About The Sudbury History Center
The Loring Parsonage Today After StabilizationSudbury Historical Society, Inc. The Sudbury Historical Society is in the midst of its most ambitious project to date, creating the Sudbury History Center & Museum in the town-owned c. 1730 Loring Parsonage in Sudbury’s Town Center. The project will revitalize an historic town asset and safely store and exhibit the SHS’s collection, accommodate its growing membership and volunteer corps, facilitate scholarly research, and provide a fully accessible visitor’s center for Sudbury’s residents and tourists. Project cost estimates range from between $1,500,000 - $1,600,000.
The nonprofit SHS is an active membership-based organization dedicated to collecting and preserving Sudbury’s historic records, promoting study of local history, and connecting people to Sudbury’s traditions through educational programming and community engagement. With a History Center we can achieve our mission. Our vision for the town-owned Loring Parsonage is for an inclusive, active, multifunctional facility for all ages. We have an opportunity to build something outstanding for Sudbury.
Why the Loring Parsonage?The choice to establish the History Center in the heart of Sudbury was purposeful. SHS Trustees considered this decision carefully with extensive research over several years. A feasibility study proved that the Parsonage would not only accommodate SHS operations but also provide a focal point for the town's history.
The Loring Parsonage circa 1890Etching by J. S. Conant, from Alfred S. Hudson, History of Sudbury, 1889The Loring Parsonage, home of Sudbury’s first minister and later Wheeler and Haynes family descendants, is an important structure because of who lived there and because it is one of the few extant buildings of its type which, as a town resource, would be opened to the public with the SHS as the lessee. (See Sudbury History Virtual Tour for the history of the building.)
As the Town Center has just undergone infrastructure improvements the History Center will support the Town’s investment in this revitalization. The location will allow greater collaboration with other historic entities there. It will promote the use of the Town Hall, Grange Hall, and park lands. The tourism potential is great. With the Wayside Inn campus in South Sudbury and the Town Center historic resources as a draw, there is no need for out-of-town guests to go far afield to learn about local history. Sudbury has what is needed and tourism dollars spent in town are a win for Sudbury.
Beyond tourism and maintaining character, the History Center would also create a place for people to learn, to use their skills, to understand why Sudbury’s unique past is relevant to the present — why history is important for the future of our Town.
What Will Be There?
The project consists of three phases:
- Phase I (now complete) handles the design of the structure and stabilization of the existing structure.
- Phase II involves reconstruction of the interior of the main building and reconstruction and extension of the wing on the east side of the main building.
- Phase III, involves raising funds for interior outfitting and building an endowment to maintain the building.
Where We Are Now
The Loring Parsonage During StabilizationSudbury Historical SocietyThe Loring Parsonage now is ailing. The structure needs stabilization. The second floor cannot accommodate the public. Repurposing will give the building new life. It needs stabilization for use and creative design to preserve its greatest assets while incorporating the SHS’s programmatic needs, including meeting accessibility requirements necessary to provide a facility which allows a fully enriching experience. With guidance from Town committees and staff and through the work of preservation architects Spencer & Vogt Group, the SHS has developed a detailed plan for the building.
The stabilization of the existing building phase is essentially complete thanks to a state grant that the SHS obtained through the tireless efforts of State Senators Mike Barrett and Jamie Eldridge and State Representative Carmine Gentile.
The next step is a modest extension of the building to accomodate an new entryway, staircase and elevator.
Rendering of the South Elevation of the Extended Loring ParsonageSudbury Historical Society
How Much Does it Cost?
The three phases of work will cost approximately 1.5 to 1.6 million dollars.
With significant gifts from members of the community, area business leaders and foundations, the SHS has raised $1,549,700 in grants and contributions since December 2015. Now only $50,300 remains to be raised and we can start the new construction phase of the project (Phase II).
This endeavor is time - sensitive because Sudbury’s Town Hall, where the SHS currently resides, is also being considered for renovation and the SHS will need to move. Stabilization of a portion of the Parsonage has already been completed (Phase I), and with additional community support, the remaining rehabilitation and expansion could begin this year and be completed by the spring of 2018. Then begins Phase III, raising funds for interior outfitting and building an endowment.