This 1734 Georgian farmhouse was home to two prominent families in Newton, Mass.
Edward Durant II (1695-1740) built this house, while his son, Edward Durant III (1715-1782) grew the property. The younger Durant becoming one of Newton’s largest landowners, amassing nearly 150 acres of land.
Durant III graduated from Harvard, serving in business and food trade. He was chosen by Newton residents to hold a variety of posts including assessor, surveyor of highways, constable and selectman.
Helping head events that led to the Revolutionary War, Durant saw his sons fight in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
In 1790, John Kenrick Esq. (1755-1833) bought the property and created a commercial nursery.
“By 1821, the Kenrick Nursery offered European and American grapes, peaches, and currants—as well as trees such as horse chestnuts, catalpa, and mountain ash, and bushes such as roses and lilacs,” says the city of Newton website.
“The Kenricks, John and his son, William (1789-1872), introduced North America to some of the most popular fruit still on the market today—Buerre Bosc and Bon Cretien pears, Noblesse and Early Rareripe peaches, Antwerp raspberries, and Duke of Kent strawberries.”
Kenrick was also an early abolitionist, publishing the 1817 book “The Horrors of Slavery.” His work came some 20 years before the majority of New Englanders joined the anti-slavery movement.
William Kenrick was one of the founders of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1829.
The grounds of the museum still showcase remnants from the Kenrick nursery, while the interior offers games, multi-media and audio programs and information about the families who lived there.
The house “retains the structure and detail that exemplifies its style—such as wide, high-ceilinged rooms, a floor plan with ample space for entertaining, and elaborately tooled balusters,” says the Newton website. “In addition, the Durant-Kenrick House contains rare, early 19th-century stenciled floors.”
The house and its grounds are owned by Historic Newton and have operated as a museum since 2014.
(We have tons more pictures posted on our Instagram page!)