Isaac Newton Center (1811-1889) was born in Windham, NH and arrived to the rural town of Litchfield, NH in its early days. Upon arrival, he appears to have built this homestead sometime in the mid-19th century based on its style. Like many in town, he was a farmer and was involved with the local Presbyterian Church, which is still neighboring this old farmhouse. After his death, the old farmhouse and homestead was inherited by Isaac’s youngest son, Isaac Newton Center, Jr., who was engaged in local town affairs, serving as City Clerk, Treasurer, Forest Fire Warden, and Library Trustee. The house appears as a melding of late Greek Revival and Italianate, possibly from the 1850s or 1860s.
Meehan Auditorium – Brown University // 1962
Across from the new Nelson Fitness Center at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island,Meehan Auditorium is an excellent example of a 1960s institutional athletic facility. The auditorium was dedicated at the Brown-Princeton hockey game on January 6, 1962 and was named after George V. Meehan, donor of half a million dollars for its construction. The new facility filled the need for a skating rink and large auditorium for indoor functions, specifically for ice skating and hockey and was the first building of the new athletic plant at Aldrich-Dexter Field east of the campus. The building was designed by Perry, Shaw, Hepburn & Dean, a prominent firm who designed many collegiate buildings in the 20th century, all over New England.
The Carlisle // 1880
In 1880, Jonas Gerlusha Smith (1817-1893) received a permit to erect a multi-family apartment building on Warren Avenue in present-day South End. The lot was close to his personal residence at 13 Warren Avenue and would have been easy to maintain and oversee tenants in the building. Mr. Smith hired 26-year-old architect Arthur H. Vinal, who furnished the plans for the handsome Queen Anne building. Vinal would later become the City Architect of Boston from 1884 to 1887, designing the High Service Building at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir just seven years after this building. By the late 1880s, the building was known as The Carlisle and it remained in the Smith family holdings under Walter Edward Clifton Smith until the 1930s. Walter attended the Cambridge Episcopal Theological School and later worked at various churches in the Boston area, serving as pastor in his later years. He lived on Follen Street in Cambridge while he held the Carlisle for additional income. Under new ownership in 1950, a retail storefront was added to the first floor which was occupied as a florist for some years. In 1979, after years of deferred maintenance, the property was purchased by Louis G. Manzo and his son David W. Manzo, who meticulously restored the building over time into the time-capsule that it is today!
Dimock Center – Goddard Nurses Home // 1909
Located adjacent to the Zakrzewska Building and Cary Cottage at the former New England Hospital for Women and Children is the 1909 Goddard Nurses Home, designed by John A. Fox. This three story brick building typifies the Classical Revival style with its recessed central entranceway and symmetrical fenestration with flared brick keystone lintels. The slate hipped roof is perforated by three dormers on the front facade. The broad overhanging eaves have exposed rafters which is an element of Craftsman design, common at the time. The Goddard Nurses Home provided living accomodations for up to fifty nurses who worked at the hospital. It was named after Lucy Goddard, one of the original incorporators of the women’s hospital, she served as president for twenty-five years.
West Roxbury District Courthouse // 1922
Boston neighborhoods are very confusing, and how the West Roxbury District Courthouse came to be located in Jamaica Plain is just one example. The independent Town of West Roxbury was in existence from 1851 until 1874, a mere 23 years, bookended by its time as a section of the Town of Roxbury and being annexed into the City of Boston. West Roxbury originally included parts of the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods. Ultimately, West Roxbury became one of the city’s eight large districts and its municipal court division is served by this Neo-Classical style building. Built in 1922, the current West Roxbury Courthouse building on Arborway, was and still is, from a municipal court perspective as well as an historical perspective, in West Roxbury. The West Roxbury District Courthouse was designed by Timothy G. O’Connell and Richard Shaw of the firm O’Connell and Shaw who were best known for their ecclesiastical designs in New England, largely specializing in the Gothic and Arts and Crafts styles. Their design for the West Roxbury Courthouse remains one of their finest non-religious buildings and a departure from their traditional styles.
Tilia Jamaica Plain // 2020
As many of you likely agree with me, most contemporary architecture and buildings in Boston (and in many U.S. cities) is bland and mundane, but there are some projects that really stand out for creative and contextual designs. Tilia in Jamaica Plain is one of the latter! When the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began accepting bids for the development of an undeveloped linear parcel along Washington Street just south of the Forest Hills T-stop, developers jumped at the opportunity. Urbanica Inc., a local design/development group had the winning proposal which consists of approximately 110‐120 residential units in buildings of varied density ranging from a larger apartment building to more human-scaled townhouses. Led by architect Stephen Chung with Kamran Zahedi as developer, the design for the townhouses specifically is a contemporary nod to the triple-decker form we see so much in the surrounding area. The varied color and recessed sections provide a lot of depth and character to the development along the streetwall.
Belair Gate Lodge // 1870
Located at the historic entry to Belair (last post), one of the largest estates in Newport, you would be greeted by this charming stone building, the Belair Gate Lodge. The building is symmetrically massed, 1½-story and built of rough-face-granite-ashlar, similar to the main house. This building can be classified as French Eclectic in style and was designed by Newport architect Dudley Newton, who also designed the 1870 Second Empire renovations to the main house at the same time for owner George Henry Norman. When the Belair estate was subdivided, the gate lodge was sold off as a separate unit, and is now a single family home, aka my dream home. There is something so enchanting about gatehouses!
President Calvin Coolidge Birthplace // 1840
The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont preserves the birthplace and childhood home of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States. This iconic historic village appears much as it was during Coolidge’s lifetime. The homes of the Coolidge family, their relatives and friends are joined by the 1840 church, 1890 schoolhouse, cheese factory, and historic agricultural structures and barns. More on all of these later. First up is the birthplace of President Coolidge. This squat 1 1/2-story dwelling was built in 1840 at the rear of the Coolidge Family store which fronts the main road. The five-room house was later known as the location where President Coolidge took the presidential oath of office. By the 20th century, the old home was altered, but was restored in 1971 just in time for the 100th birthday celebration by the State of Vermont for Coolidge, dedicating the village as a historic museum.
Kent-Harwood House // 1850
Originally owned by marble dealer Daniel Kent (1793-1858) in the 1850s at the height of marble quarrying in the town of Dorset, Vermont, this house shows the history of Dorset very well in its alterations and ownership. After the marble dealer Kent passed away, the property was owned by watchmaker Luke B. Gray (1825-1878). Soon after, homeopathic physician Charles Farrar Harwood (1833-1902) and family moved in. His son, Elmer Harwood (1885-1960), the first Rural Free Delivery mailman in Dorset, continued living here, likely renovating the home with the oversized front porch and charming rustic quality. Harwood oversaw the delivery of mail to the rural farmhouses and village of Dorset, which previously made individuals living in remote homesteads had to pick up mail themselves at sometimes distant post offices or pay private carriers for delivery. In 1965, the home was remodelled and sold it to Hugh Vanderbilt, the son of Robert Thurlow Vanderbilt (yes of that family) whose primary residence was in Greenwich, Connecticut. This new ownership showed how the town of Dorset became popular as a rural/country retreat for the wealthy, many of those families remain here today, preserving these old homes.
Adams House // c.1820
Welcome to Peru…Vermont. The town of Peru sits in Bennington County, adjacent to the previously featured town of Landgrove. Peru was chartered with the name Bromley in 1761 by Benning Wentworth, governor of the Province of New Hampshire as one of the land grant towns in the former hinterland of present-day Vermont. By 1804, the name of the town was changed to Peru. The new name was adopted to attract more people to the town by associating it with the South American province of Peru, which was considered to be a place of great wealth (wishful thinking). This house on the western edge of the village was built c.1820 and significantly modernized since then. The original log house here was built c.1804 by Joel Adams. The home was modernized to the present five-bay facade by the 1820s-30s and operated as a double-house for Joel and his son Joel Adams Jr. The property was also inhabited by Everett Adams, Joel’s grandson, who briefly served in the Civil War.