Wakefield Charitable Trust Calendar Of Events


Lecture: The Davenport Farm: An overview of its history, evolution and occupants from 1707-2012
May.02.2012 -
Calendar Of Events & Programs


The Wakefield Estate Lecture Series: The history of a founding Milton family

In conjunction with Milton’s 350th anniversary, the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust is hosting three lectures on the history of the land and occupants of what is today known at the Wakefield Estate, named after its most recent occupant, Mary (“Polly”) Wakefield. Based on scholarly research and on-site discovery, the lectures will highlight the origin and evolution of one of Milton’s founding families as a microcosm of the larger history of Milton over the last 350 years.

The lecture series will kick-off on Wednesday, May 2nd, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Milton Public Library, with a lecture by Claire Dempsey, American Studies Department Chair, Boston University, entitled "The Davenport Farm: An overview of its history, evolution and occupants from 1707-2012." This lecture will provide an introduction to the long history of the Davenport family of Brush Hill Road and historic buildings and landscapes they created there.  

Summary:  Over eight generations, members of the Davenport, Hayward, Cunningham, Binney, and Wakefield families have served as stewards to an ample estate, and today their twenty-two acre property serves as a landscape for learning and recreation. The farm grew over the 18th and early 19th century to become a major agricultural establishment of 300 acres, and significant buildings survive from this era including an 18th century farmhouse and the 1794 Isaac Davenport mansion house. Over the later 19th and 20th centuries, as Milton became a popular rural retreat for Bostonians, later generations embellished the working landscape with gardens and landscapes features, adding new outbuildings and updating their houses, preserving the inheritance we enjoy today.  For six years, Boston University students, with the support of the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust, have been undertaking interdisciplinary research on this property, and a detailed portrait is emerging of this place and its people.  

Claire Dempsey is Associate Professor of American & New England Studies and Director of the Preservation Studies Program at Boston University.  Her research focuses on vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes, with special attention to early American buildings and to the common dwellings of our region's neighborhoods.

Other lectures (May 15th and June 6th) will focus on the archaeological record and the material culture of the estate's earliest occupants dating to the mid-1700s, respectively. Call 617-333-0924 for more information. Deed_resized 










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