still to this day in some places. 

What we did during
the renovation

We found out in April, 2001 that we prevailed in the multiple offer situation to purchase the house, but we agreed to let the previous owner stay until September 7, 2001 before we closed on the property.


In the meantime we packed things up in our old house and prepared to move and Kathy started to watch some of HGTV’s programs about colors etc.

Oddities we found
along the way 


There is a genuine New Haven & Northampton Railroad built, cut-granite wall as a border to the former railroad right-of-way and on the Chestnut Street side as seen here. Click here to see the story about the wall.

The renovation of our house was featured on HGTV 
(A short 5 minute video)
In 2019, our house was a part of a six-home tour of historic houses in Northampton
The planting plan by Susan Searles ca, 2003  replicating the Civil War era planting plan.
Draft brochure v5.5-2.jpg
Planting plan at SMTI.png
A "Form B", (a Short Historic Narrative) from the
Mass. Historical Commission
62 Chestnut Form B-1.jpg
The story of how the short wall came here
History of the wall in Flo.jpg
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