Chapin-Sullivan House // 1872

One of the hidden gems of Brookline has to be the Chapin-Sullivan House in North Brookline. Originally built in 1872 for Ebenezer D. Chapin, a parter of Gass, Doe and Chapin, butter and cheese merchants at Faneuil Hall market in Downtown Boston. The company later was renamed Doe, Sullivan & Co., and many of their clay vessels they sold their product in can be found for sale online. They purchased claygoods from the Dorchester Pottery Works and sold their products to Bostonians craving dairy products. With his money, Chapin built a brick mansard mansion on five acres just off Brighton Avenue, since renamed Commonwealth Avenue at this section. He lived in the home until his death in 1883.

A later owner, T. Jefferson Coolidge purchased the estate and subdivided the land, creating a road with building lots just off main street, seeing an immediate success on his investment. He sold off all lots to builders and the former Chapin house to William J. Sullivan. Sullivan was a prideful contractor who specialized in stonework for many estates and apartment buildings in Boston and the surrounding towns. He developed the idea to remodel his own home and showcase his materials and craftsmanship in 1908 and turned the home into what we see today. Sullivan faced all the brick walls with limestone, cut detailing, rounded bay window and large full-height pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The home appears to have been converted to a multi-family residence, but retains all the amazing features that it had in 1908!

Historic image prior to 1908 renovation. Courtesy of Brookline Historical Society.

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