The National Society of Colonial Dames of Massachusetts will be opening up its headquarters, The William Hickling Prescott House at 55 Beacon St., from Friday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 11, for its first holiday open-house.
Friday’s activities will run between 5 and 8 p.m. and include live music on the Prescott House’s 1808 piano by Jayne Young; Saturday’s activities will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and feature a concert by the Back Bay Bell Ringers; and Sunday’s activities will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and include a performance by the Boston College Madrigal Singers.
Susan Bennett, historic preservation manager for NSCDA-Massachusetts, said: “‘Gilded Christmas’ is our first public open house for the holidays, and we are delighted the scaffolding for our façade project will be removed the day before our holiday event so we can throw our doors open to the public to celebrate the completion of the project.”
The Prescott House is expected to wrap up an extensive renovation of its façade today, Thursday, Dec. 8.
The project kicked off in October and included the restoration and rehabilitation of the cornice, pilasters, balcony, and fourth-floor facade elements, as well as the bow front-windows. Altogether, the project cost around $125,000, which was underwritten via a $50,000 Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant from the city, as well as through generous grants from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, the Webster Foundation, and the Grace Thaler Memorial Fund, respectively, according to Bennett.
“We are restoring the façade of this important Federal-era structure designed by Asher Benjamin in 1808,” said Bennett. “The Colonial Dames is a dedicated historic-preservation organization with properties on Beacon Hill, and in Quincy, Mass., and Southeastern Mass., and the façade project is just the latest example of our commitment to keeping our structures in good repair, and to doing historically appropriate restoration.”
Lydia Kimball, president of NSCDA-Massachusetts, said in a press release: “We are excited to open up Prescott House at 55 Beacon St. for this special holiday weekend to share our beautiful mansion across from the Boston Common so that more people can experience what life was like for a Beacon Hill family in the 1800s. Our headquarters is one of the top examples of Federal architecture in Boston. It was built in 1808 for the Boston merchant, James Smith Colburn on land purchased from John Singleton Copley, America’s most accomplished colonial portrait painter, who once owned the land.”
In anticipation of this weekend’s open house, Patricia Tully, executive director, Beacon Hill Civic Association, said in a press release: “We’re so excited for ‘A Gilded Christmas’ at Prescott House this year. We have always thought that Prescott House was a ‘neighborhood hidden gem’ and believe that it’s a great idea to open up this historic museum for a holiday weekend to share it with friends and neighbors alike.”
Admission is $10 for adults, and is free for children 12 and under, and for NSCDA-MA members.
Visit https://nscdama.org/event/gilded/ to purchase tickets.