Nathaniel Allen House Restoration Project
Look at Our Progress!
Newton’s Nathaniel T. Allen House named 2021 Preservation Award recipient by Preservation Massachusetts
Preservation Massachusetts announced this week that Newton's Nathaniel T. Allen House project of the Newton Cultural Alliance has been named one of its 2021 Paul & Niki Tsongas Preservation Award recipients. Since 1988, Preservation Massachusetts' highest honor, the Paul & Niki Tsongas Award, has recognized the very best in historic preservation efforts, individuals, and achievements across the Commonwealth. In total, Preservation Massachusetts will celebrate nineteen projects from Plymouth to Springfield during the month of May, culminating in a live virtual celebration on Thursday, May 20. Award recipients represent the strong foundation and supportive collaborations that bring new life to our historic buildings and landscapes.
The 2021 Preservation Awards program is a month-long multimedia celebration that will highlight each award recipient on a specific day with May 26 being Allen House Day (and coincidentally the same day as Mayor Fuller's Community Breakfast.) The month-long celebration coincides with National Historic Preservation Month, which celebrates the nation’s heritage through historic places. Festivities culminate on May 20 with Preservation LIVE, which will include sponsored virtual networking, a live presentation of the awardees and project teams, and the announcement of the 2021 People’s Preservation Choice Award, chosen by popular vote – for which the Nathaniel Allen House has been nominated!
February 2021 Update
With the issuing of the Certificate of Occupancy by the City of Newton this week and after more then 8 years of hard work, the Newton Cultural Alliance has completed Newton's new arts and cultural destination - the Allen Center for Arts & Culture, located at the Nathaniel Allen House on Webster Street in West Newton. This exciting event was further enhanced by Governor Baker's announcement on Thursday that soon performance venues may open to 50% capacity, with social distancing. This will allow the NCA to host small performances and events in the coming months! We are so very grateful to all those who have supported our dream over these years of bringing this project to the community!
The facility currently hosts offices for four cultural organizations and has rental space for meetings, rehearsals, and performances for NCA members and visiting artists along with a small works art gallery, social space, and ample outdoor event space. We hope to have a busy summer of celebration with outdoor performances within the state guidelines of the moment and look forward to welcoming the community for a wide variety of music, theater, the literary arts, visual arts, and more! We expect to begin tours and rentals in mid-March and welcome inquiries - just send us an email!
A Brief History
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and a Newton landmark, the Nathaniel Topliff Allen House, built c.1848-1852, was the home of Nathaniel Allen, one of the most progressive educators of his time. The building served for more than a century as part of a school founded by Allen and subsequently operated by his daughters. Allen's educational model was highly enlightened, providing learning opportunities across gender, race, and ethnic origin, and promoting rigorous physical education and an appreciation for the arts.
In 2012, just as the house was about to be developed into condominiums, the Newton Cultural Alliance purchased the property and began a careful process of planning for its future. Since then, funding has been secured from the Newton Community Preservation Program, Massachusetts Historical Rehabilitation Tax Credits, the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and private contributions. In 2016, the Junior League of Boston's Designer Show House was hosted at the Nathaniel Allen house, resulting in significant upgrades to the physical property.
Our Plans for the Future
The Newton Cultural Alliance seeks to create a dynamic cultural center at the historic Nathaniel Allen House that honors the spirit of Nathaniel Allen as a progressive thinker, as an innovator, educator, and collaborator - a place where our entire community can gather to create, experience, learn, explore, and celebrate. With the creation of this new cultural center, we seek to affirm Newton's legacy as one of Massachusetts' most accepting, broadly diverse, intellectually curious, and culturally abundant cities.
Once complete, the Nathaniel Allen House will be a year-round resource for the community, offering space for a broad range of innovative arts and culture events and programs across disciplines, among them:
- Theatre performances - in a unique black box theatre space in the Allen House barn;
- Concerts and recitals - offered in several well-appointed spaces within the house and barn; and
- Art exhibits - in and around the property, including parlors, the barn, and outdoors on the lawn.
In addition, indoor and outdoor spaces will be made available for rent by the community for:
- Educational and after-school programs;
- Lectures, classes, workshops, and demonstrations; and
- Private parties and events.
The restoration of the Nathaniel Allen House began in 2013 and is due to be completed in late December 2020. Technically known as the Nathaniel Allen House, going forward the property will be known as the Nathaniel Allen Center for Arts and Culture, aka Allen Center. We anticipate a gradual, COVID safe, slow opening beginning in January 2021, and expect full activities to launch in late 2021 with a grand gala opening celebration along the way. Click on the photo below to watch a short slideshow of the Allen House Project - aka Allen Center. We hope you will drop by and view the Allen Center for yourself in early 2021. Watch for an announcement on small open house gatherings in the coming months.
Join in Our Efforts!
With your help, we can make the Nathaniel Allen Center for Arts and Culture a success:
*Advocate for the Newton Cultural Alliance in the community.
*Connect the Newton Cultural Alliance to potential funders for the project.
*Make a gift to support our important mission!