Nathaniel Allen House Restoration Project
Look at Our Progress!
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!