The Boxford Historical Society replaces the Holyoke-French House palisade

BOXFORD – A homeowner knows all too well how ongoing and costly routine upkeep and maintenance to preserve his home is. The historic 1760 Holyoke-French House, recognized as one of New England’s earliest Greek Revival settlements, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, is certainly no exception.

Over the past decade the 262 year old HF house in the village of Boxford and maintained by the Boxford Historical Society has benefited from major expenditure with a new heating system, electrical wiring safety update, the front door completely restored, the exterior of the house completely repainted with the windows reglazed and a new cedar shingle roof installed.

This month, the badly deteriorated 160-foot white fence was removed and replaced with a fence of similar design by area contractor, Boston Fence. The installation of the fence, if required, was 100% funded by anonymous donations from the neighbors of Boxford Village to whom the BHS wishes to publicly express its sincere thanks for their generosity. The very durable premium white oak pickets, posts and rails with the four much larger red oak Corner Box posts have been uniformly stained Monterey white to match the color of the 1760 HF House trim. The new design and construction of the fence should demonstrate a greatly improved lifespan.

Photo from Spring 2022 of the installation of a new fence in front of the Holyoke-French house and the adjoining living room garden.

This custom picket fence holds one of Boxford Village’s little-known hidden gems, the Holyoke-French Parlor Gardens. A true 18th century period garden, the Parlor Gardens design was created collaboratively in the 1980s by several members of the Boxford Village Garden Club. This unique collection of 18th century vintage garden plants uses a color palette of white, yellow, blue from an assortment of distinctly prominent bloomers: Biennial Foxglove, Shasta Daisy Becky, Black Eyed Susan Goldstrum. For more information, a short video from June 2022 depicting the replacement of the Holyoke-French House fence and living room gardens is available on Boxford Cable Television.

The Garden Club seeks to maintain the original design as accurately as possible while new cultivars replace older plants to encourage hardiness and flowering longevity. The garden is meticulously weeded and maintained weekly by members of the Garden Club Civic Beatification Team. Recently a small copper butterfly sculpture was created and placed in the lounge gardens in honor of a deceased dedicated member of the HF House Beautification Team who loved the house site so much. From now on, everyone who passes by the Maison HF will be able to take fuller advantage of the seasonal display perpetuated by the members of the gardening club.

The closing work of 2022 was successfully completed long before the July 4 parade celebration and this year’s annual Apple Festival on Saturday, September 17. The all-volunteer Boxford Historical Society, which invites all city residents to join, sponsors, plans, organizes and conducts the Apple Festival as its only annual fundraiser. Proceeds from the Apple Festival, held on the third Saturday in September, are used to maintain the Holyoke-French House. For more information, visit

Contributed by Andrew Gori, Trustee, Boxford Historical Society

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