Clayes House
Issue No.13 April 8, 2015
In This Issue

Dear friend,


Happy spring!  We are happy to report that the Clayes House has outlasted yet another winter -- and a particularly brutal winter at that.  Since we sent the last e-newsletter, there has been significant progress on our efforts to save the property.  Please see below for more details on several fronts -- this report includes some of what we communicated last fall, with some important updates.   


As you can see from all of these efforts, we are getting very close to a donation of the house to our organization, The Sarah Clayes House Trust.  Now more than ever we need your financial support, as we prepare to shore up the house against further damage once we get that historic call from the bank.  Please see the article below for an outline of these costs, which you can help by underwriting today.  Important update:  the Massachusetts' Attorney General's Office has agreed to put significant pressure on the bank to make the donation of the house, but members of the office have told us that they need assurances that we can raise this money FIRST.  


Please make a donation now, so we can proceed with our plans and in these crucial months!  Your gift is tax-deductible, and support at ANY level is much appreciated! 


I am very pleased to announce that we have a new partnership with a local non-profit called the Land Advocacy Conservation Trust, an organization that "provides legal support, fiscal sponsorship and technical assistance to help preserve open spaces, farm land, historic places and architecture, natural resources, and to promote sustainability and smart-growth ideals that foster these land conservation values." LCAT is now receiving tax-deductible gifts to the Clayes House project on our behalf: any gift given through their Clayes House giving site will be automatically applied to our initiative.  Many thanks to LCAT and Steve Meltzer, the president of that organization, for helping us in this crucial way!


Cheers -- 


Janice C. Thompson

Sarah Clayes House Trust

(978) 604-0869



Update on our efforts to get the bank to donate the property -- 

We are pleased to report that we are making headway -- through the help of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office -- in pressuring the bank to foreclose on the Clayes House property and then donate it to the Sarah Clayes House Trust.  We hope that this will happen by mid-summer.    

Over the past several months, we have invited preservation organizations to take a look at the house -- and these professionals have told us that it is possible, through various public initiatives, to find a buyer who will work with us to preserve the house.  This is a much more feasible model for us, as it will require much less fundraising (renovating the house and creating a house museum out of it, including an endowment that would maintain the house into perpetuity, would cost upwards of $2-3 million) while reaching our primary goal of saving the house.  We would work with any private buyer so that s/he would open the house to the public through the annual house tour sponsored by the Framingham History Center.  

We have already started conversations with a potential buyer of the property, and this person is very willing to work with us on establishing and implementing the historic restrictions that the property would carry with it.  We continue to be on the look-out for other potential partners, and once we own the house, we will market the opportunity more broadly, with the help of local preservation organizations.  


What we need now -- from you!

With thanks to friends of the project -- including local contractors, crafts schools, preservationists, all of whom donated their time to this -- we now have estimates for our immediate needs once the the bank grants the property to us.  They are: 

1.  Make the property safe for visitors:  build temporary steps, add door locks, plywood over holes in floor, clean up garbage, old appliances, fallen insulation, and debris inside and outside of house. Add support beams to carry load of second floor to a stable footing. Stabilize overhangs to prevent from shearing off. Install corrugated plastic on window openings to allow natural light inside. Keep coded box with flashlights to navigate inside the house. Cost:  $6,000-8,000

2.  Secure the external property:  take down large dead tree overhanging the house, install solar-powered motion detectors, build temporary fence, install construction-type sign.  Cost:  $3,000 - 4,000

3.  Shore up the house against further damage:  Tarp the entire roof beyond front ridge and secure with strapping.  Add plywood to newly exposed exterior wall areas. Clean gutters. Cut back vegetation away from house. Consider professional engineering services to stabilize structure. Determine if carriage house, gazebo, and rear structure will also be preserved - remove if not. Inspect house monthly to prevent further damage preventing preservation.   Cost:  $9,000 - 12,000 

In addition, the bank has told us that we need to pay the legal and financial costs associated with the foreclosure proceedings that are required before the house if free to donate.  The cost for this is estimated at $2,000 - 3,000

TOTAL IMMEDIATE NEEDS:  $20,000 - $27,000

At the present moment, through the generosity of past donors, we have roughly $12,000 in the bank -- this is after paying about $7,000 in expenses supporting our project this year.  

Won't you help us meet the gap between what we have and what we need in order to move forward with this vital project?  

Please click here today to make your donation now!


Historic Development Report Completed!

Thanks to a generous grant from board members Biddy and Bob Owens, last summer preservationist Bill Finch spent hours inside and outside the property, taking hundreds of photographs and collecting data to write a 70 page Historic Development Report on the home.  Full text can be found here.  

Regardless of what happens to this property in the future, this report will live on as an important historic document, as it outlines in minute detail the dimensions, materials, and genesis of various elements of the home.  We have already used the document in our conversations with the bank, Historic New England, and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office over the past few months.  The document has gone a long way to communicate the deep importance of our efforts to preserve the property.  

Many thanks to Biddy and Bob Owens, and to Bill Finch, for helping us with this!
Do you want to see Sarah telling her own story?

The Sarah Clayes story
Thanks to Sam Martin, a friend of the project, we now have a video featuring Sarah telling her story in her own words.

Take a look here -- and free to share on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds!


Also, Sarah made an appearance at the recent "Voices from the Old Burying Grounds," a program hosted by the Framingham History Center featuring reenactments of some historic figures buried among the stones.  Here is Sarah waiting for the next group of participants.  

All of these efforts help boost awareness of our preservation project!
Framingham, MA
Framingham, Massachusetts 01721