THE ULTIMATE LIST OF CHEAP OLD HOUSES UNDER $50K…and BEYOND ––>
Free House Must Be Moved – The Historic Dr. Oliver Prescott Jr. House
January 12, 2024
OHU50K Notes $Free
FREE HOUSE MUST BE MOVED, UNDERLYING LAND NOT FOR SALE . The home is chock full of history. It was owned by Dr. Oliver Prescott Jr. of Groton, Massachusetts. It was purchased as part of a larger property owned by Groton Hill Music Center. The current owners had proposed that the historically significant house be demolished, but the Groton Historical Commission now has an application for the free house if it is moved.
170 Old Ayer Rd is a 5×3 bay, pyramidal hipped, Federal style house of 2 stories built on a nearly square plan with an enclosed shed porch attached to the first story of the facade and additions to the south side and rear. Decorative features include the stout center brick chimney, symmetrical fenestration in the facade and the molded cornice with dentils. Windows are 12/12 double hung sash with projecting beaded trim and hoods over those on the first story. The center entry is obscured by the 3/5 width shed porch covering the facade.
The owner has various conditions/qualifications that must be met prior to arranging a showing. Contact Aubrey Theall, Chair of the Groton, MA Historical Commission for more information.
House Form: 2-Story
Land Area: 0
If interested in the property, please contact Aubrey Theall whose link is provided in the post below. Independent verification of details and status is recommended.
The Dr. Oliver Prescott Jr. House was built c. 1791 for Dr. Prescott’s bride Nancy Whiting according to previous research by Virginia May. Dr. Prescott (1762-1827), a nephew of CoL William Prescott, leader of American forces at Bunker Hill, was educated at Harvard College and trained as a physician with his father, Dr. Oliver Prescott Sr. who lived in a house that later burned on the site of 14 Main Street. Dr. Prescott served in 1787 in the militia to suppress Shays’ Rebellion in Middlesex County which was led in part by his townsman Job Shattuck (owner of 573 Longley Road).
Dr. Prescott later served as a justice of the peace, member of the general court, state representative, town clerk, selectman, founder of Groton Academy (later Lawrence Academy) and overseer of the poor. Dr. Prescott was also president of the Western Society of Middlesex Husbandmen, served as a Groton Academy trustee in 1793, was a founding member and High Priest of Groton’s Mason Lodge, was a member of the corporation of Massachusetts General Hospital and vice president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He left for Newburyport in 1811 with his family for health reasons. Slate milestone markers placed in 1783 in Groton Center and on Farmers Row are the work of the young Dr. Prescott.
The house was sold c. 1811 to Sylvester Jacobs whose family stayed for over 100 years. Mr. Jacobs was taxed in 1830 and 1847 for ownership ofreal property worth $3,200-$6,500, well above the average for Groton. Non-population Census Schedules from 1850 show that his farm increased in worth to $8,000. The 1828-29 Butler field notes describe the house as white. Around 1835, Mr. Jacobs hired itinerant mural painter, J.D. Poor, an assistant to and nephew of muralist Rufus Porter who may also have worked on the murals, to decorate the northeast room with painted figures that are said to include a steamboat. Nina Fletcher Little describes the scenes of water and islands as typical for Poor. Also, she states that later owners named Priest held the notion that Nathan Thayer of Hollis took part in the mural work. Mr. Jacobs’ son Charles, a lawyer and farmer, was a subsequent owner from c. 1860-1890 – Per gpl.org
Below are two J.D. Poor murals that may or may not still be in the house. An estimate was given in 2019 to have the murals removed. The Historical Commission would know.