Friday, February 14, 2014

State Prepares $2 Million Investment in the Roxbury Heritage State Park’s Dillaway Thomas House

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will direct $2 million in improvements to the Roxbury Heritage State Park’s historic Dillaway Thomas House in Roxbury’s John Eliot Square.  One of Governor Patrick’s Signature Park Projects, the Dillaway Thomas House and its surrounding open space will be upgraded with public amenities, new exhibits and a public archeology laboratory for residents and visitors to Roxbury.

The Dillaway Thomas House, built in 1750 for the pastor of the nearby First Church of Roxbury, may very well be the oldest surviving house in Roxbury.  During the American Revolution, it was the headquarters for Continental Army General John Thomas during the Siege of 1775.  Canon from Fort Ticonderoga, an important factor in the end of the siege, passed safely through American-controlled access points here on the way to Dorchester Heights.   Located on the hill overlooking Dudley Square, the Dillaway Thomas House has unparalleled views of downtown Boston and Boston Harbor.  Since 1992, the house has been headquarters for the Roxbury Heritage State Park, providing exhibits and gathering space for local history and community activities.
New exhibits about Roxbury will be installed at the Dillaway Thomas House and a new archeology lab will be created here to support a public archeology program there.  The landscape will be improved to support more public access to the site and invasive vegetation will be removed from the edge of the property to allow for better vistas from the Heritage State Park to downtown.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation(DCR) plans to complete these projects in 2014 and is actively seeking public input for the entire design development process.  Public meetings have begun, architects and designers are being selected and design work should begin in March with a goal of having some landscape work take place in the warmer months.  Exhibition and facilities improvements will begin this fall with planned completion by December.  

If you have project-related questions or concerns, please email, call 617 -626-4973 or the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA  02116.

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