Historical Society wins state preservation award

The Lemuel Clap house on Boston Street.

The statewide non-profit organization Massachusetts Preservation presented the Dorchester Historical Society (DHS) with an award last week for its restoration of the William Clapp and Lemuel Clap houses, a process that began in 2015 and was completed last year.

The preserved William Clapp house, originally built in 1806, serves as the Society’s headquarters on Boston Street, while the 17th century-era Lemuel Clap house serves as a house museum at the site. The Society’s property is also home to a mid-19th century barn and a late-19th century carriage house, which contains a number of historic agricultural and carpentry tools and implements.

Last year, a team of Society members and volunteers finished a three-year-long restoration process that included restoring the exterior of each building, applying fresh coats of historically accurate paint, and repairing fences.

In a letter, Massachusetts Preservation acknowledged the impact of the Dorchester Historical Society’s preservation work: “Every year, thousands of people - from school children to senior citizens - take part in Society activities that bring to life the fascinating history of Dorchester, the larger development of Boston, and the story of the growth of agriculture and, in particular, fruit cultivation and hybridization, in the region.”

DHS President Earl Taylor said that while the award is secondary to the work itself, he appreciated the gesture on behalf of Massachusetts Preservation.

“We definitely appreciate the award because it recognizes the whole action of planning, raising money, and overseeing the work, and it’s nice to be recognized for that,” said Taylor. “The goal of course was not to get an award but to get the project completed, but we’re happy to be acknowledged for our work.”