Reynolds Keyes House

In 1859, this house was built for Dr. Grindall Reynolds (1822-1894), who came to Concord, Mass., from Jamaica Plain after becoming the minister of the First Parish in Concord the prior year.

His 23-year ministry here spanned the last turbulent abolitionist years, the Civil War era and its reconstruction, and carried his congregation into the prosperous 1880s.

One of the most influential men in Concord, Reynolds was a prolific writer and speaker, and active in town affairs. He served as chairman of the School Committee, president of the Library and the Lyceum, and vice-president of the Antiquarian Society.

Reynolds also wrote about the history of Concord for Drake’s 1880 History of Middlesex County — a considerable undertaking, since no town history had been compiled since Lemuel Shattuck’s History of Concord in 1835.

Dr. Reynolds retired from his pastorate in 1881 and became secretary of the American Unitarian Association. He was also of minister-emeritus of the Concord church — he held both posts until his 1894 death.

After his death, the property was purchased by his son-in-law, Judge Prescott Keyes, who had married Alice Reynolds in 1881. The couple lived across the street for several years and by the time they acquired the house, Keyes, too, was one of Concord’s leading citizens.

Keyes (1858-1943) was the youngest child of Judge John Shepard Keyes. Best known as a powerful judge of the District Court, the elder Keyes was also active in many capacities in the state, county, and his native town, where he served as Town Moderator for many years.

From 1883 to 1889, he had a law partnership with the Hon. John F . Brown in Boston. In 1893, he became a trustee of the Middlesex Institution for Savings, and a director and vice-president of the Concord National Bank the following year. He then served as president there from 1901-1938.

In addition, Keyes was Special Justice of the District Court of Central Middlesex from 1894-1910, and was active in forming the Middlesex Bar Association in 1899.

From 1910 to 1930, he succeeded his father as Justice of the District Court of Central Middlesex. He became president of the Middlesex Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1912, retiring in 1939.

His town offices included Tax Assessor; Chairman of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee; member of the first Municipal Light Board (which established Concord’s lighting system) in 1898; and trustee of the Concord Free Library from 1909 to 1943. At the library, he was largely responsible for the 1930 construction of the Loring Fowler Library in West Concord, and for the remodeling and enlargement of the main library in 1933. He also helped manage of the First Parish Church.

Alice Reynolds Keyes died in 1927. Less than three months later, Prescott Keyes married his private secretary, Mrs. Grace Cahoon Boutwell, who died in 1936.

Later, the house again served as the manse for the First Parish Church in 1970, when minister Dr. Dana Maclean Greeley, lived here.

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