South Natick, MA – Nauset Construction has completed the renovation and conversion of the 18th-century historic Peletiah Morse Tavern, while also constructing an attached 4,200sf addition that provides much-needed space for the middle school on the campus of the Riverbend School in Natick.
Originally built in 1748, the Morse Tavern once served as a residence, tavern, and stage stop for travelers on the Old Hartford Road, but will now house an admissions office, classrooms, multipurpose space, and a music instruction room.
Designed by Piatt Associates, the renovation included the installation of historically accurate replica windows and a hand-hewn front door, and the original wood beams were refurbished and left exposed. Original bricks from a nonworking interior chimney were repurposed to build a faux chimney on the exterior that was consistent with the tavern’s historic look.
The wood siding, trim, and masonry of the addition were designed to reflect the style of the original building and retain its historic character. Special care was taken to restore some of the features of the original structure, including exterior moldings and the entranceway.
During the selective demolition phase, a number of historic artifacts (shoes, tools, etc.) were discovered, which were turned over to the school and incorporated into a learning experience for the students.
Project challenges included the careful separation of the old addition from the adjoining tavern before dismantling it manually to make way for the new 4,200sf addition. Extra precautions were also taken to ensure the structural integrity of the historic tavern while excavating for the addition’s foundation.
“This project showcased two of Nauset Construction’s greatest strengths – executing safe and efficient construction practices while working in an occupied educational setting, and the thoughtful restoration and repurposing of historically significant structures,” said Nauset Construction President Anthony Papantonis.