The Hazen Garrison home in Haverhill was built in 1680 by Richard Hazen.

HAVERHILL | The city has a long list of famous sons, among them movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, Archie comics creator Bob Montana and rocker Rob Zombie.

Haverhill's next international star? Try a historic home almost three centuries old, a home thousands of drivers pass each day at Groveland and Water streets.

Producers from the British Broadcasting Corp. show "Who Do You Think You Are?" scouted the historic Hazen Garrison House yesterday as a site for future filming.

The popular 60-minute show follows famous English celebrities who are researching their genealogy. Some past celebrities on the show include movie actors John Hurt and Jeremy Irons, and Food Network chef Nigella Lawson.

Someone's family tree led the producers to the house at 8 Groveland St., but they are not revealing the star's identity. They want to preserve the secret for fans of the show, which is entering its fifth season.

"It's a really fascinating story," said Olivia Howes, an assistant producer on the show.

Howes walked through the old house yesterday afternoon with the producer and director, Christopher Bruce, taking photos and talking about possibilities for filming.

Local historians rank the house among the finest Colonial homes in Haverhill, said Thomas Spitalere, chairman of the city's Historical Commission.

"It's great for the history of the city that the house is going to have international fame," Spitalere said. "This is another reason why we need to preserve our city's past."

The answer to the mystery celebrity is likely connected to its past inhabitants.

The brick English Manor-style house was built in 1724 by British merchant Richard Hazen. It is about 75 yards from the Merrimack River, where he wanted to build a trading wharf. The city was settled only about 80 years earlier.

The Hazen family made its mark in New England.

Richard Hazen was involved in drawing the state line with New Hampshire, and one of his sons was involved in settling Concord, N.H., said David Shultz, a local real estate broker who did research on the house.

Other owners of the home include Wallace Nutting, a minister, author, photographer and entrepreneur, who bought the home in 1914, Shultz said. John Moulton, a Haverhill librarian, bought it in 1919.

The current owners, Ken and Linda White, moved in four years ago and have two young children. They welcomed the British TV crew to their home and are proud of its past.

It looks like a museum inside.

The brick house has two massive chimneys, each about 8 feet wide, and planks for floors. Antique furniture sparsely sits in the dining and living rooms, and framed photographs of the house are displayed in prominent locations.

Linda White was in an antiques store in Maine once and found a postcard of her home.

"I think it's cool," Ken White said of living in a well-known home. "We've always liked old houses. To see it on a postcard is really bizarre."

The house is on the National Historic Register and is assessed at $387,000, according to city records.


The Hazen House

Built: 1724 by Richard Hazen, a British merchant

Assessed value: $387,000

Size: 2,900 square feet, two bedrooms

Location: 8 Groveland St. at the intersection with Water Street

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