Home of the Winchester (Mass.) Historical Society, the Sanborn House is one of few country house models still standing in town.
Designed by architects Clinton M. Hill and Thomas M. James, the house was built between 1906-1907 for Oren and Lorena Sanborn, with a price tag of $250,000.
Oren was the son of James Sanborn, who in 1862 founded Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company, which has been sold over the years to names including Hills Bros., Nestle and Sara Lee.
As members of Winchester’s high society, Oren and Lorena called the home Aigremont. Lorena helped found Winchester Hospital and led fundraising efforts there for years.
In the early 1920s, the family fortune decreased and the house was sold to the Downes family, founders of Downes Lumber of Boston. That family lived there for 20 years.
After World War II, many large homes were destroyed. So in order to preserve the Sanborn House, it was sold to an order of nuns. The nuns built a grade school — the Marycliff Academy — on the property and lived at the residence.
In 1969, the town of Winchester bought the Sanborn House and Marycliff Academy. The school became Ambrose Elementary, and the Sanborn house had several town occupants.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission recognized the Sanborn House as an important and endangered property. The Winchester Historical Society received Preservation Project Funds to begin restoring the house.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.