Home News A Historic New England Home Has Been in the Same Family for Over 300 Years. That’s About to Change.

A Historic New England Home Has Been in the Same Family for Over 300 Years. That’s About to Change.

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Selling an old family home can be difficult.

Try selling a historically important 1653 circa house that has been in the family for over 300 years and has storage restrictions.

That’s what the five brothers are facing. Their parents, Richard and Betian Wheeler, placed a Georgian-style saltbox in Concord, Massachusetts under the protection of historic New England, limiting future changes to certain parts of the property. They also left instructions in their property documents that the house was to be sold rather than staying in the family, their children say.

In a speech hosted by the Concord Town History Group just before his death in 2020, Wheeler said, “I guarantee the house will remain.” Mrs. Wheeler died in 2021.

The five Wheeler brothers will list a 3,217-square-foot home with three-quarters of three bedrooms with a refurbished basement and a large sideyard that will hit the market this fall for about $ 1.6 million. is. William Raveis Real Estate’s Concord-based agent. He states that without storage restrictions, there could be a second buildable lot, so it could sell much more.Online real estate website


The property is currently estimated to be worth $ 2.5 million.

Susan Wheeler (67), who works as a bookkeeper and lives in Natick, Massachusetts, and Emily Wheeler (69), who retired and works for local agriculture and citizenship in Concord, had their parents living at home. Two of the five brothers.


The Wall Street Journal Bob O’Connor

It took longer than expected to prepare for sale. Susan Wheeler, 67, a bookkeeper living in Natick, Massachusetts, is not because he is sentimental about his brother being the last generation of Wheeler to live in his home. She cut off the opportunity to live here, “she says.

The process is very difficult, she says. Three of her brothers live far away. It is located in Boulder, Colorado, Rochester, NY, and Sydney, Australia. Wheeler says that five generations of heirloom, such as letters, paintings, clothing, furniture, textiles, jewelry and books, are hidden in the house.

“We are all amazed at how much stuff was in this house,” says Emily Wheeler, 69, who has retired and works for local agriculture and citizenship at Concord. ..

The Scotchford Wheeler House shown in a photo taken in the early 20th century.


Concord Free Public Library

According to the sisters, the heirloom includes an 18th-century silk quilt with handwritten notes fixed on it. There have been family muskets since 1812 (they donated it to a local museum). They found that they believed that their maternal grandmother’s wedding dress was packed with shoes and silk stockings. There are also rum flasks that the Wheeler family believes were used by Richard Wheeler’s great-grandfather Ephraim Wheeler.

Last July, the brothers hired a company to create a digital catalog of items in the house. This was about 1,400 lots. In addition, 1,200 art and textile lots have been cataloged. In March, they began splitting some of it, choosing 200 items each. Since then, there have been several rounds. Susan Wheeler says there wasn’t much duplication because everyone has different needs and is attracted to different things. For example, one sister is interested in clothing and another wants an heir. They plan to donate and auction what they don’t want to leave.

Known as the Scotchford Wheeler House in the town’s archives, the house, according to a historic New England survey, was “typical 1st period / Georgian style, 2 1/2 stories, 5 bays,” around 1653. It was built as “Central”. Chimney house. According to Historic New England, in 1696 John and Susanna Scotchford sold their home and six acres of land to Deacon Edward Wheeler. The house remained in the Wheeler family and was handed over to Wakerin in 1955. A descendant of Wheeler’s daughter, owned from 1955 to 1975.

It is one of the oldest homes in a very old town and is architecturally and historically important, says Carissa Demoa, leader of the Conservation Services team at Historic New England. There are not many examples of the original colonial salt boxes left in the country. The ax mark on the beam of the house gives a window to the techniques used by the blacksmiths of the time to make those tools. “It’s a very nice time capsule,” she says.

According to Demore, in addition to its historic imports, a house was set up to store Continental Army supplies during the American Revolutionary War by David Wheeler, a member of the militia who fought at Concord on April 19, 1775. Used. In the 1890s, Francis Wheeler handed over the house to her daughter Isabel Wheeler, who was later given to her descendants when she rented a house to a troubled woman, a symbol of women’s empowerment, at the turn of the century. A rare example of a house says. Mr. Demore. According to genealogical records, Isabelle’s cousin Wakelin inherited the house in 1955.

The Scotchford Wheeler House was built as early as 1653 as “a typical Phase 1 / Georgian style, 2 1/2 story, 5 bay, central chimney house,” according to a survey by Historic New England. I did.


The Wall Street Journal Bob O’Connor

As outlined by Demore, due to historic New England restrictions, owners are required to make structural timber and frames, outer sidewalls and wooden trims and decorative elements, foundation masonry, chimneys, and many internal changes. , Must be approved by the organization. Woodwork, stairs, floors, walls, ceilings. The additions need to complement the mass, scale, materials, design and appearance of the house, she says.

Emily Wheeler had no brothers raised in the Concord House. Their father, Richard Wheeler, had a career as an international banker and grew up in Asian cities, including Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo, before moving to Bronxville, New York in 1969. According to an interview conducted by Wheeler at the Concord Free Public Library in 2009, he and his wife bought it for $ 83,000 to sell in 1975 after the death of his cousin who owned the Scotchford Wheeler House. , I lent it out.

In 1993, the couple moved to Concord’s home full-time after a six-month refurbishment that cost about $ 200,000, says Susan Wheeler. This included rebuilding the chimney, renewing the bathroom, creating a modern recreation room with bookshelves in the basement, and adding a sauna.

A photo house taken around 1890. In 1696, John and Susanna Scotchford sold their home and six acres of land to Butler Edward Wheeler, according to historic New England.


Concord Free Public Library

“Going home was a big deal for me,” Richard Wheeler said in an interview in 2009. “I felt like I was in the family. That made a lot of sense to me.”

Emily Wheeler says she and her siblings aren’t worried that storage restrictions will compromise the marketability of their homes. She says it only narrows the buyer’s field. “Not everyone wants to live in a historic home, but I’m sure there are people who see it as an opportunity to become a historic home keeper.”

Write in Nancy Keets [email protected]

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