While efforts to save the Toll House, the 1½-story cape house at 123 Main St. in Hopkinton that played a major role in the old Central Turnpike were not successful, Wayne Mezitt of Nurseries has now made it possible for the site where it was located to be preserved.
From 1830 to 1836, a toll collector lived in the house and collected payment from carriages and horses using the road. Located on property that was owned by Weston Nurseries, but needed for parking when previously owned land used for parking was part of the sale of Legacy Farms, the future of the Toll House was uncertain.
“More than 10 years ago we realized that continuing to properly maintain the Toll House was not a reasonable expenditure for our business,” said Mezitt when asked what inspired him to preserve the site. “We appreciated the significance of this structure and were very concerned about losing its historical value.”
Attempts were made to move the structure and professional help was called in to analyze the possibilities for repair, relocation, and re-purposing, but Mezitt said the only realistic option was to demolish it.
“By then it was abandoned and in dangerous condition with a leaking roof, windows and doors in need of repair, and it was being vandalized,” said Mezitt.
Faced with having to demolish the building, Mezitt’s wife, Beth and his son, Peter encouraged him to discuss the demolition plans with the Hopkinton Historical Society and the Hopkinton Historic Commission.
“That process involved numerous discussions and site visits, eventually resulting in our agreement to maintain the ‘footprint’ of the foundation as an open area,” said Mezitt.
In 2016, the Toll House was razed and the foundation retained. In addition, many of the old wooden beams were put aside to be preserved. The cellar area has been filled in and many of the non-foundation stones were replaced to outline the area where the house once stood. A plaque was installed across the road during sidewalk construction across Route and Mezitt said it is his understanding that it will remain there as a permanent marker.
More history about the Toll House is available online at in a story by Cathy Buday at https://hpkmam.wixsite.com/hopkintonma300/single-post/2016/07/22/Historic-toll-house-faces-uncertain-future.