The Project

Nathaniel Allen House Restoration Project

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

Vision Statement

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.

Progress to Date

The construction/restoration project at the Nathaniel Allen House is a $7.5 million undertaking. Our funding comes from a combination of public funds, tax credits, financing, and our capital campaign. We seek to raise $1.5 million in this campaign to complete the restoration and renovation of the existing school to accommodate a program of new spaces and outfit the performance space. Click on the photo below to watch a short slideshow of the Allen House Project, which we are hoping to complete by Fall 2020.

Join in Our Efforts!

With your help, we can make the Nathaniel Allen House project a success:

Advocate for the Newton Cultural Alliance in the community.

Connect the Newton Cultural Alliance to potential funders for the project.

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