Aaron Bascom House, Chester, Massachusetts (2)

The house across from the corner of Skyline Trail and Bromley Road in Chester, Massachusetts, in April 1938. Photo by Arthur C. Haskell, courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey Collection.

The house in 2024:

As explained in more detail in the previous post, this house was built in 1769 as the home of the Reverend Aaron Bascom, the first pastor of the church in Chester. He lived here until his death in 1814, and then in 1832 it was purchased by Dr. Thaddeus DeWolf. It would remain in his family for over a century, and during this time several of his children went on to become prominent figures. His oldest son, Oscar DeWolf, became a physician and moved to Chicago, where he served as the city’s commissioner of health. Thaddeus’s youngest son, DeWitt C. DeWolf, was active in state politics during the early 20th century, including serving as executive secretary to Governor Joseph Ely in the early 1930s, and as the state commissioner of labor and industries.

DeWitt DeWolf died in 1935, and the top photo was taken three years later as part of the documentation of this house for the Historic American Buildings Survey. It was still owned by his family at the time, but a few months later the property was put up for auction. The house had several other owners during the 20th century, but it has been vacant for many years. All of the other outbuildings on the property are gone, and the land around the house is overgrown with trees. The historic house still has many of its original features, including the 12-over-8 windows on the second floor, but overall the house is in poor condition, as shown in the second photo.

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