Dover is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, located about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of downtown Boston, on the south banks of the Charles River. The first recorded settlement of Dover was in 1640. It was later established as the Springfield Parish of Dedham in 1748, and incorporated as District Dedham in 1784. Dover was officially incorporated as a town in 1836.
The Benjamin Caryl House at 107 Dedham St. dates from about 1777 and was home to Dover’s first minister, Benjamin Caryl, his son George, who was the town’s first doctor. Their descendants lived there until 1897, after which the house has been owned and operated by the Historical Society since 1920. The structure retains its architectural integrity and has been carefully restored to reflect life in the 1790s when the first two Caryl families lived and worked there together.
The Sawin Building has been a home for thousands of Dover relics, books, photographs and artifacts since the beginning of the 20th century. Benjamin and Eudora Sawin willed land and funds to the Dover Historical Society, along with their old household goods. A renewed interest in the Historical Society during the 1960s led to the general overhaul and refurbishing of the building. The Sawin Museum, located at the corner of Centre and Dedham Streets in Dover Center, is owned and operated by the Dover Historical Society and is open to the public free of charge.