Shoe maker and industrialist Jonathan Bacon (1785-1856), was the original owner of this Bedford, Mass., building.
In 1805, Bacon and his uncle, John Hosmer, started making women’s and children’s shoes for the Boston market. The following year, he married Abigail Clark and together, they had 10 children.
Before he had this Greek Revival home built in 1836, his previous residence was on South Road near other relatives. Around that time, he sold his interest in shoe manufacturing and started inventing items including sash and blind fasteners, latches and “carriage appliances.”
His patented blind fastener sold for 50+ years and more than 4,000 sets of them were manufactured in Bedford in 1832 alone. Several Boston businessmen and companies sold his devices.
Bacon was chairman of the Board of Selectmen for many years, and remained with the First Parish Church when the society embraced Unitarianism and the orthodox separated to form a new church.
After John and Abigail died, their son, Jerome Augustus Bacon (1827-1904) inherited the house. He attended school in Concord under Henry and John Thoreau and completed coursework at Lawrence Academy in Groton.
Bacon learned the gold leaf and dental foil business in the Boston factory of his brother, Clark (1808-1857), and conducted a similar business at the family home in Bedford.
Jerome Bacon employed seventeen people in the gold leaf business as well as in the manufacturing of his father’s blind fasteners. He was described in the state census as a “gold beator” (1855) and a paper maker (1865).
Jerome Bacon enlarged this house for his own residence. He acquired the Lawrence (Mass.) Paper Company and embarked on paper manufacturing, which led to his organization in 1881 of the Bacon Paper Company.
With Henry H. Furbish, he manufactured chemical wood fiber for paper stock, establishing a mill complex that greatly expanded the population of Berlin Falls, New Hampshire. He also owned an interest in an eighty-acre orange plantation on St. John’s River, Florida. Jerome Bacon married three times and had five children.
From 1859 to 1896, Jerome Bacon expanded the estate on The Great Road to eighteen acres. While the estate remained in the Bacon family until 1925, some activity in the reuse of its buildings occurred in the mid-1910s.