Built around 1810, the Beebe Homestead and farm was built as a “gentlemen’s estate,” for a member of Salem’s Forrester family.
(Don’t know what that is? We didn’t. Apparently, a gentleman’s estate is a farm that’s operated for fun and pleasure, as opposed to profits.)
Lucius Beebe (1810-1884) purchased the Wakefield, Mass., property in 1852, but it was his eighth son, Junius, who really rocked it out to its full potential.
The farm thrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s under his care, boasting vegetable and flower gardens, melon patches, milking cows and horses. Junius was the first of the Beebe brood (which totaled 12 in all) to be born while the family lived in the house.
Meanwhile, his father, Lucius amassed numerous properties and founded what is now Wakefield’s Santander Bank. He was also involved in other area banks.
The Wakefield town library bears his name: The Lucius Beebe Memorial Library. He was the first chair of its Boards of Trustees, and made a healthy donation of books in 1868.
Junius’ son, another Lucius Beebe (1902-1966), also grew up on the farm. He went on to become a famous author, photographer, journalist, photographer, syndicated columnist and foodie. He wrote for numerous well-known newspapers and magazines across the country. Railroading and cafe society were the main topics of his 35 books, some of which he authored with longtime partner Charles Clegg.
He was an openly gay celebrity way back in the day. Much respect and love to him for being true to himself — that couldn’t have been easy back then.
With the exception of a six-year stint where property changed hands, the Beebe family lived here until 1963.
The prominent five bedroom, four bathroom house has 5200+ square feet and overlooks Lake Quannapowitt. It last sold in 1990 for $510,000, but is worth more than $1.2 million, according to the town’s assessor database.