Historic House Marker Program
The Historic House Marker Program from the Dorchester Historical Society recognizes and celebrates the rich architectural heritage of Dorchester and Mattapan through a historic marker program for older homes in the community. Once DHS has determined that a property meets the criteria for recognition and its documentation has been confirmed through its house marker committee, the homeowner will be able to purchase an attractive oval marker to affix to their house. All deliberations and decisions regarding a house’s eligibility for a marker are confidential. The marker will include the year of construction*, the DHS name, and—if desired— the name of the architect, the original owner, or an owner or resident of documented historic significance. Whenever possible, the date of completion, as identified by an original building permit, building inspector’s report, or other primary source documentation, will be the date of construction we use to determine the date for a house marker.
To be considered for a marker, a house must have been built at least 100 years ago and must have essentially retained the integrity of its original design and construction. Additions and alterations would not necessarily be cause for exclusion. A house built less than 100 years ago would also be considered if it embodied the distinctive characteristics of a particular architectural style, or if a past occupant made a significant contribution to local, regional, or national history, culture, or the arts. A complete list of qualifications can be found here.
The Dorchester Historical Society offers individual house history research (click here for more information). Alternatively, homeowners may submit their own house research to DHS for consideration. Primary sources such as deeds, building permits, and architectural drawings are required in order to establish the history of a house and qualify it for a marker. Photos, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia relating to the house or its occupants can expand on its history but don’t replace the key documents.
The house markers measure 9 inches high by 14.75 inches wide, with a graceful cove molding at the edge, and cost $150. Made of weather-resistant PVC and painted a cream color with black lettering, the design is compatible with every style of house. Proceeds from the marker program will support the Society’s programming and conservation efforts. The marker program is completely voluntary and does not imply or impose any restrictions on the property.
*Year of construction will be considered the year of completion