John Walker Simonds House

The John Walker Simonds House in Bedford, Mass., was built around 1827.

It is unusual to Bedford for this time period due to its 3.5 stories; most houses of this style during this time were only 2.5 stories.

Research reveals this may have originally been a single family residence, then made into a two family home somewhere along the way. The 1857 atlas shows the property was owned by Simonds and Mrs. David Fitch. By 1875, when the town showed lot lines, it was clearly two separate residences.

Simonds (1808-1870) lived on the right side of the house, and heirs remained here into the early 20th century. Simonds was a merchant, surveyor, historian, representative to the General Court, and a member of the convention to revise the Mass Constitution in 1853, often serving as its chair.

His father, shoe manufacturer Zebedee Simonds, came to Bedford from Woburn in 1805. Zebedee taught the shoe business to Phineas W. Chamberlin, one of Bedford’s most successful shoe manufacturers in the early 19th century. Chamberlain is associated with the dwelling immediately east of this house.

By 1935, the building became a four-family house, and then a six-family home by 1965. In 1981, the six dwellings were converted to condominium ownership.

Over the years, it has been home to a clergyman, a telephone operator, a draftsman, an oil industry worker and more. The last Simonds to reside here were Merton (a painter and justice of the peace) and his wife Eliza, who lived here until 1906.

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