About this blog

This blog is, as its subtitle says, a collection of profiles on historical buildings, people, and places in Wellesley, Massachusetts. I started it merely as a way to share some of the information on Wellesley’s history that I’ve gathered over the years. This research actually began when I first moved to Wellesley in 1989, but accelerated in recent years after witnessing the destruction of the 1938 high school, the Wellesley Inn, the Country Club clubhouse, and dozens of houses and other buildings throughout the town. I don’t anticipate that things will change overnight, but I strongly believe that knowledge is power and the more we know about Wellesley’s history, the more likely it is that the remaining historical structures will be saved.

My email address: joshuadorin [at] gmail.com

  • If my posts interest you, then you can ‘follow’ this blog by entering your email address into the widget on the right side of the webpage (and then clicking on the link in a confirmation email sent to your inbox). This way, you will receive an email every time that I add a new post.
  • I’m always on the lookout for old photos, postcards, and videos (but not photocopies or post-1923 newspaper clippings). Specifically, I’m interested in pre-1940 photos of houses and pre-1980 photos of buildings and landmarks. If you have any that you’d be willing to give me copies or scans of, please contact me. I can also scan them myself if necessary.
  • This blog is entirely non-commercial. All efforts are taken to make sure that no copyright laws are broken with respect to images and there is appropriate attribution. The same goes with content. The sources I use are informally cited and permission is sought when content is reproduced beyond copyright fair use standards (to the best of my judgment). Though I would encourage everyone to read the original sources. They usually contain lots of fascinating information not included in my posts. And all writing on this blog is my intellectual property. Please abide by the appropriate copyright laws when lifting information from this blog.
  • The image in the header — Wellesley Railroad Station in Wellesley Square, Massachusetts — is in the public domain and belongs to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS, Reproduction number “HABS MASS,11-WEL,3–1”

17 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. This will be fun. Grew up at 51 Abbott. Will pass your blog on to the numerous folks who grew up in the neighborhood. Know by many of us as Rabbit road as there were so manyb big families.

  2. I have a question for you. Over the course of your research into the History of Wellesley, have you come across any families named Campbell or Griffiths? I am researching my family history and my great-grandmother was Lillian Elizabeth Campbell and there is a story in my family that she was driven to Wellesley and would sit in front of a house for hours (it is believed that this was her family’s house) No one in my family knows anything about her other than this story. It was on the way back from one of these trips in February 1942 that she was in car accident that caused her death. Thank you.

    • Unfortunately, I can’t be of much help. I need an approximate year, street name or any other information about her family. Her name doesn’t come up in the Townsman (newspaper) archives. But there were two Campbell households on opposite ends of the town ( i. Samuel K./Margaret E. and ii. Mary J.) in 1904. There were no Griffiths in town that year, but I’m sure there were many more Campbell/Griffiths families soon thereafter.

  3. Joshua, this is a treasure. I am grateful for your efforts. I moved to Wellesley in 1961 and moved away in 1976. Do you know anything about the houses at Eastman Circle which were demolished sometime after the ’70s. They were very grand old shingled mansions across from the Dana Hall area on the other side of Grove Street. I lived there (sort of casually) after dropping out of Wellesley High in 1967-68 or so (memory does NOT serve). There were several groups of radicals and musicians communing there (hard to believe—in conservative old Wellesley—that such a thing could occur, but it was the ’60s).

    • Thank you! Those large cottages on Eastman Circle — former dorms for the students of Dana Hall and Pine Manor Junior College — were razed in order to make way for the Wellesley Green development in the 1970s. I hope to write a post on the old Dana Hall campus sometime in the near future. So stay tuned!

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  6. I am a current student at Wellesley College, and I find your blog extremely interesting and fun to read! Last year I did a research project on the landscape of Wellesley College for my environmental history course, so I especially enjoyed reading your post about College Hall and Longfellow Pond!

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  8. I left Wellesley in 1978 for TWA Flight Attendant training in Kansas City. So much has changed since I left! I’ve really enjoyed your blog and especially the pictures. I’ll try to find some more for you. I was so disappointed when I learned that the Wellesley Inn had been torn down! Would you mind telling me a little bit about that? I have great memories of cocktails in the small dark bar. My wedding guests all stayed there in 1979. So charming!

  9. Just love this invaluable blog on so many levels. Grew up in Wellesley from 1955-1980; my mother lived in our house on Radcliffe Road until 1993, when she moved to the Cape and Florida. Like many Wellesleyites, my parents are now buried behind our old hose at Woodlawn Cemetery.I am a proud graduate of Wellesley High – had many of “the greats” there including Gerry Murphy, Brooks Goddard, and, of course, the incomparable Mr. Crockett. I worked after school at some classic Wellesley establishments growing up including Wellesley Super Market and Olken’s. Hathaway is still the greatest bookstore of all time. I still have hundreds of my old 45’s purchased at both the Record Rack and the Music Box. No one ever made a better ice cream sundae than Bailey’s. Popover’s – now that was a delight! And like every other Wellesley kid passing by the Snshine Dairy on the way to either the Junior High or the High School, how could I not pass up a cheeseburger and a frappe made and served by Donny and staff? From skating at Knowell’s Pond to pitching for years on the mound at Hunnewell Field, the memories of those days still light up the sky for me all these years later. Recently, I wanted to buy a Patriots hoodie in the style of Bill Belichick. In the end, I perused through the Internet and instead ordered a Wellesley Raiders hoodie instead. If I could sum up my Wellesley upbringing in one word it would be this – grateful.

  10. I grew up on Livingston Road near the former Baker Estate. I love this blog. I’m hoping Josh will do an article on the massive Henry Woods Sons paint factory (Paint shop pond at Wellesley college) 1848-1915. What little I find on the internet is quite fascinating.

  11. Just saw your article about Brownleigh Hall in Needham. The last owner was, as you said, Orville N. Purdy. But he inherited it from my great grandmother, Elizabeth Cleveland Phillips Purdy. Her first husband was my great grandfather, Charles Purdy. When he died, Elizabeth married Orville, her late husband’s first cousin. Orville survived Elizabeth, thus the house went to his children, not to my grandfather, Augustus Lewis Purdy, who was born there. I have an oil painting of the Hall, and some furniture, and many stories. The Purdys entertained lavishly.

  12. I am interested in hearing anything you know about Wiswall Sanatorium that became Charles River Hospital. I am wondering when it closed and for what reason. Thank you.

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