After the Quabbin Reservoir was filled (more on the history in my last post), the cleared land and body of water, with its over 181 miles of coastline, was seen as not only an engineering marvel, but a place of natural beauty and splendor. Upon a rise in the land and the edge of the reservoir, they saw a perfect location to build a tower that could serve many purposes. The Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission hired the firm of Densmore, LeClear & Robbins to design a tower that would serve as a radio tower, fire station and observation tower to view the reservoir. The structure, while designed in the Arts and Crafts mode, is of modern construction and is comprised of two main parts. The lower portion, is constructed of stone and concrete, with metal casement windows, granite lintels and sills and bronze doors. This section was used for radio equipment. The interior has glazed tile walls and cement floors. The six-story tower has five floors of metal and concrete stairs. At the top is a two-level, glass enclosed observation tower.
When you walk along Ogunquit’s Marginal Way cliff walk, it is missing one thing, an iconic Maine lighthouse… or is it? This mini lighthouse on the route always has people lining up to snap a picture and its quirky roadside attraction appeal is undeniable. The original Lobster Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1948 by Winfield C. Littlefield of the local family who first settled in the town. The “lighthouse” was designed by Grover S. Perkins. Much like the real lighthouses on the coast, the original structure was badly beaten by the salt air and high winds and parts of the structure were replaced. Notably, in 1993, the top (lantern) was replaced with fiberglass. Additionally, in 2009 the structure was upgraded, all from donations. The iconic roadside lighthouse will continue to ‘light the way’ for the droves of tourists and locals alike who navigate Marginal Way.
The Perkins Cove wooden footbridge in Ogunquit, overlooks one of the loveliest little harbors in the Maine coast and spans the narrow entrance to the port. The iconic bridge is perhaps the only double-leaf draw-footbridge in the United States and luckily for us, is right here in Maine! The small channel was once very shallow, but in about 1940, the cove was dredged to make room for larger fishing vessels. A new drawbridge was soon added to allow access to the small peninsula while also permitting fishing vessels to pass underneath. The bridge has been modified a couple times since it was constructed in the early 1940s. The new bridge spurred development of some of the area which was already a mix of fishing shacks and artist studios. Since then, many of the original fish shacks have been converted to restaurants or shops due to the high value of the land now. It was also announced this year that the bridge would soon be demolished and replicated with Federal funds with a new harbormaster building. Hopefully the replacement will closely match the existing, which is a huge draw (pun intended) for the tourists who flock to the area.
One of the most iconic buildings in Everett, Massachusetts is the “Teddie Peanut Butter” building, in the brewery/distillery district of the city (home to Night Shift Brewery, Bone Up Brewing Company, and Short Path Distillery). The building is best-defined for its massive Mid-Century rooftop sign with the cute teddy bear. The building was constructed by the Leavitt Peanut Butter Company in 1958, but the company had its beginnings nearly a half-century earlier. The Leavitt Corporation had its beginnings in 1897 when Sarkis Shaghalian, a European immigrant, started manufacturing candy and roasted nuts in Boston. In 1916, Michael Hintlian took over the company and in 1925, established a separate corporate entity specializing in peanut and nut products, the John W. Leavitt Company. The company did extremely well in its Boston location, eventually outgrowing their State Street buildings. In 1959, the company hired an industrial realtor, who found the Everett facility – a recently constructed building with Modern finishes and design. In 1959, Leavitt Corp. signed a lease and moved in by 1960, adding the rooftop sign at that time. The sign used to have neon strips, but was eventually removed.
In the 1920s Italian-speaking residents in Everett, Massachusetts appealed to Archbishop of Boston, William O’Connell for an Italian parish. Everett had seen a large influx of Italian immigrants who settled in town and the surrounding communities for work. The Archdiocese saw the demand, and rented the former Broadway Theater to be used as a church for the short term. In 1951, land was acquired a few blocks away for a new church, school and rectory. The church was designed to resemble historic Romanesque-style churches seen in Italy, with the school and renovated rectory following the Modern tradition. The brick and limestone church appears to have been built more in the historical tradition, with hand-carved stone trim and a beautiful rose window. It’s amazing that this church was built in the 1950s!
Welcome to Everett, Massachusetts, a diverse, vibrant community of roughly 50,000 residents just north of Boston. Present-day Everett was originally part of Charlestown, which separated and became Malden. In 1870, the Town of Everett separated from Malden and was so-named after former Charlestown resident Edward Everett (1794-1865) who served as U.S. Representative, Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Secretary of State and as President of Harvard University. From 1894, the Town (later City) Hall was located in the Hapgood Building, but was outgrown after WWII. In 1960, ground was broken for a new, Modern City Hall for Everett, with Harold Michael Turiello (1910-2001) of Revere, as architect. Everett City Hall (love it or hate it) is a testament to Mid-Century Modern/International style design with curtain wall construction originally included bright blue panels which were recently replaced with a bland white panel color.
Located on the same block as the Arnold-Palmer House (last post) in Downtown Providence, this apartment building is the work of one of the most prolific Modernist architects of the 20th century, Paul Rudolph. During Downtown Providence’s period of urban renewal, which saw the demolition of much of Cathedral Square (much of which remains surface parking lots), planners sought a high-rise apartment building to house displaced elderly residents and others who hoped to reside close to downtown shopping and amenities. Architect Paul Rudolph, who was at the time Dean of Yale’s Architecture School, designed the brick building which employs horizontal bands in concrete which marks off floor levels and provides some breaks in the materiality. The building was originally designed in 1963, but after years of delays and budget cuts from rising construction costs, the balconies and other design features were removed from the final product, leading to its present simplicity. While simple, the building retains intrigue, especially with the projecting window bays and offset openings, a departure from the block apartment buildings at the time.
As technology and engineering advanced, buildings could go taller and taller, something banks loved in the Post-WWII era to showcase their wealth and stature in cities. The Old Stone Bank was a popular banking institution in Rhode Island that was founded in Providence in 1819. In 1969, the bank decided to build a new tower in Downtown Providence, hiring the New York firm of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon (the firm who designed the Empire State Building forty years prior) to design the skyscraper. The 23-story structure is set back from the street and is raised on a podium. The first story is marbled sheathed and serves as a base for the concrete-grid curtain wall, which blends International and Brutalist styles well. The building opened in 1972 and is today known as the Textron Tower. I think it is interesting to read architectural historian views of Modern buildings, as many despise 99% of Post-WWII buildings, but I kind of like this one.
I typically do not connect my posts to current events, but I really wanted to take time to highlight the strength and fortitude of the Ukrainian people fighting to preserve their home and democracy around the globe. Closer to home, a growing Ukrainian community in Boston in 1956, decided to erect a new church in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain. Land was acquired and a blessing ceremony was attended by members of the church, the architect, and Reverend John Theodorovich; the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, who was born in Ukraine, and served at chaplain with the Army of the Ukraine National Republic in the war against Russia in 1919-20, before eventually moving to North America. The architect, John Kodak, was a Toronto-based architect of Ukrainian descent who ended up in Canada after fleeing from his home to escape communist rule from the USSR. This church is a Modernist interpretation of the iconic St. Andrew’s Church in Kiev, Ukraine, with its onion domes surmounted by crosses. The church, like many others, is holding prayers for Ukraine and is coordinating donations and aid to the Ukrainian people and related charities.
Christensen Hall at the University of New Hampshire in Durham is a rare example of the much-maligned Brutalist style of architecture in the state. In the late 1960s, the university needed more housing and a dining hall for new students of the growing campus, but a very low budget to accomplish this. They hired Ulrich Franzen, a German-born architect (featured on here previously) who attended school at Harvard, learning Modernist principles there that would shape his career. The boxy buildings feature deep recessions to provide each student an identifiable corner and windows. The concrete frame building and engineering provide breezeways and forms that conventional buildings would not be able to accomplish. The building was completed in 1970 and was immediately applauded by architects and was featured numerous architectural publications.