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Joint Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Historical Commission meeting for public comments on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 7:30 pm on the following proposed Scenic Ways:
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BACKGROUND ON POSSIBLE NEW MEDFIELD SCENIC ROADS FOR 2021:
FARM STREET – From North St. intersection to Dover line. The Medfield 1999 Historic Preservation Plan considers Farm Street one of four "rural scenic corridors" and recommends Scenic Road status. This road is likely one of the earliest ones laid out in Medfield, with documentation dating back to early 1600s. The road crosses over North Brook, and five historic assets are located on the road according to Mass. Historical Commission database, and the area is deemed eligible for National Register District status. The stretch is described as having a "Distinctive grouping of historic residences with associated agricultural landscapes (ca. building inventory 1673-early 20th century)." Today Farm Street continues to be lined with old stone walls and shade trees. It intersects with North Street, a designated Scenic Road.
ELM STREET – From Wheelock School to Walpole line. The Medfield 1999 Historic Preservation Plan also considers Elm Street to be one of the town's "rural scenic corridors" and recommends Scenic Road status. One of the oldest and most historic roads in Medfield, records indicate Elm Street was laid out in 1652. Four sites along the road are eligible for National Historic Register listing, including two Adams-family homes and Holiday Farm. The stretch of road also saw action during King Philip War, and a large section is in an Archaeological Protection District. The road crosses a significant waterway, Mine Brook, which connects to historic Mill Brook. As such, the area is marked by wetlands, stretches of undeveloped fields ("South Plain") in addition to old stone walls and shade trees which would benefit from protection. Elm intersects with Philip Street, a designated Scenic Road.
PLAIN STREET – From Medfield to Walpole line. The first section was laid out in 1735, and the final stretch to Walpole was laid out in 1855. Much of the entire length of road is lined with old stone walls, and is marked by shade trees. Other features include stretches of conservation land and open space for farming, and records indicate vernal pools and wetlands are located near the public way, most notably in the northern section closer to the Walpole line. Among the roads in Medfield, Plain Street is one of the few that has retained its rural, agricultural character. Planning Board minutes from 1992-1999 reference its desire to protect old stone walls from a proposed development, but without Scenic Road status it was powerless to do so.
NEBO STREET – From Main Street/109 to Foundry Street. Originally known as "Mt. Nebo Street" given its proximity to one of the highest elevations in town, the road was laid out and built in 1871. Notable natural features along the narrow and hilly road include the crossing over of Mine Brook and ending at Jewell's Pond. The road is marked mostly by large shade trees; few stone walls can be found. Nebo Street intersects with Foundry Street, a designated Scenic Road. Given its proximity, Nebo St. is likely included in the Mill Brook National Register District recommendation.
MILLBROOK ROAD – From Nebo St. to Main St. -- The origin of the road itself is unclear, but it is located in a historic section of town that was built along Mill Brook, and has been recommended for National Register District status. The 1999 Historic Preservation Plan notes that the area is a "Historic settlement cluster significant for associations with agricultural activity, adjacent buildings industry on Mill Brook, and as wooded and archaeological suburban setting for four International Style sites houses (18th century-ca. 1950)." Few stone walls exist on Millbrook Rd., but there is an abundance of shade trees along the roadway, as well as numerous water resources/wetlands.