Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Highfield Hall • Falmouth
 
Highfield Hall • Falmouth

Rehabilitation & Restoration

Built in 1878 as the high-style summer home of the Beebe family, who lived here until 1932, Highfield Hall was one of Falmouth’s earliest large country estates. One of the few extant regional examples of the architectural transition between Queen Anne and Stick Styles, the building may possibly be the work of the well-known Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. In the 1950s, a plantation-style façade was added, considerably altering the building’s appearance; following this renovation, the property fell into a period of decay. In the 1970s, after the owner demolished another Beebe residence on the property, claiming it was too badly deteriorated to save, local residents rallied to support Highfield Hall. They continued to advocate for its protection for two decades, and when demolition was threatened in the mid 1990s, preservationists formed a nonprofit organization, Historic Highfield. Six years of legal battles led to the town seizing the property by eminent domain. In 2001, Falmouth turned the property over to Historic Highfield, which eventually raised $8 million to restore the building.

The restoration had to address significant deterioration resulting from years of neglect and water damage. Most remarkable were the successful removal of the 1950s façade and the recreation of the original configuration based on historic photographs. Original windows were restored, and sensitive replacements installed where necessary. Interior decorative woodwork was restored or replicated in water damaged areas. Paint analysis allowed the recreation of historic interior and exterior color schemes. Highfield Hall, returned to its magnificent historic appearance, is now used for community meetings and function rentals. It stands as a testimony to a remarkable community preservation campaign.

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