A century ago this year, Mary Beecher Longyear purchased and began restoring three homes that had once sheltered the Discoverer of Christian Science — in Rumney and North Groton, New Hampshire, and in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Two years later, she purchased a fourth home, in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and over the decades four more houses were added to the Longyear collection. Today, these eight Mary Baker Eddy Historic Houses trace Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual journey, offering visitors deeper insights into her remarkable life.
In 1920, when Mrs. Longyear purchased her first Mary Baker Eddy Historic House in Rumney, the field of historic preservation was barely the spark of an idea. Colonial Williamsburg would not be founded until 1926; the United States National Archive would not be established until 1934; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation would not be launched until 1949.
Mrs. Longyear’s gratitude and love for Christian Science and its Founder motivated her preservation efforts, but she had few professional resources to guide her as she embarked on saving some of the places Mrs. Eddy had once called home.
Today, Longyear is able to work with a wide range of preservation specialists, who are training and mentoring our staff. Modern technologies and professional restoration and maintenance practices are being applied to each of the historic houses. It’s time-consuming, detailed, costly work. But it is necessary if we are to preserve these homes for the next hundred years and beyond, so that they can continue to share Mrs. Eddy’s story with future generations.
Now, as we enter the second century of care for these homes, the participation of our members and friends is vital. Your support is what enables us to preserve these important historic sites for generations to come. We can’t accomplish this without you. Please consider a gift to the Mary Baker Eddy Historic House Fund today. Thank you!