Historic House on the Market after Two-Plus Years of Restoration

June 4, 2024
The outside of the Timothy Jones house at 232 Concord Rd. looks a lot like it did in the 18th century. Courtesy photo

It’s not clear why, but Timothy Jones appears to have been an important resident of Bedford during the last quarter of the 18th century. That’s especially apparent when one beholds his residence at 231 Concord Rd. that one expert more than 200 years later called “architecturally very significant.”     

It still is – inside and out.

After more than two years of renovation and restoration, the 10-room, 3377-square-foot house is on the market for about $1.8 million. Mimi Henning, licensed realtor with the Barrett Sotheby’s agency, hosted an open house on Thursday for people she hopes are prospective buyers. 

Henning calls it “a new house with its old charm.” Jones would recognize his old residence instantly – from the outside. The interior has been transformed to modernity, with enough remnants of the original – some exposed beams, windows, detailing, an oval porcelain tub – to sustain an historic motif.

Henning said the owner invested more than $1 million in design and construction.

The building has been called the Colonel Timothy Jones House for some time. It has its own Wikipedia entry. 

Kathleen Kelly Broomer, architectural historian, cited the “high-style Georgian dwelling” in her 1998 “Community-Wide Historic Properties Survey.” The house was built during or shortly after 1775, depending on which local history you consult.

“It was a superior house of that day,” wrote late 19th-century author Abram English Brown. 

Realistically, Henning pointed out, a colonial-era house with structural limitations and amenities is not widely desirable. 

“You can admire it, but we have to sell it,” she said. The Timothy Jones house provides contemporary living in a shell that “preserved the history.” The most frequent comment Henning hears from visitors is “This exceeded my expectations.

“Look how much light this house gets,” said the realtor, noting that it faces south with many large windows. Jones, Henning observed, “was so ahead of his time because the ceilings are so high, even in the basement,” not common in colonial-era houses. That facilitated installation of 21st century recessed lighting. 

The most dramatic interior feature is a sweeping open-floor arrangement that incorporates an eat-in kitchen, and dining, family, and sitting rooms with a couple of original beams, but without walls. This space encompasses the entire north side of the first floor. There were several fireplaces in the original house and their vestiges remain, but the giant one in that living room is a working feature. 

“They moved staircases, restored the old windows,” said Henning, adding screens and storm windows. “The beautiful pine floors were warped and damaged,” and they were all replaced with pine. There are window seats along many of the walls.

This is the back of the Timothy Jones house as it is today. Courtesy photo

The original house had four second-story bedrooms; the restoration moved one of them to the attic, and expanded the “primary suite.” Each bedroom has its own bathroom and now there’s an upstairs laundry room.

On either side of the main entrance are two rooms that have been set up as a dining room and a home office. The builders added a 400-square-foot kitchen expansion and an entrance hall – labeled a “mud room” – and a small bathroom just inside the east door. Now there’s also a finished basement, accommodating central air-conditioning.

The original owner, Timothy Jones, was born in 1748, and although there’s no record of elective office, he was involved in town affairs during tumultuous times. Various histories refer to him as second lieutenant in the Bedford Minuteman Company and later as a colonel, though what he was a colonel of is not explained. He may have been a lawyer – his listing for the Old Burying Ground, where he was laid to rest in 1803, says Timothy Jones, Esq.

Jones married the former Rebecca Putnam and they had nine children, which helps explain the large house. The building also was the home of Caesar Jones, one of three enslaved African-American residents who saw military action in the early days of the Revolution. In her 1973 Bedford history “Wilderness Town,” Louise Brown wrote that Caesar Jones was freed before joining the skirmish of April 19, 1775.

The most recent resident, Ann Seamans, was a member of the Historic Preservation Commission and operated a bed-and-breakfast in the historic house. Seamans, who died early in 2021, worked to have her house listed in the “National Register of Historic Places,” and later that year those efforts succeeded.

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