This 18th century timber frame house known as “The Oaks” was completed in about 1778 for loyalist judge Timothy Paine. Paine’s estate originally consisted of 230+/- acres of farmland, which extended along both sides of Lincoln Street, then the main route from Worcester to Boston. It was adjoined on the east and west, respectively, by the extensive Salisbury and Green estates.
Following Timothy Paine’s death in 1793, his eldest son, Dr. William Paine, returned to Worcester, to reside at “The Oaks” and to put his efforts into farming and gardening. William died in 1833. Shortly afterward, in 1836, his son, Frederic William Paine, remodeled and enlarged the house that brought it more or less to its current shape and size. At the time Frederic took over the property, the farm complex consisted of the main house, a carriage house, a chaise house, a two-story barn, other out-houses, a corn chamber, and an ice house.
Originally oriented to face the sun, the main façade of the house had faced south, rather than toward the road – an arrangement not unusual for its 18th century period of construction. Frederic’s remodeling was apparently responsible for changing the orientation. The street-facing east side of the house became the main façade, while the original south-facing façade, still little changed and recognizable today by its Georgian style features, became the “garden front.”
It was during Frederic’s tenure that the farm and gardens were at their peak, both in size and production. After his death in 1869, the acreage of the property gradually decreased. In fact, the 1870 Worcester Atlas shows that already by that date the family had begun to subdivide the estate to be sold off as housing lots. Frederic’s widow, Ann Cushing (Sturgis) Paine, continued to live at “The Oaks” until her death in 1892, while the much smaller estate acquired a much more urban setting.
“The Oaks” remained unoccupied from 1892 until it was sold in 1914 to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Since that time, it has served as the headquarters of the Colonel Timothy Bigelow Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Situated today on a one-acre lot, the Paine house is set on a slight downward slope about 100 yards from Lincoln Street.The current main façade faces eastward onto Lincoln Street with an unpaved circular driveway in front. Although the house preserves it historic features, none of the outbuildings that existed during the tenure of Frederic William Paine survive and the area where his garden was located is no longer maintained as a garden.