Hotel Bretagne // 1897

Located at the prominent corner of Mass Ave and Tremont Street in Boston’s South End neighborhood, this beautiful apartment building has long caught my eye, but I finally got around to looking up its history! The building was constructed in 1896-7 by Albert Geiger, a real estate developer who sold the completed building to a Josiah P. C. Marshall. The building is Classical Revival in style and had eleven suites for rental. The blond brick building with Indiana limestone trim are gorgeous, but the showstoppers are the metal bay windows with decorative wreaths and garlands.

One Greenway // 2015

Replacing a vacant lot bordering I-93 at Kneeland Street, the One Greenway development provides much needed housing and design as one of the gateways into the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston. A result of community engagement, One Greenway is one of the largest new affordable housing projects in recent memory. The project restores the urban fabric that was lost half a century ago to the construction of major highways, which cut through the community and provides much-needed affordable housing in one of the nation’s oldest and largest immigrant communities. When the elevated highway was moved underground and the Rose Kennedy Greenway was laid out, parcels adjacent were available for reuse, and this was one of the last to be redeveloped. The building mixes 217 market-rate apartments and 95 affordable apartments, to create a mixed-income development, hopefully the future, as to not segregate affordable housing to less-desirable parts of cities. Designed by the firm Stantec, the building creates a solid street wall at the corner, and provides amazing open space at the rear in the form of a well-designed park designed by Crosby, Schlessinger, and Smallridge. The use of beige terracotta panels makes the large building more inviting, compared to the cold and sterile new apartment buildings going up all over the city and region.

Marguerite Terrace // 1891

Marguerite Terrace (my favorite of the Beaconsfield Terrace buildings) in Brookline was built in 1891 and exhibits the Chateauesque style, evoking French design. Designed as part of the Beaconsfield Terrace complex on the Knapp Estate of residences with private amenities, the building was designed by Carl Fehmer, showing his amazing range in design. Through the use of yellow brick and fieldstone walls, conical roof towers, and a center pavilion with a steeply pitched roof, the building stands out for its amazing detailing.

Rawson Road Triple-Deckers // 1913

A collection of seven picturesque Spanish style triple-deckers on Rawson Road provide density while adding to the idillic quality of Aspinwall Hill. Developed in 1913, the homes were developed by Alexander C. Chisholm, who owned the parcels. Chisholm was a Brookline real estate developer and builder who resided at nearby and maintained an office on Beacon Street. His advertisement in the town’s 1913 directory noted he offered “apartment houses for sale and to-let”. Before entering the real estate market in Brookline, Chisholm was known for the design and construction of apartment houses in Dorchester and Roxbury. The Spanish Revival buildings are all wood frame and clad with stucco. Sitting upon raised fieldstone foundations, the houses feature porches, bracketed hoods over entrances and windows, and decorative parapets, all common in Spanish revival architecture.

Warren Manufacturing Co. Mill // 1896

This large mill complex on Main Street in Warren was built by the Warren Manufacturing Company in 1896. Due to a fire in 1895 destroying all three of the original mill buildings of the Warren Manufacturing Company’s built in 1847, 1860, and 1872. These five-story buildings, containing a total of 58,000 spindles, totally dominated the north end of Warren. Only the handsome Italianate stair tower survived. It rises today from the middle of the new mill complex which was rebuilt in 1896 and enlarged in 1902 and 1907. The current mills were designed by architect Frank P. Sheldon, a Rhode Island mill engineer and designer. The Warren Mfg Co. continued in operation here until July of 1930, when President William Grosvenor gave control to a bank. In April 1934, the Warren Textile and Machinery Supply Co. purchased the mill to be used as a machine shop and for the manufacture of reeds, roll coverings, and curtains; employment was between 300 and 500. It was later occupied by the American Tourister Company and has since been restored and converted to apartments.

The Linden Apartments // 1885

A later addition to the Lindens section of Brookline Village, this wood-frame apartment building is a great addition to the streetscape. Rising three stories, the Queen Anne building features four main bays with a mixture of oriels and bay windows to break up the facade. The multiple projections allowed for light and air to circulate in the units, a concern for many early apartment buildings. The building was constructed for J. W. Tobey, as an income property. The building has since been converted to condominium units.

Sewall Avenue Apartments // 1938

These apartments in Brookline were built in 1938 and designed by Saul Moffie. The Art Deco design is refined yet elegant with just the use of brick coursing. The amazing brickwork includes header courses, soldier courses and chevrons. This example shows that good design does not require the most expensive or foreign materials to stand out! Oh and there are steel casement windows!

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.

Solari Building // 1895

Located in North Square in the North End, not far from the Paul Revere House, is this gorgeous apartment building. When the North End flourished in the late 19th century, many small wood-frame dwellings were replaced with larger brick apartment buildings. This structure was developed in 1895 by Antonio Solari, a fruit dealer who resides in one of the units. He and his brother emigrated to Boston from Italy in 1871 and opened up a fruit store in the South End called “Solari Brothers”.

The brick building is most notable for the copper oriels with decorative festoons on them.