Birch-Stevens Mansion // 1855

This mansion was erected in 1855 by Julia A. Birch while her husband, James, was engaged in organizing a stagecoach business in Sacramento shortly after the California Gold Rush. Mr. Birch lost his life in the shipwreck of the Central America in 1857, just after their mansion was completed. The next year Mrs. Birch married her first husbands’ business partner, Frank Shaw Stevens. They returned to live in Swansea permanently in 1858. After the sale of the stage coach lines , Mr. Stevens invested in the burgeoning textile mill business in Fall River and was a partner in the firm of Paris and Allen wholesale liquor dealers of New York. The couple lived in this mansion together until Julia died in 1871. Stevens remarried to Elizabeth Richmond Case. When Mr. Stevens died in 1898, she oversaw gifts to the town for the library and church. Upon her death in 1930, she set up a new home for troubled and orphaned boys at the mansion. The Frank S. Stevens Home for Boys opened in 1939 and while considered an orphanage, the home transitioned to a program providing services to a growing population of troubled boys who found it difficult to adjust to life in the community, or public school setting. The legacy continues today as the Stevens Treatment Programs.

Converted carriage house

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