Rochester Town Hall // 1892

In 1679, three years after the end of King Phillip’s War, an armed conflict in 1675–1678 between indigenous inhabitants of New England and New England colonists, land that would become Rochester, Mattapoisett,
Marion, and Wareham was purchased from King Phillip, and immediately divided among 32 proprietors of “Old Rochester.” The first white settlers took up residence in 1680, and the Town of Rochester was incorporated in 1686. Rochester town center was formally established in 1697 when land was set aside for a meetinghouse, burying ground and training field. Rochester’s first meetinghouse, built in 1699, served as a church and town building. A larger meetinghouse was built in 1717, and a third in 1760, doubling in size every time as the town’s population grew. The old buildings were insufficient for the growing farming town, and wealthy widow Elizabeth Leonard funded half the cost of a new town hall building. The current structure on the town green was built in 1892 and is an uncommon example of a Queen Anne style town hall in Massachusetts. The building originally was painted a darker color, common in the style, but was given a bright white paint scheme to blend in with the older buildings on the Green.

Durand House // 1861

One of the most visually striking homes in little Chester, Vermont, is the Durand House. Sited prominently on a hill, the 1861 home resembles a wedding dress in bright white with intricate spindles that look like lace. The house was seemingly built for Urban Durand, one of the proprietors of the successful Durand Brothers Market in Chester village. The home has an elaborately trimmed full-front porch with a second-story polygonal balcony, and a three-story corner tower with a shallow mansard roof, all possibly later additions. The house stands out in the village, which is largely dominated by classical Federal and Greek Revival houses.

Emery Bolles House // 1841

Next to the Israel Moore house (last post) in Chester, VT, the Emery Bolles house is yet another beautiful example of a snecked ashlar building in central Vermont. The town of Chester has the largest concentration of these buildings in the state in the north village, now known as Stone Village. The building method was so popular that even a couple examples sprouted up in the larger Chester Village nearby. Erected for Emory Bolles (who operated a wagon shop next door), this 1841 house possesses a 5-bay facade and a later, distinguished Victorian-era full-width porch. The porch incorporates turned posts with a central gable above the steps that carries an openwork screen.

Gingerbread Apartments // c.1850

Built in the mid-19th century this former home in Chester, VT, exhibits the range in tastes seen from the Classically inspired Greek Revival style to the ornate and over-the-top Queen Anne style. The original 1850 Greek Revival design of the house survives in its temple form and classical details, augmented by a visually dominant overlay of Queen Anne features. The house was acquired sometime after 1870 by the Haselton family, whose daughter Hattie married John Greenwood. The Greenwoods undertook a major renovation of the building about 1900, adding the elaborate front porch and other features, giving it the wedding cake or lace-like appearance we see today. The home was converted to apartments in the 1960s, but retains much of its architectural details, it is best known as the Gingerbread Apartments.

Rice-Petersen House // c.1890

Built in the 1890s by Dr. A.W. Rice, the ground floor of this Queen Anne style house served as the physician’s office, and he lived with his family in the upper floors. The home stands out as a fairly uncommon example of the Queen Anne style in Marion, a town dominated by Shingle style homes in that period. An enterprising Danish immigrant named Viggo V. Petersen, purchased the home and adjacent carriage house in 1921 and opened an ice cream parlor in it. When Viggo V. died in 1941, his son, Viggo C., attempted to carry on, until wartime cream shortages and rationing forced him to close for the duration of the conflict. Thereafter, Petersen’s ice cream resumed production and remained a Marion fixture until its final closing in the 1970s. The home is now occupied by two offices, and the former carriage house is home to the Mary Celeste Wine and Whiskey Library, a fun place that educates about wine and whiskey, offering tastings and events.

Marion Music Hall // 1891

You know a town is fancy if it has its own music hall! The Marion Music Hall was (you guessed it) largely funded by none other than Elizabeth Taber the prestigious benefactor of Tabor Academy, the Library, and more in her hometown. This building was first envisioned after Ms. Taber was dismayed by the poor quality of “worldy theatricals” that were taking place in the only such venue at the time, the Congregational Chapel. Her last gift to the town via a provision in her will, allotted money for the construction of a “suitable building for a lecture and music hall”, costing a total of $23,000. Her go-to architect, William Gibbons Preston, was hired to design the Music Hall, which is a pleasing late-Victorian, Queen Anne-Romanesque Revival building constructed of brick. The Music Hall’s lawn was deemed worthy as the site of a handsome cast-iron Soldiers Monument which was dedicated during the summer of 1894 and remains on the site today.

Cyrus White House // 1885

Cyrus White (1830-1893) was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and eventually settled in Boston, where he patented his “White’s Tropic Furnace”. The furnace was powered by coal, but due to its engineering, required only a small amount compared to competitors. From this invention, Cyrus opened a store in Jamaica Plain which sold house-furnishing goods, hardware, plumbing fixtures, furnaces, stoves, and drain and gas fittings, a business that boomed in Victorian-era Boston, with all the home building and wealth seen at the time. From his furnace invention and store, he could afford to build this Queen Anne home in the desirable Sumner Hill neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, Boston. Of particular note is the recessed entry within an arched opening and siding styles, including sawtooth edges at the overhang.

Hardon House // 1880

This refrigerator white painted house in Jamaica Plain was built in 1880 for Charles Hardon, an executive with C.A. Browning & Co. a millnery goods company (making and selling women’s hats). Business must have been good because Hardon was able to buy a large house lot from the Greenough Family and hired esteemed architect William Ralph Emerson to design a Queen Anne house for him and his family. The home was eventually purchased by Henry F. Colwell, a stock broker at the Boston Stock Exchange. The massive home is notable for the asymmetry, different siding types, and inset porches, all hallmarks of the Queen Anne style of architecture. If you owned this house, would you paint it differently?

Edward Sherwin House // 1883

Next door to the Fanny Weld House (last post) and the iconic Loring-Greenough House, this Queen Anne home in Jamaica Plain, Boston, packs an architectural punch, but is kind of hidden from the public view. The home was built in 1883 for Edward Sherwin, an agent for the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, who seemingly marketed their coal to the Boston area. The company was the largest producer of anthracite coal in the United States from 1871 through the 1920s. He married an Elizabeth B. Van Brunt in 1882, likely the same Elizabeth who was the sister of famed architect Henry Van Brunt. Therefore, its likely that Henry Van Brunt designed this home for his sister and her new husband as a wedding gift! This is one of the homes that I would LOVE to see the interior. The woodwork is probably immaculate!

Fanny Weld House // c.1888

Jamaica Plain in Boston during the 17th and 18th-century colonial period, was a predominantly rural agricultural part of Roxbury, a separate town, which provided much of the food for Boston. By the 18th century, some rural estate houses were built in the area for wealthy Bostonians, including Joshua Loring, who built the famous Loring Greenough House (featured previously). In the second half of the 19th century, the rail-based transportation into Boston led to the area’s development as a streetcar suburb, and many estates were subdivided for development. The Greenough Family, who owned the Loring-Greenough property, sold off large areas for residential and institutional development, with large houses on large suburban lots. One of such homes built in the new upper-class enclave was this home, built in the late 1880s for Christopher and Fanny Weld. Christopher was a Harvard-educated businessman, and more importantly, born into the Brahmin Weld Family. The home is an excellent example of late 19th century Victorian era architecture in Boston suburbs.