Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492

6. the Davis Collins Mills House (945 Central Avenue)

A view of Central Avenue from near Bess Road, painted in the 1860s by local artist Timothy Newell Smith, shows the Davis Mills House and barn (far right), and the Whitney House to its left.  In the distance behind the trees are the Center Brick School, Revere Hall, and (at the far left edge) the Church.

Like the Whitney House next door, the Davis Mills house was built in the early part of the 19th century, at a time when residential building in the town center was beginning to accelerate.  This land, controlled by the Parish and only recently made available for building, was valued and prestigious – close by the Church and roads, in the center of town life.

Davis Mills was a butcher, and the large barn to the rear of the house held his livestock and shop. He also served the town as Selectman and Assessor.  He was one of three brothers; the other two – John Mills, and Matthias Mills – ran a profitable business making glue out of the remnants (bones, hides, hoofs) of brother Davis’ slaughterhouse.  All three brothers built their houses in this neighborhood around 1834, when they married, and all three houses are still standing – the Davis Mills House here; the John Mills House at 1479 Great Plain Avenue; and the Matthias Mills House, which was moved to 1147 Central Avenue as the Needham History Center & Museum.

Back to Map 1 – West of Needham Center

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