Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Salem End Road

Back in the roaring 20s and 30s, Salem End Road was where the wealthy people had their country estates. John Macomber was one of them with his rather extravagant Raceland.

Another notable Salem End Road squire was Charles Francis Adams, head of the First National Stores supermarket chain. He lived on Badger Road in a farm house that once belonged to John Clayes (was killed by lightning in 1777). He owned the Boston Bruins hockey team (built the Boston Garden for them) and the Boston Braves baseball team. His real passion was horse racing and with the (moral) support of his neighbor from across the street, John Macomber, he was instrumental in bringing pari-mutuel wagering to Massachusetts and a race track to Boston, Suffolk Downs (Seabiscuit raced there in the 30s). The John Clayes farm, called Wedgemere Farm by Adams, is now the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ at 1 Badger Road.

In 1937, the son of the President of United States, James Roosevelt, moved in the area. He and his wife, Betsey Cushing Roosevelt (daughter of Dr. Harvey Cushing), bought the 1828 Josiah Parker estate and some adjoining land that included the Sarah and Peter Clayes House (Sarah and Peter fled Salem at the time of the Witch Trials) and a good piece of today's Framingham Country Club golf course. The family that included two daughters lived there for 4 years. He sold the property in 1941. FDR never visited his son's estate but First Lady Eleanor did. The Roosevelt home was burnt down in 1977.

Frank Comerford, President of Boston Edison, lived in a large mansion across from Raceland, now the property of the Sons of Mary Missionary (567 Salem End Road), an order of the Catholic Church.

The Charles Adams (John Clayes) farm is to the right of the 'Badger Rd' text. The large and long building to the right is the Macomber mansion. Thanks to googlemaps.

A wide bird's eye view of the area around the old Roosevelt estate (not too sure of its boundaries). The green arrow indicates the location of the Sarah and Peter Clayes house at 657 Salem End Road. Not sure where the Josiah Parker house was located so if you know, let me know! Thanks to googlemaps.

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