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Kent Cottage rescued at last?

Kent Cottage, Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington MA
Kent Cottage, Middlesex Turnpike. Robert Fahey photo.

Could the stone maiden come back to life? Nordblom Company has owned this Middlesex Turnpike curiosity, former home of a Pulitzer prize-winning author, for many years and has dutifully kept it intact while looking for suitors.

Alas, the rehab cost (at least $1.5M) always scares suitors away. Who wants a high-maintenance bride? Office space would max out at 2,500 sq. ft., not worth the effort. And retail would struggle because wetlands limit parking to 40 spaces.

So the company might turn the cottage into a pair of townhouses and also build adjacent condos, with the proceeds from the condos paying for the  makeover. The company shared these renderings with the Planning Board and Burlington Retro.

Kent Cottage concept by Nordblom
Kent Cottage concept by Nordblom
Kent Cottage site plan by Nordblom
Kent Cottage site plan by Nordblom

It’s merely a concept. Any formal proposal would have to navigate an array of town boards, each with its own inputs, so everything you see could change substantially — but it’s a start. Just getting Kent Cottage to “blend in” is a small miracle, since nothing else in town looks anything like this 1850 English-style stone cottage with its clipped gable roof.

Burlington Retro has already published an extensive photographic history of Kent Cottage, including a tour by its sole survivor. The article covers John Kent (the Charlestown brewery magnate who built the place) all the way to the Burns family (the last residents).

Next step in the revival plan? Getting the property re-zoned for residential use. Yes, somehow a house that has stood its ground for 171 years needs new permission to be a house.

4 thoughts on “Kent Cottage rescued at last? Leave a comment

  1. So sad and greedy that more Kent land isn’t being conserved, shameful!!!

  2. Great news, worked at RCA for 30 yrs, and always hoped it could be salvaged. After the fire it seemed doomed. Thanks for the update .

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