Clayes House
Issue No.12November 10, 2014
In This Issue
* Update on our donation efforts
* What we need from you!
* Historic Development Report Completed
* Sarah in her own words

Dear friend,


It has been a long time since we last published a newsletter on the Sarah Clayes House project -- but in fact so much has been going on in the background, and we apologize for our delay in sending you this update.  Please see below for more details on several fronts.  


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 them 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! 


FYI, through past financial support by friends of the project and board members, over the past twelve months we have been able to pay for:


1.  landscaping equipment rental for our successful neighborhood clean-up of the property;

2.  fees for our social media program, including Constant Contact and hosting costs for our website;

3.  a comprehensive Historic Development Report created by Bill Finch, Chairman of the Historic District Commission for the Town of Beverly and a preservationist consultant with the firm Finch & Rose in Beverly (see more details below);

4.  costs for me to travel to DC to speak about the project at the annual conference of the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches; and

5.  underwriting for a short video of Sarah's story (see more details below).


Cheers -- 


Janice C. Thompson

Sarah Clayes House Trust

(978) 604-0869



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

Over the past year we have had countless conversations with the bank, Historic New England, Town of Framingham officials, and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office about our request that the bank donate the property to our preservation efforts.  We have also invited contractors and preservationists to the property to give us some estimates about what it will cost to shore up the house against further damage once the donation is (we hope) made.

We are pleased to report that all the Massachusetts organizations are in alignment with our plans, and are supporting our efforts to preserve the property.  Together we are putting pressure on the bank to move forward with their verbal agreement to donate the house, and we still feel that that decision is imminent.  

The best news:  the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office has devoted personnel and resources to assist us in our efforts to expedite the bank's donation, contingent upon our commitment to raise the necessary funds for the preservation of the property.  You can help this happen by making a tax-deductible gift -- in any amount -- to our project by clicking here.  

As we invite preservationist organizations to take a look at the house, 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.  


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 for winter weather:  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