Property Manager for Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (Now Historic New England.) Worked extensively with Abbott Cummings, the foremost and acclaimed American architectural historian.
Founded John F. Cole Associates, specializing in antique home sales.
Organized and oversaw a pioneer preservation covenant project for the Ipswich Historical Commission. Published in the book Something To Preserve (see Ipswich Library). Abbott Lowell Cummings, consultant. John selected appropriate homes, devised a preservation covenant plan, and successfully executed this plan to complete this landmark effort. “John Cole is the person for this project.” --Abbott Lowell Cummings
Oversaw the dismantling and moving of a great 1740 house from Canton, MA to Lincoln, MA, where it was put back together and stands to this day.
Rescued the Josiah Keith House, South Easton, MA by finding a new private owner. This house was slated to be torn down to make way for a tree farm. (See photo of a sliding diamond paned window in the Keith house in The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625–1725 by Abbott Cummings (p.156).
Handled the early sale of the Lord Timothy Dexter Mansion, Newburyport, MA, to a young couple, one of whom worked out of the area. At the time, most Newburyport residents worked locally; this sale was significant in opening up the homes of Newburyport to a broader audience and proving that young couples would commute from Newburyport to the Boston area.
Managed the sale of the early 18th-century Faulkner House, South Acton, MA. This house has since entered into philanthropic hands and is now owned by the Acton Historical Society. It contains one of the largest summer beams in New England.
Founded Shaker Workshops, Inc., makers of reproduction Shaker antique furniture and accessories. The showroom was located in the 1747 Wright Tavern, Concord, MA, and an article on Shaker Workshops appeared in The New Yorker on March 3, 1973.
A founder of The Benton County Preservation Project, Bentonville, AR, John oversaw a National Register Survey in Benton County, AR. Over one hundred houses were placed simultaneously on the National Register of Historic Places. John supervised the restoration of the Italianate Peel House Mansion in Bentonville and oversaw the planning for the garden site. John “provided inspiration and leadership in developing and supervising the Benton County Preservation Project and restoration and management of the Peel House Mansion and Gardens.”– Jim C. Walton and Ernest G. Lawrence
John taught Historical Preservation at the Harvard School of Design and at the University of Arkansas, Graduate School of Architecture, where he took over the course from Professor Cyrus Sutherland, who was considered “the Abbott Cummings of Arkansas.”
Recently, John consulted on the period addition to an 18th-century house in Groveland, ensuring that the addition looks original to the home.
John worked recently with the owner of an early 18th-century house in West Gloucester, MA to properly present the first period dwelling (built 1620–1720) in order to find an appropriate buyer. The transfer was successfully completed. The owner felt John did a very effective job in describing the property for potential antique home buyers.
Today, John writes books on the historical architecture of private homes and commercial buildings. He also appears in local periodicals and is a regular contributor to Newburyport Neighbors Magazine. He also lectures to libraries, historic societies/commissions, and various professional organizations.