Glen Magna Farms is owned by the Danvers Historical Society, a private not-for-profit, founded in 1889 “to discover, collect and preserve objects which illustrate local history, but particularly the history and development of the Town of Danvers.” The Society owns three historic sites, a museum and office building and is steward of the Endicott Burial Ground.
Glen Magna Farms, survives unrivaled as an estate exemplifying historic North Shore summer living. It typifies the golden age of American gardens when eclecticism and historicism dominated landscape as well as architecture.
During the War of 1812, Joseph Peabody, the wealthiest Salem shipping merchant of his day, bought a twenty acre Danvers property with a dwelling house described as “in every respect well calculated for a gentleman’s seat.” From this initial twenty acre purchase the property grew to over three hundred and thirty acres, enduring as the summer retreat for the family for one hundred and forty-four years.
By 1892 the property belonged to Ellen Peabody Endicott, Joseph Peabody’s granddaughter, who further enlarged and embellished the house and grounds. In 1893, she hired the Boston architectural firm of Little, Browne and Moore to design the expansion of the Mansion to its classic colonial revival form. In 1926, the year before Ellen Endicott died, she was awarded the Hunnewell Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. This award was given to the owner of an estate of not less than three acres, planted with rare and desirable ornamental trees and shrubs in a tasteful and effective manner so as to present successful examples of science, skill and good judgement as applied to the embellishment of the country residence.
Her son, William Crowninshield Endicott, Jr., continued to lavish attention on the Farms, upgrading and enhancing the estate until his death in 1936. He was instrumental in bringing the Derby Summer House (built in 1794) to the property in 1901. The two story Adamesque building has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1968.
In 1963, The Danvers Historical Society purchased the central eleven acres of the property and has worked to restore the gardens and grounds to its early 20th century appearance.
Information on the Society, its programs, and membership may be obtained at the Society office on Page Street, by telephone (978) 777-1666, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing P.O. Box 381, Danvers, MA 01923.