Clayton Hubbard and Anita Woodward originally compiled The Princeton House File in the 1950’s. At that time there were approximately 325 houses in town. Anita researched many of the deeds while she and Clayton kept a record of ownership as the houses passed from one owner to another. The file was comprised of two identical sets of index cards, which also included records of cellar holes and houses no longer standing.
Anita Woodward was a member of the Princeton Historical Commission and she and Clayton Hubbard were both members of the Princeton Historical Society. One of their gifts to the successors of the Princeton Historical Commission and Princeton Historical Society was this original house file they began in the 1950’s.
Key: Since there were no street numbers in town at the time, the index cards were arranged numerically with the owners names listed on the cards. Joyce Anderson, a member of the Princeton Historical Commission, later updated the house file cards by identifying the houses and adding their corresponding addresses, as well as adding the historical map references. For example:
[1830 map J. Stratton], [1870 map E. Taylor], [1898 map Mrs. Taylor]
In 2006, Alex Fiandaca, also a member of the Princeton Historical Commission, began transcribing the original house file that was given to the Commission by entering it into a database. Joyce transcribed information from the 1830, 1857, 1870 and 1898 maps to identify ownership during those time periods. She also photographed all the houses built before 1956 to meet an inventory requirement for Massachusetts Historical Commission. These photographs were entered into the house file database along with vintage house photographs provided by the Princeton Historical Society.
Since 2006, the Historical Commission has researched numerous deeds, and seventy house plaques have been made to designate the original owner and date of construction for each house researched. The house file has been a valuable tool in this endeavor and has been updated accordingly with new information.
Updating the house file is an ongoing project. Although many of the house entries are not up to date, and many more houses have been built we would we like to share the information we have. By using the information and looking at the photographs hopefully you will be able to find the house you want to research. We hope you enjoy the Princeton House File and will find it helpful in learning more about the history of Princeton.
Member, Princeton Historical Commission and Board Member, Princeton Historical Society