top of page

The history
of the Hadley House

Originally built in 1855, 169 Main street has been a longstanding Main Street landmark. The home now lovingly coined “Hadley House” is named after Frank Hadley who left the property to his daughter Phoebe Hadley. Phoebe lived in the home with her husband Dr. John Robinson, a Civil War surgeon. The property, when acquired by Jeff Novack in 2021, sat on its original stone and concrete foundation, was located in the front left corner of the large lot, and was positioned so the front door did not face the street.

The Vision

Purchased in 2021, developer Jeff Novack had a clear vision for the home at 169 Main Street in Wenham. He was drawn to the Second Empire home with its unique mansard roof and beautiful large windows and absolutely fell in love with the large, picturesque parcel of land. He set out with care and commitment to make the home as grand as it had once been by creating a masterplan for the property and assembled a top notch development team to help put his plan into action. The development team worked with Wenham’s Historic District Commission’s support the move of the house (it was lifted and moved into the center of the lot and back from the street, then pivoted 90 degrees to have the front door face Main Street) and to design a garage in a carriage house style to be set back from the original house to somewhat replicate the look of a detached barn from the 1800’s. While a garage is a modern convenience, the structure was designed with seamless integration of the original history and design of the house so that it blends well with the architectural line of the home while also allowing the wrap-around porch to be prominent. The interior of the home will be an absolute show stopper. It will be completely renovated with a new foundation, roof, windows, framing, all new mechanical systems, and an additional 1000 square feet will be added at the rear of the home in two stories. The ultimate goal will be to bring this home up to current building and structural code and restore it to the beauty it once possessed. The home is being restored with replicated historic detail in the architecture including the historic windows, wooden corbels, working wooden shutters as well as the wrap-around porch with cottage detailing as seen in historic photos.

Restoration & 

Renovation

Grand homes are created in the details. The details of craftsmanship, of stability, of history and of beauty are all found at 169 Main Street. Here are some of those details…. Location: Eric Gjerde, the Architect and an avid historic researcher, found clear evidence that the home was originally situated on the lot facing the street as it is now! The 1872 Atlas of Essex County has a map of Wenham, plate 95, produced by D. G. Beers that shows properties and owners. If you look closely at the 1856 or more specifically, the 1872 map, the home looks like the long axis is facing towards the street with the bay in the back with two barns. Taking this into account and upon inspection and structural review of the original foundation it was determined to be in disrepair and failing. The development team lifted the home and situated it 90 degrees to face the street onto a new concrete foundation poured to support the structure properly to ensure longevity and stability.. Porch: Eric also discovered many historic photos of the home that detailed a beautiful wrap around porch that was once a part of the home. In the restoration, the Victorian Folk details are being replicated on the covered wrap-around porch, which were not typical in Second Empire homes but a popular design feature added usually in the late 1800's -1880's. People loved the Victorian detailing and most designs today are eclectic variations in both the Second Empire and Victorian styles.The attached “History of Wenham (link to the document)” has many interesting facts regarding the Wenham Historic District and the 169 Main St. property. Carriage House: The development team worked with Wenham’s Historic District Commission’s support to design a garage in a carriage house style to be set back from the original house to somewhat replicate the look of a detached barn from the 1800’s. A garage is a modern convenience but the structure was designed with seamless integration of the original house to the addition so it blended well with the architectural line of the home while also allowing the wrap-around porch to be prominent.

bottom of page