Old Slides Of House And Mugford Street

I went over to Abbot Hall this morning to do some research on the exterior of our house. I would like to restore the front door and molding to it’s original glory. I found a few photos and information about the house and my street. The image above is from a slide that was digitized by the Marblehead Historic Commission. Note the beautiful shutters, round top fence, single dormers and molding around the door. We couldn’t find a date on the slide but maybe the children in the left part of the slide might help?

The slide below is from a postcard we found at a local shop and I also found in the digital library via the Historic Commission. Note the fence is now picket. The second photo below is from 1978 I found in a file asking for permission to remove the asphalt shingles and replace with metal siding. The request was denied. I’m not sure when the asphalt shingles were added but on the inside alley between my house and neighbors the asphalt shingles still remain. And finally at the bottom a view of the house in May 2011.

A few things I found in a file documented by the M’Head Hist Dist Comm October 31, 1978:

Mugford Street was the ancient way to the ferry on Salem Harbor side. It was called a highway in 1703, Ye highway or street in 1713 and the street leading to the New Meeting House in 1722. It was called Mugford Street as early as 1882 and probably named that because the young Revolutionary War hero James Mugford lived on the corner of Elm (my house) with his bride Sally Griest. She was the daughter of the wealthy John Griest who lived at 32 Mugford Street.

This section that is typical of old town development: 200 years of building houses, some elegant, some plain and some built on the site of earlier homes. There has been intermittent commercial use of land and buildings in the area: a boat yard, slaughter house, grocery store, boat building, dry goods store, seed business, and small shoe factory.

In a document from a file documented by the M’Head Hist Dist Comm dated November 20, 1978, the house is dated as c 1720. Other documents have dated it to 1750. On the back of this form the statement includes:

Public stories and private rumors have collected about this house. Caption James Mugford set up housekeeping here with his bride, Sally Griest. After his death, Sally married Martin and moved to her parents’ house. I was always told that when the fireplaces were blocked up, all the 18th century cooking equipment and andirons were sealed inside.

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  1. I drive by your home all the time and have been watching the renovation from the outside. I accidentally but fortuitously found your blog, so now I know what’s going on inside! Good luck on the rest of your renovation and welcome to Marblehead.


  2. Hi Helen!

    Nope we’re not going back to the two dormers. It would be amazing but not within our budget.

    The second is asphalt shingles covering the clapboards. We still have clapboards on the side of our house that need to be removed. This was common in the 60’s because clapboards are so high maintenance.


  3. Katy,
    I just found your blog from a link at The Urban Cottage. I stayed up until 2:00 am the first night reading. I love your renovation story, especially on a house as old as yours!

    I have two questions….1st, do you think you will go back to the two separate dormers or leave it as is? (I’m figuring since you have a new roof it will stay as one long dormer). 2nd, in the 1978 photo it looks almost like brick covering the house, not the clapboard siding like in the old photographs. I’m curious about that.

    Love the shutters, too. It’s all so quaint!


  4. I’m sure having to work with the Historical Society can get annoying at times, but then you get the benefit of old photos and better records. After much searching I was only able to find the names of the people who owned our home and the dates they lived in it. I would love photos!

    Sometimes I wish we had a Historical Society, then the moron across from us wouldn’t have been able to paint his shutters neon turquoise, I’m convinced since they’re older and didn’t move to FL they’re compensating with their shutter color!


  5. This is so cool! You are so lucky to have this information, especially the pictures. My local preservation society has documented information on the history of my house, but there are no pictures of it that I am aware of. I’d love to see what it looked like when it was first built!


  6. It’s so great that you were able to find pictures of your house! We tried for so long to find pictures of our 1886 Victorian but have come up empty.
    The boys in the top picture look like they are wearing newsboy caps and knicker pants; if so, I would guess by the clothing style, 1920s , very early 1930s.


  7. I’m surprised the tree bisecting Elm street is so big – it hasn’t changed much at all in over 100 years! Then, the little sapling growing next to the street sign in 1978 is HUGE now.


  8. That’s fantastic that you found so many old photos and documents. Is that you saying the old cooking stuff might be inside the fps, or was that part of the prior documentation? What an interesting discovery *that* would be! I love seeing the transformations of these old places over time — thanks for sharing this.


    1. Nope not me EricaO! Anything in italics was on the documents I found.

      We do have fireplace behind a wall we have get to demo.Maybe we have a treasure trove, right?


  9. So great to have access to all that information! I love the shutters (though have a pet peeve about ornamental shutters – they must function!)


  10. How lucky you are to be able to find old photos of your house! Great to see the original header and entablature above front door. The perfect place for a golden whale!

    The shutters are beautiful too.


  11. I love the original front door molding and it would be wonderful to restore it. It was always exciting finding historical information when I lived in West Newbury in a 300 year-old house. It deepens the love for your house. Wonderful find Katy! ; )