Last Saturday, I delivered the keynote address at the Southern Maine Genealogy Conference, which was held in Portland, Maine. My topic was “Documenting Grandma’s Stories: Turning Gossip into Genealogical Fact.” My subject matter, of course, was the Duttons of Glen Rock, and the audience was most receptive to my detailed account of Malden’s first family of the Gilded Age.
On Sunday, I drove to Malden to visit my friend Marilyn Glover. Marilyn is on the board of the Malden Historical Society and it so happens she has lived all of her life right across East Border Road from the main entrance to Glen Rock in one of the twin houses that B. F. Dutton built for some of the workers in his large stable. I had first made contact with her several years back when she was working on a talk to the historical society on the Duttons and I was independently working on my book. It’s a small world!
The weather was perfect. With Marilyn, her sister Linda, and a number of interested neighbors, we spent about three hours walking all over the old Glen Rock grounds, looking at the houses that are there today, figuring out the former locations of B. F. Dutton’s Ticonderoga cannon, the flagpole, the tennis court, the well house, and the grape house, and looking for any remnants still visible of the Dutton estate. We walked into the woods and saw the foundation of the barn and we climbed Tea Rock to see the view of downtown Boston that my grandmother described. In my next posts, I will include some of the photographs that I took on the tour of the property and try to give you a sense of how it is today.
In the meantime, I will leave you with three new pictures that Marilyn had uncovered at the historical society. The first is a drawing of the McGregor house from an old book that had sustained some water damage. This picture is similar to the one I published in my book, but a bit more detailed. Of particular interest, the tree in the foreground of the picture below was recently cut down and the stump–of course much larger around one hundred years later than shown here–is still in the ground. It helped orient me to the exact location of the original McGregor house. A smaller house now stands on that lot in exactly the same spot.
The second picture from the same book is of the south facade of B. F. Dutton’s house at Glen Rock. This one is also similar to the two pictures of the house printed in my book.
For me, the most exciting picture is the third one that Marilyn produced, showing the east facade of B. F. Dutton’s house. I had never before seen a picture of that side of the house. This is the view that the visitor would have had of the house approaching from the Summer Street entrance to the property. You can see that this view is around to the right from the view above. Looking at the two pictures together, one gets a sense of how large (and beautiful) the house was and how perfectly maintained the landscaping was (click on the picture below to get a larger image on your screen).
The Malden Historical Society has undertaken the project of organizing its materials, many of which have not been properly classified and curated. Until now, no one there has been able to locate any photographs of the Glen Rock properties. This seems odd to me since the houses and the barn stood as late as the 1930s. Maybe in the process of reorganizing everything, someone one day will uncover a stash of old photographs.