Amory-Harding House // 1809

The Amory-Harding House (now the Boston Bar Association) is located at 16 Beacon Street, an area that was once residential. This former home was built by Robert Fletcher, a builder who soon after construction, sold the home to Rufus Amory, a Boston attorney. The home was later purchased by Chester Harding, a portrait painter who had wide-ranging commissions of people including U.S. presidents and Dukes of England. Harding lived in this home for less than two years while he painted portraits of many of Boston’s upper class residents and visiting elite.

In 1863, the home was bought by merchant Levi Bartlett. Bartlett’s daughter, Martha Bartlett Angell lived in the house until 1919 with her husband, Dr. Henry C. Angell, a prominent eye specialist. In the l880’s, the area near the home began changing from residential to commercial. When the Claflin Building was erected next door in 1885, it jutted out 6′ farther toward the street than the Angell’s house and blocked the sun and view. In response, the couple added the columns and built the pavilion around the
original center bay. By the photo below, the home was occupied by Boston University for some time in the 1870s.

1870 image of 16 Beacon Street (left) before renovation. Courtesy of Boston Public Library collections.

In 1919, Mrs. Angell willed the house to the Unitarian Society, which added
the first floor small-paned display windows and painted the trim white, apparently for the first time. In 1962, the house was sold to the Boston Bar Association which remodeled it for its headquarters.

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