The house at 24 Cochituate Road in Wayland was built in 1816 by Dr. Ebenezer Ames. Born in Marlborough, Dr. Ames came to town (then called East Sudbury) in 1814, the same year he married Lucy Weeks. He had an extensive practice as a physician until his death in 1861. From 1831 to 1875, the house was the residence of Judge Edward Mellen, who was made Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas in 1855. Judge Mellen’s old law office still stands across the street.
The house at 43 Cochituate Road in Wayland was built in 1866 by Edward Pousland, a retired sea captain. It was acquired in 1907 by Jonathan Maynard Parmenter, a wealthy farmer, cattle dealer and generous local philanthropist, who donated it to the the First Parish in Wayland as a parsonage in memory of his brother and business partner, Henry Dana Parmenter. In 1955, the house was converted to become a parish house.
The history of the Wayland Free Public Library goes back to 1848, making it the first free public library in Massachusetts. Starting in 1850, the library was located in the old Town Hall building (now used as offices). In 1879, the library moved to the new town hall, until the current library building was completed in 1900. The land and funds for the building were provided by Warren G. Roby, a Wayland resident. The brick library was designed by Weston architect, Samuel W. Mead, and the structure displays his interest in Roman architecture and Renaissance sculpture. The architectural firm of Cabot, Everett and Mead also designed the library in Arlington. The library was expanded and renovated in 1987-1988.
Proceedings at the Dedication of the Town Hall, Wayland, December 24, 1878; with Brief Historical Sketches of Public Buildings and Libraries, Vol. 1, (1879), contains the following about the building of the Old Town Hall of Wayland:
In 1840, the common land on which the old meeting-house had stood having been sold in the mean time to Dea[con] James Draper, he proposed to erect a new building on a part of the same, for the use of the town, to contain a town-hall, a school-room, with anterooms, etc., for the sum of seventeen hundred dollars. His proposal was accepted, and the building was first occupied for town meetings Nov. 8, 1841. Subsequently the hall was used also for an academy, under Rev. L. P. Frost. The library occupied a part of the lower floor, and for this and other public uses it served the town until the erection of the new building in 1878.
The new building was located across the street. The Old Town Hall later served as a grocery store and today houses offices.
Located on a green in the center of Wayland is the Mellen Law Office. It was built in 1826 by Samuel Hale Mann, who only practiced law there for four years before ill health forced him to sell it (and his house across the street) to Edward Mellen, who eventually became chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Worcester. The office housed many other offices and businesses over the years, all the while remaining in the possession of the Mellen family. In 1971, it was donated to the town and is maintained by the Wayland Historical Society.
When Wayland’s 1725 First Parish meetinghouse was taken down, in 1814-1815, to make way for a new church, materials from the old building were used to construct a house and store just to the east. Originally known as the Old Green Store, it has a hipped roof and a second-floor meeting hall, which was used by the town from 1815 to 1845. This hall was constructed as part of the builders’ deal to get the old meetinghouse’s beams and timbers in exchange for letting the town use the hall for thirty years. In 1825, when the First Parish church was split between Calvinists and Unitarians, Rev. Lyman Beecher held a series of meetings in the hall to denounce the Unitarians. In 1849, choir members used the meeting room to rehearse the new hymn by Rev. Edmund Sears, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” The house was later converted into a summer residence, named Kirkside, by William Bullard, a wealthy Cambridge banker, in 1889. He expanded and updated the house to the Colonial Revival style and placed elaborate French wallpaper in the meeting hall/ballroom. In 1920, the house was purchased by William C. Loring, an artist who taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, and his wife, Mildred Loring, an antiques dealer, who used the meeting hall as her sales room. The restoration of the house by its current owners, in 1991, was featured on the PBS television program, This Old House.
Sudbury was first settled in 1640 and successive meeting houses for the community were built, east of the Sudbury River, in 1642, 1652, 1682 and 1725. In 1780, the section of town west of the river separated from the eastern section, which was at first called East Sudbury and, from 1835, Wayland. The 1725 meeting house was replaced, in 1814-1815, by the current Federal-style church, built by Andrew Palmer of Newburyport to a design by Asher Benjamin. The church bell was cast by the foundry of Paul Revere and Son. The church became Unitarian in 1825, during the ministry of Reverend John Burt Wight. In 1850, the interior of the church was altered to to create a two-story plan, with an auditorium on the second floor. While he was minister at First Parish in Wayland, Reverend Edmund Hamilton Sears composed the Christmas hymn, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.”