Historic New England adds two more properties to easement program

Jan 11, 2021

Thomas Emery House and Holmes-Brewster House are the 115th and 116th historic properties in the Preservation Easement Program.

Emery House, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Emery House in Newburyport, Massachusetts

Historic New England’s 115th preservation easement protects Thomas Emery House in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The lovingly restored Federal-style mansion originally dates to 1797. The building has an interesting history. It was inhabited by several prominent Newburyport individuals, including James Parton, known as the “father of modern biography.” During the late nineteenth century, it also functioned as the Houston Cure Institute, a sanitarium for the treatment of narcotics addictions.

Holmes-Brewster House in Kingston, Massachusetts
Holmes-Brewster House in Kingston, Massachusetts

Our 116th preservation easement protects Holmes-Brewster House in Kingston, Massachusetts. Part of the house is believed to have been constructed as early as 1690. It was owned by the Brewster family for more than two hundred years, from its purchase in 1712 through 1925, when it was sold to the Singsen family of Rhode Island. The Singsens operated the property as a summer retreat and a seasonal house museum for another fifty years, filling the house with antiques and charging twenty-five cents admission for tours. The northern end of the six acres of land now under protection was once part of the busy “Bay Path” that linked Plymouth to Boston. The path had been laid out many years before by Massachusett and Wampanoag villagers and continued to be used by English settlers into the eighteenth century.

It’s in the details

Historic New England’s easement protections generally cover exterior, interior, and landscape elements of each property. For these two properties, protections encompass all exterior elevations, interior flooring, plaster, woodwork, hardware, and fireplaces. They also protect from subdivision the 5.7 acres at Holmes-Brewster House.

About our Preservation Easement Program

A preservation easement is a legal agreement used to protect significant building and landscape features of a historic property. Historic New England works with the property owner to create the document and record it with local land records. It gives the easement holder certain rights and responsibilities associated with perpetual protection. The easement does not prevent future sales, leases, or estate planning, and the owner remains responsible for maintenance and taxes.

Learn more about Historic New England’s Preservation Easement Program.