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The Historian's home.

Our illustration shows the home of Rev. Charles Brooks, where the ‘History of Medford’ was written and much of his literary work was done. It was not his birthplace. He was born in the older house just below it facing eastward on old Woburn street, the story of which has been told in Vol. XVI, p. 69, of the Register, by the present occupant, Mrs. Ellen Newton Brooks. It is said to have been the home of his uncle Isaac Brooks (who died in 1819), and sold by his widow. The historian's father, Jonathan, purchased it, and made it his home until his death in 1847, when his son Charles, and daughter Lucy Ann Brooks, succeeded in its occupancy. [p. 38] Rev. Charles passed away in 1872 and Miss Lucy Ann many years later.

It is a fine example of the type of New England dwellings of the better class of the early nineteenth century, and succeeded that of Deacon Bradshaw, which was probably like Medford's oldest, the Bradbury-Blanchard-Wellington house at Wellington. The central or main portion has end walls of brick, not carried above the roof, but covered by it but with no projecting cornice. The front is somewhat elaborate in detail, though the projecting roof over the main entrance may be of later construction. The eastern wing is very long, perhaps once enlarged, and overlaps the rear corner but little. A small porch shelters its entrance door, the round pillars of which supported the gallery of the third meetinghouse, which was built in 1770. As that was taken down in 1839, the porch or possible addition would be of later date. There is also a western wing (also well back) of later erection. Both these adjoin an extension in the rear of the central or main building, only the shape of the roof being visible from the street, making a structure over a hundred feet in length, as well as over a hundred years old.

At its erection it commanded a view of wide expanse, and its land extended westward some three hundred feet, while an equal amount (or more) of land lay opposite on High street. Through these areas, in very recent years, have been built Wolcott and other streets and numerous residences.

To this house came, in 1893, the widow of Isaac Austin Brooks (cousin of the historian), Mrs. Sarah Warner Brooks, who spent there the remainder of her life. An account of her may be found in ‘Medford Past and Present,’ page 45. She was author of ‘A Garden with a House Attached,’ which may be found in the Public Library. Its first chapter has a graphic description of the various walks and paths of the extensive grounds, and mentions the trees of various kinds, many of which [p. 39] were early planted by the historian and cheered his declining days. In several illustrations she is seen among her favorite flowers. She gave to the place the name ‘The Lilacs,’ and appropriately, because of their profusion. Beautifully tender allusions to the ‘lady of the wheel-chair’ run through the volume, referring to Miss Lucy Ann, who in her last years thus visited her familiar home scenes.

Some years ago the enclosing fence was removed. The gate, however, was swung back, and the lilacs have sprung up before it, as if to forbid its closing.

Mrs. Brooks' son Edward recently passed on, and the big ‘mansion’ may not remain many years. We have thought it well to thus show and mention it ere it shall be no more.

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