T H E Y S AV E H O U S E S , D O N ’ T T H E Y ? The year 1999 would prove to be a busy one for the MCC Foundation on two fronts: In addition to kicking off its Celebrity Forum series, the Foundation acquired a property known locally as the Stoker House on Concord Road in Billerica. The acquisition happened after a group of concerned Billerica residents approached the town to voice their fears that an historic farmhouse was going to be razed to make way for another parking lot for the nearby industrial park. Aware that Middlesex had saved and restored a historic property in Lowell – the Nesmith House – state agencies approached President Cowan and asked if Middlesex, via the MCC Foundation, would consider preserving the property. The Foundation said yes. The property was originally owned by the Hill family in the 1600s and fell into disrepair in the late 1700s. Susan Dodge Adams of Charlestown, Massachusetts, acquired the homestead in the 1830s and the farmhouse was built in the 1850s. The home’s intricate woodwork, columns, and mantles were Adams’ touch. She was the sister-in-law of the famous clipper-ship Captain Charles Ranlett. After Adams’ death, Mary Boyden inhabited the homestead, until around 1885. She was followed by Edith and Frederick Stearns, and then, in 1945, Ralph and Claire Stoker. Ralph Stoker was a coppersmith, his wife Claire, a housewife and a charter member of the Billerica Industrial Commission. The Stokers were technically the house’s last residential occupants, living there until the early 1960s when they turned it over to the Honeywell Corporation, which used it for corporate meetings until the 1980s. It then lay abandoned, until Middlesex acquired the property more than a decade later. 94 The Middlesex Meetinghouse on Concord Road in Billerica, near the college’s Bedford campus. ▲