Roxbury Heritage State Park

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Roxbury Heritage State Park
Dillaway-Thomas House
Map showing the location of Roxbury Heritage State Park
Map showing the location of Roxbury Heritage State Park
Location in Massachusetts
Map showing the location of Roxbury Heritage State Park
Map showing the location of Roxbury Heritage State Park
Roxbury Heritage State Park (the United States)
LocationSuffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates42°19′49″N 71°5′26″W / 42.33028°N 71.09056°W / 42.33028; -71.09056Coordinates: 42°19′49″N 71°5′26″W / 42.33028°N 71.09056°W / 42.33028; -71.09056
Area3 acres (1.2 ha)[1]
OperatorMassachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
WebsiteRoxbury Heritage State Park

Roxbury Heritage State Park is a history-themed heritage park in the oldest part of Roxbury, a former town annexed in 1868 by Boston, Massachusetts.[2][3] It is anchored by the Dillaway–Thomas House, a large colonial structure built in 1750 and thought to be the oldest surviving house in Roxbury.[4][5] The location includes an adjacent 1-acre (0.40 ha) landscaped park with views of the Boston skyline,[4] and is part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.


1897 foundation stone of the Southwest Corridor viaduct, on display in the park

The heritage park is located in the John Eliot Square area of northern Roxbury, which was the site of the town center after its founding in 1630.[2] The Georgian-style home was built as a parsonage for Rev. Oliver Peabody, pastor of the First Church of Roxbury in 1750.[6] The house was later owned by Martha Dillaway and then John Thomas, an American commander in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.[6] While Thomas owned the house in 1776, cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in New York were transported by Henry Knox to Cambridge, Massachusetts and then through Roxbury on the way to forming the Fortification of Dorchester Heights, where they were used to force the evacuation of the British from Boston on March 17.[7] A marker commemorating the neighborhood as a stop on the Knox trail and signifying Thomas' role in ending the Siege of Boston was placed at the park in 2009.[8] The marker was the 57th placed to commemorate the Knox Expedition, and the first added since the string of monuments marking the trail was established in 1927.[9][10]

Dillaway Thomas House, July 1930

The house was first restored in the 1930s by a preservationist who also introduced some inaccurate fixtures in an effort to embellish its history.[5] After two fires in the 1970s, a state representative who was a former Roxbury resident successfully petitioned the legislature in 1984 for funding to restore the house and preserve it as a heritage park.[6] The following restoration was done leaving some spots showing levels of all previous work done to the house left exposed, creating a physical timeline of the architectural history of the house.[5] The completed house was opened to the public in 1992, and contains exhibits tracing periods of the history of Roxbury from the past to the present.[4][6]


  1. ^ "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Roxbury's History". Discover Roxbury. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "Boston's Neighborhoods: Roxbury". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "Roxbury Heritage State Park". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Campbell, Robert (May 20, 1993). "A window on the past: Inside Roxbury's Dillaway-Thomas House, an archeological approach to restoration lays bare a succession of style". The Boston Globe. Boston.
  6. ^ a b c d Coleman, Sandy (October 11, 1992). "Roxbury house reopens to tell of past, future". The Boston Globe. Boston.
  7. ^ "Celebrating the Knox Trail" (PDF). Evacuation Day Heritage Committee. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Knox Museum joins Evacuation Day celebration" (PDF). The Cannon. General Henry Knox Museum. Spring 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Miller, Yawu (March 19, 2009). "Roxbury role in Revolutionary War recognized with marker". Bay State Banner. Boston. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  10. ^ "Interpreting History: Installation of Interpretive Easel at Roxbury Knox Trail Marker". Evacuation Day Heritage Committee. Archived from the original on May 4, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2013.

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