SUDBURY For years, the Boston Post Road building that houses William Raveis Real Estate showed its age. To both office staff and residents passing by, it was obvious the 200-year-old structure was in poor shape.

“This is a prominent location in Sudbury,” said Todd Faber, strategic growth and sales manager at William Raveis Real Estate. “It sits at the second busiest intersection in town, and it was an eyesore, to say the least. Agents were embarrassed to have clients come in. William Raveis is a luxury real estate brand and we were not conveying that with our office.”

Now, thanks to significant restoration work, the 1820s building has been brought back to life, enabling the structure to continue its long history in town. Over the past few months, the building at 361 Boston Post Road (Route 20) has gone through major exterior and interior renovations the final touch, painting of the new siding, takes place this spring.

“Keeping houses preserved is very important; it adds a unique flare to the town,” said Sudbury Historical Society Executive Director Rachael Robinson. “If everything becomes cookie-cutter and homogenous, it can kind of feel too fake, in a lot of ways. Being able to preserve interesting architecture adds some diversity and some character to the town that people really enjoy.”

The building was next owned by members of the Goodnow family, prominent Sudbury residents for whom the town’s library is named. They lived there until 1921, when the home was purchased by another notable local family, the Bradshaws.

Forrest Bradshaw, a World War I veteran with the Balloon Observation Corp., ran a general store from the building, where, according to local legend, the clientele included none other than baseball great Babe Ruth, who had a home in Sudbury until 1926.

The Bradshaw General Store was in business until the mid-1960s, during which time it also served as the Town Clerk’s Office and the South Sudbury Post Office. The building was next a furniture store, and then in the 1990s opened as a real estate office, which it remains today.

The structure narrowly survived an accidental destruction in 1999 when Mill Village, a complex just 20 feet away, burned to the ground.

Respecting the building’s history

Faber said he has worked with the town’s Historic District Commission closely over the 10-month restoration period to make sure the historical character of the building was maintained.

In addition to a major renovation of the building’s interior, all windows were replaced with wood-framed units, the exterior wood clapboard was fully replaced, and the office was made ADA-accessible. Most was custom-made: only the new handicap ramp was pre-fabricated.

The Sudbury Historic Districts Commission has specific colors that can be used when painting historic buildings’ exteriors, but luckily for Faber, his company’s color scheme made choosing a color easy and unobjectionable: white.

“Raveis has a particular blue,” Faber said. “The black frames with the blue signs, the blue doors, the black gooseneck lights: those things combined will look so nice with the white, like an old farmhouse.”

Honoring past occupants

Faber’s team reached out to a retired librarian to help locate surviving members of the Bradshaw family. Faber then invited multiple grandchildren of Forrest Bradshaw from throughout the country to come to Sudbury for the building’s reopening celebration earlier this month.

“The real test will be when the Bradshaw family comes I hope they won’t be mad,” Faber said in advance of the opening. “They have not been in here for 50 or 60 years.

Sudbury artist Loring Coleman painted a watercolor of 361 Boston Post Road in 1940, a piece of art Faber received permission to digitize and recreate. A 24-by-36-inch framed replica hangs in the restored building’s lobby.

This painting served not only an aesthetic function in the finished product, but as a resource to check historical accuracy.

“It’s an original painting of what the house looked like, so they were able to call on that and see what changes needed to be made to bring it back,” Robinson said.

Faber is also hoping to have a plaque hung on the building’s front porch listing all of the different businesses and organizations that have called the building home during its 200-year history.

He said he’s thrilled with the end result of all his team’s work:

“For the past several months through the thoughtful and collective work of a handful of local residents, the building been brought back to life, serving as a catalyst to provide the local community the opportunity to learn about other important former residents such as Enoch Kidder and Forrest Bradshaw.”

   Neighboring Towns Menu