The History of Filene’s Basement

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Winchester Public Library

Friends of the Winchester Public Library are sponsoring a showing of the film “Voices from the Basement”, a documentary by Michael Bavaro about Boston’s beloved 100-year-old icon – the original Filene’s Basement. The film is a journey back to a time when the American Dream was accessible to everyone who walked through the doors of The Basement. The Brahmins of Beacon Hill stood in line with the waitresses from Durgin Park with equal access to the same high-quality, discounted merchandise for which The Basement is best known worldwide.

The film is a collection of stories told by the people who worked and shopped in there. Celebrities, politicians, employees, and loyal shoppers share their passion for this landmark institution that has been one of Boston’s most visited tourist attractions for generations.

The history of Filene’s Basement is captured through newsreels, archival footage, vintage photographs and audio recordings. The founders, Edward and Lincoln Filene, were two of the leading retail pioneers who helped shape many of the social and economic paradigms that have made America great, from employee health care to the formation of credit unions.

Throughout the course of production, the producers were witness to history as it transpired. With the closing of the downtown store in 2007, they were there to capture it all. Sadly, this monument of commerce remains a gaping hole in the ground and in the hearts of millions. The film explores this social and political tragedy.

The producers of the film will be there to discuss the film afterwards. This program is made possible by a grant from the John & Mary Murphy Educational Foundation and is free and open to the public.

For more information, please view the listing on our EVENTS page or call organizer Jann Sheehy at 781-729-6096.

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New Year’s Eve at the Sanborn!

Celebrate the arrival of 2012

at the  first annual

New Year’s Eve Ball at the Sanborn

December 31, 2011 from 8:00p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center.

“Mr. and Mrs. Oren Sanborn” will greet their guests

at their Aigremont Estate

at 15 High Street in Winchester to celebrate New Year’s Eve

with an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing.

Harvest Catering of Wakefield will provide a seated dinner, with

musical accompaniment provided by the Mark Pucci Quartet.

Tickets are available at $200 per person and quantities are limited.

The event is black tie optional.

Come  for a lovely and lively evening of enjoyable

company to celebrate

the coming of the New Year right here in Winchester!

Additional contributions will benefit the “Turn up the Heat” Campaign

to upgrade the heating system and enable installation of air conditioning.

Call the Society at 781-721-0135 to purchase tickets or for more information
or visit on-line at



Category: Events, General · Tags:

The Sanborn: A Facelift!

Excitingly, we are in the final days of wrapping up the construction which has completely rejuvenated the exterior appearance of the Sanborn House. As we wind down our construction period, I thought I would take the opportunity to provide everyone with some updates on our progress here at the Sanborn House.

Sanborn House FacadeWe have completed the painting of the exterior woodwork, even down to the signpost out front. The brick and concrete front walkway has been completed, as has the restoration of the front columns. Perhaps most necessary has been our transition into accessibility: we now have lowered thresholds between the side and front entrances on the first floor, and an automatic door opener on our newly-installed front doors. (Speaking of the doors, take a close look at them the next time you visit the House, not only are they gorgeous, but they replicate the original front doors dating to 1907!). When you also consider the ramp next to the walkway and the handicapped-accessible bathroom currently being installed by the Winchester Department of Public Works, we have made great strides towards being equally inviting to all of our visitors.

Sanborn HouseI would like to take a moment to thank all of those that have made this project possible, from our new doors to our freshly painted trim to our brick and concrete walkway – all beautiful and historically accurate. Matt Genzale of Prism Builders and architect Karle Packard of Red Hawk Studios have been wonderful teammates in caring for the Sanborn during our period of restoration, as well as all of the subcontractors we have been fortunate to work with on the House. And absolutely nothing would have been possible without our local community organizations and individuals who have contributed their support to the Sanborn House restoration efforts. While there is still much to be done, we hope you will join us in celebrating our renewed appearance and visit us soon!

Category: Restoration · Tags:

Organizations Supporting the Sanborn House and Winchester Historical Society Programs

Featured Publication

Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures
by Ellen Knight

Look into the history of the Wright-Locke farm in a new 16-page booklet titled Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures. Read More.

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