A Page from North Quabbin History: Dollhouse replicates historical Iversen home in Warwick

  • A picture of the Iversen House on Hastings Heights Road, kept on record at the Warwick Historical Society. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/WARWICK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

  • Left, a southern view of the Iversen House on Hastings Heights Road in Warwick, pictured in 1931. Right, Arthur Iversen stands in front of his home. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/WARWICK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

For the Recorder
Published: 12/19/2022 5:27:50 PM
Modified: 12/19/2022 5:25:04 PM

This is the season of toy trains, dollhouses and other Christmas dreams. The Warwick Historical Society houses one very special dollhouse owned by Myra Iversen, made for her by her husband, Arthur.

The dollhouse is an exact replica of the actual Iversen home on Hastings Heights Road in town, built in 1795 and still in existence. Myra Iversen and her husband, against her father’s advice, bought the 13-room house for $2,000 in the early 1930s, according to an article by Larry Carey in “A History of Warwick in 15 Objects,” cited by Clare Green of the Warwick Historical Society.

“They continued to live in Connecticut and spent summer vacations in Warwick,” said Laurette Crane, who now owns the Iversen home with her husband, John Bradford.

Arthur Iversen built the dollhouse version of their home to please his wife.

“He was happy to do it since he was a wood craftsman,” Green said.

The dollhouse has 13 rooms, like the full-size home. He made authentic miniature furnishings, according to Green. Many of the details of the house were replicated in the dollhouse, Crane explained.

“He tried to replicate the wallpaper. He duplicated the correct number of windows as well as the siding on the building,” Crane said.

After 40 years of vacationing in their Warwick house, the Iversens moved there full-time from Connecticut in the 1970s, Green continued.

“Myra would give house tours and also let folks see her prized possession of the dollhouse,” she said.

Arthur Iversen died in 1983, after living full-time in Warwick for about 12 years, according to the article cited by Green. Myra lived alone at the home for a while, then returned to Connecticut where she lived her remaining years until the late 1990s.

“That dollhouse was her pride and joy, traveling back with her when she moved back to Connecticut,” Green said. “She was so pleased to find a home for it with Warwick Historical Society before she died.”

Crane believes the Iversen home was originally built by the Hastings family. At one time, she continued, Sylvanus and Anna Ward also lived there with their children. They and several of their children died during the smallpox epidemic of 1870-1874. The family is buried in a smallpox cemetery that borders the property. The barn was also damaged during the 1938 hurricane, when the storm tore the roof off. It was replaced soon after.

The Iversen home originally sat on 95 acres, with the Iversens donating a large portion of the land to the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust to create the Arthur Iversen Conservation Area in town. Crane and Bradford originally moved to Warwick from Natick, purchasing the Iversen home in March 2013.

“We were looking for a home with more land so I could have a vegetable garden. My husband Googled farms and land for sale and this house in Warwick came up,” Crane recounted. “It looked interesting. He came to me to show it to me on Dec. 1, my birthday.”

Crane and Bradford are now completing renovations. So far they have rebuilt the barn and repointed the old chimneys, which were built in 1925. They also had the roof replaced.

Of the renovations, Crane said, “When we looked at the house, we had a 10-year plan. When we signed the papers, we had a 20-year plan in mind. Now we think it may just take the rest of our lives.” She noted they would love to hold an open house at some point once they are further along with renovations.

The Warwick Historical Society at 6 Athol Road is closed for the season. More information on the society can be found at history.town.warwick.ma.us. The book “A History of Warwick in 15 Objects” can be purchased for $5 from Warwick Historical Society members or at the society when it reopens in July 2023.

Carla Charter is a freelance writer from Phillipston. Her writing focuses on the history of the North Quabbin area. Contact her at cjfreelancewriter@earthlink.net.


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