Robert Palmer Jr. (1856-1914) was born in Groton, Connecticut as the son of Robert Sr., a prominent businessman and Deacon in Noank’s seaside village (his house was featured previously). Robert Sr. established the Palmer shipyard, which became the largest business enterprise in Noank. Jr. would later join his father’s business and did well for himself financially, eventually marrying and building this Neo-Classical mansion on Church Street in town. The company, under Sr. and Jr.’s leadership, built many seafaring vessels that were internationally renowned until the company closed in 1914 after the death of Robert Jr. This house is unique in town for the monumental two-story portico, Palladian windows at the first floor, and a projecting entry vestibule.
First Church of Christ Scientist, Providence // 1906
One of the most stunning and monumental buildings in Providence is this building, a church which pretty closely resembles the Rhode Island State House! Christian Scientists in Providence began to hold informal services in 1889 and received a charter from the state legislature in 1895. Construction started on this church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist in 1906 from plans by local architect Howard Hoppin who roughly modeled the building after the congregation’s Mother Church in Boston. The Classical Revival building is capped by a copper hemispherical dome supported by a colonnade of Corinthian columns. The main block of the structure at the street is fairly modest, possibly due to the residential character of its surroundings.
George Wightman Mansion // c.1902
One of the grandest mansions in Brookline’s Longwood neighborhood has to be the Wightman Mansion at the corner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets. George Henry Wightman (1855-1937) was a businessman who worked under Andrew Carnegie and was known in Boston as a “steel magnate”. He hired the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Boston to design this Beaux-Arts style home, which looks more institutional than residential. The home featured a large back yard with private tennis courts as Wightman was a tennis aficionado. His son George William Wightman played tennis and married Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, an icon in women’s tennis who won 45 U.S. titles in her life.
The home was sold after Wightman’s death in 1937 and eventually became home to the Hebrew Teacher’s College (now Hebrew College), which relocated in 2002 to Newton. Wheelock College then took over the building, which merged with Boston University as the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development in 2018.