Framingham Online News

DPW Head Wants Nobscot Chapel Land to Improve Road

November 10, 2011 (9:59 pm EST)
Filed under: Uncategorized by Randy Harris
Nobscot Chapel viewed from Edgell Rd. heading north into intersection.

Nobscot Chapel viewed from Edgell Rd. approaching intersection at Water St. and Edmands Rd. (photo taken Sept. 2011)

FRAMINGHAM, MA - At a Board of Selectmen Meeting on Tuesday November 8, 2011, Framingham Department of Public Works Director Peter Sellers asked Selectmen to postpone any plan to auction off the Nobscot Union Chapel which was recently taken by the town due to unpaid water bills.

Sellers presented a plan to round off the corner of Edgell Road and Water Street where the Nobscot Chapel is located.

Sellers reported that rounding out the final corner of the busy intersection would improve visibility, safety and traffic flow, and noted that the three other corners that make up Nobscot's main intersection have been rounded in the same manner he's proposing.

Sellers claimed that the chapel is not a historic building, although a sign bearing the words "Fram. Hist. Com." is affixed to Chapel identifying which identifies as being built in 1885.

Sign on Nobscot Chapel (built c.1885)

Framingham Historical Commission sign on Nobscot Union Chapel lists building as built circa 1885.

The sign was placed by the Framingham Historical Commission which at one time saw fit to mark the property -- but as it's not within a historic district, or listed with the National Register of Historic Places it is not "technically" a historic building.

At the meeting, for some reason Framingham Chief Financial Officer Maryellen Kelly also reported to the BOS that the building was not historic.

Sellers claimed that as the town now owns the property, it will save approximately $15,000 that would otherwise need to paid to a private owner for the land needed to round off the corner.

Intersection of Edgell Rd., Water St. and Edmands Rd., Nobscot area of Framingham, MA

Aerial view of Nobscot intersection shows three corners rounded off, while corner in front of Nobscot Union Chapel has not been. (Click for Google Map)

When asked, Town of Framingham Treasurer/Collector Steve Price reported to the board that the only current cost to keep the building is a $1,500 annual fee for insurance on the property.

As discussion continued, Sellers stated that the building is in need of repairs and that the foundation of the building is in bad shape.

Selectmen apparently concuring with Sellers on the plan to round off the corner, briefly discussed possible uses for the remainder of the property.

Some of the ideas included razing the building or possibly moving the Chapel to another location and using the land as open space or a public park, and looking into incorporating the parcel in future development plans for the Nobscot Shopping Center.

Nobscot Union Chapel (photo, summer 2011)

Nobscot Union Chapel, view from corner of Edgell Rd and Edmands Rd, (photo taken Sept. 2011)

When the chapel was taken by the town, the windows were boarded up to secure the property.

The contractor who did the board-up also placed signs with their company name on some of the plywood sheets.

After being boarded up, the sheets of plywood covering the windows were painted white to make the building look better, but Selectmen Laurie Lee commented that building is now somewhat of an eyesore and deteriorates the look of the Nobscot neighborhood.

Lee asked that town workers now remove the contractor's signs, and she and Selectman Charlie Sisitsky discussed the possibility of hiring someone with artistic ability to paint faux windows on the plywood so the building would look better while its fate is being decided.

Selectmen asked that further planning and discussion take place and recommended the Framingham Community and Economic Development Corporation be involved.

Sellers reported that he could complete plans for the road improvements by the spring, and noted that Town Meeting would need to approve any plan.


  1. Before the foreclosure action was complete, a thorough inspection of the property was conducted by a professional licensed property inspector. The inspection revealed that the building was structurally sound in all respects, including the roof and the foundation.

    While it is true that the building is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has historic value to the Village of Nobscot and the Town of Framingham. In fact, given the visibility of the Chapel on the busy corner, and the fact that that is its original location, it has unique significance which should not be dispensed with lightly.

    Comment by Steve Meltzer — November 11, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  2. Hi Steve,

    Glad to have someone “in the know” commenting about the property. I’ve always thought it was a great little building, and if it was used would help keep the old New England charm of Nobscot — but the fact is, nobody has found the building worthwhile enough to even do the upkeep, or use it for anything for many years.

    I applaud the DPW for taking the initiative to look ahead and bring a plan forward to round off that corner. I do believe it will make traffic flow better, improve the ability of DPW to plow snow through the intersection, and make the intersection safer. (There have been a few fatalities near the intersection over the years). Maybe someone will dig up traffic stats to see how many accidents have occured there, and if it’s in line with similar intersections.

    Anyway, as soon as I heard Mr. Sellers present the idea, my first thought was that his comment that foundation was bad was just to bolster the case to tear down the building. Yes, you can visibly see some mortar missing on the foundation, but probably nothing that can’t be repointed.

    If the decision were left up to me, I would approve moving the building to the lot that is supposed to be a “park” where the old Nobscot Hall burnt down — it’s only a few hundred feet away on the opposite side of Edgell Rd. Then I’d round off the corner as Mr. Sellers suggests and leave the remainder of the (current) Nobscot Chapel lot as open space — maybe with a few park benches and some landscaping.

    The visibility approaching the intersection on Edgell Rd. (headed north), would be so much better — as would visibility for those on Water St. about to turn left (south) onto Edgell Rd if that lot was clear.

    Just my $0.02… If the Chapel can stay where it is, I think it would make a great location for an antique shop.

    Comment by Randy Harris — November 11, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  3. I agree with Mr Harris. Moving the Chaple to the current Park would preserve the building (in a more appropriate setting may I add) and improve the traffic flow at that very busy intersection

    Comment by Quinna Giebelhaus — November 12, 2011 @ 6:53 am

  4. 100% support the idea of moving the building and improving the intersection, it really needs it. I also support leaving the space as simply open property, town owned, maybe a bench and some nice tree/landscape.

    Comment by Edgar — November 13, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

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