This home at 43 Mount Vernon Street was built likely for George Howe (1819-1899), a merchant who later co-owned the Pemberton Mill in Lowell, MA, later known to be the site of one of the worst industrial accidents in the state’s history. City directories from 1855 show George Howe living here along with attorney William E. Howe and George D. Howe (an associate of George who ran the Pemberton Mill). The mill collapsed in 1860, likely caused by the new owner’s (Howe included) greed, loading the mill building with heavy machinery, causing the building to cave in. Dozens were killed instantly and more than six hundred workers, many of them women and children, were trapped in the rubble. In the end, an estimated 145 people were killed, though the number is likely higher.
Joseph Iasigi appears to own the house by 1857. Iasigi was a merchant from Smyrna, Turkey who had previously resided at 3 Louisburg Square, and is best-known today for his gift of the statues of Christopher Columbus and Aristedes hidden in the brush in Louisburg Square’s park. The mansard roof was likely added sometime in the 1860s by Iasigi. By 1922, the building was occupied by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. By the turn of the century, many older families of wealth moved out of the city and into suburbs with land and place to drive their automobiles, many non-profits moved in due to the large buildings and proximity to the State House for lobbying. The building at 43 Mount Vernon has since been converted back to a multi-family residence.