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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Lyman Estate

Our wedding took place outdoors in the Gardens of the Vale, at the Lyman Estate. Here is a little history about this beautiful site: In 1793, Boston merchant Theodore Lyman and his wife Lydia purchased land in Waltham for their country estate. The Lymans hired the prominent Salem architect Thomas McIntire to design their mansion. The Lyman Estate, also known as the Vale, was completed in 1798 in the Federal style. The elaborate 24 room summer mansion represents a lifestyle that has all but vanished. The grand ballroom, with its high ceiling, decorative frieze, large windows, and marble fireplace, was the center of Lyman family entertainment for more than 150 years. The more intimate oval room was used for smaller family gatherings.

The beautiful grounds of the Lyman Estate included a deer park, ponds, greenhouses, and flowing lawns. The earliest greenhouse was constructed before 1800 and is thought to be the oldest in the United States. The family donated the Vale to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, which continues to operate the estate and its greenhouses. In 1974, Theodore Lyman Storer, grandson of Robert Treat Paine, gave the Paine House with acreage to the City of Waltham.The Robert Treat Paine House has been meticulously restored by the city to its original condition.

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