The Mystery Lady of Route 27
Photo from The Mystery of Medfield's 'Lady of Route 27' by Richard DeSorgher:
For 61 years she has stood guard over Spring Street and Route 27. Except for a brief move to the property behind the Sewer Treatment Plant off Bridge Street in 1990-1991, she has constantly observed the travelers heading north on Route 27.
She has no official name, she is uniquely Medfield and she remains a mystery in the conversations people have while driving by; “Who is that a statue of?” “Is she a famous Medfield person?" “Why is she located there on the former Kingsbury Homestead property?” “Was she a Kingsbury?”
She clearly remains the most visible Medfield mystery. The above description is, of course, referring to the statue that sits on the knoll above Preservation Way, on the side of Spring Street and Route 27 and across from Kingsbury Pond. What is the story behind the majestic lady that looks out inquisitively from her stone perch, always watching and waiting year after year?
Photo of Kingsbury Homestead 1931 from Mildred Phelps Berry private collection
The story begins in 1950 when Amos Clark Kingsbury, owner of the Kingsbury Homestead and antique shop on 145 Spring St., notices the statue sitting high above a granite quarry while visiting the town of Addison, Maine.
Addison, Maine is located in Down East Maine’s Washington County. Addison was known for shipbuilding and quarrying. There were 83 vessels built there between 1800 and 1900 and four major granite quarries in operation. By 1958 both industries had disappeared and with the closing of the last quarry, the population reached a low point of 744. Right away Amos took a liking to the statue.
“It resembles my mother (Lillian Phelps Kingsbury),” he exclaimed. Purchasing the statue, he had it moved from high above the Addison Quarry to his property in Medfield. Who was the lady turned statue? Why was she placed overlooking the quarry in Addison, Maine? This we will never know. Once she arrived in Medfield, she was placed outside the antique shop, which in earlier times, was the homestead’s slaughter house.
Amos Clark Kingsbury was a Medfield native and graduate of the Medfield High School Class of 1916. During WWI he served in the U.S. Marines, American Expeditionary Force, and fought in literally all the major battles in France. Returning home after the war, he became a charter member of Beckwith Post 110, American Legion.
After the death of his parents he inherited the family 75-acre Homestead on 145 Spring St. Here he founded the Medfield School of Art, which was located in the main barn. The School later became the Medfield Art Galleries, an early forerunner resembling today’s Zullo Gallery. It attracted artists and crowds from throughout New England. Kingsbury also served the Town of Medfield for 35 years as our tax collector. He married Blanche Marcionette on June 25, 1955. Diagnosed with cancer, he died on Dec. 15, 1955. Blanche continued to run the homestead and now antique shop until her death on March 15, 1987.
With the marriage to Blanche Marcionette, the property left the hands of the Kingsbury family and having no children, her nephew Phil Ford inherited the homestead. The property was subdivided, with the Town of Medfield buying Kingsbury Pond and developer Ralph Costello the land and homestead across from the pond.
In 1990 Ford then donated the statue to the Town of Medfield and it was moved to the rear of the Sewer Treatment Plant waiting the town’s decision as to its next location. However, developer Costello told the town that he would welcome the statue back on the land and would donate the land the statue stands on to the town so that it would remain public property. It is today the only statue owned by the citizens of Medfield and it continues to look out over Rt. 27, watching and waiting, as it has for the past 61 years.