New England Telephone Building // 1947

The New England Telegraph and Telephone Company Building was erected in 1947, just north of the Western Union Art Deco building (last post) to serve as the company’s headquarters. The steel-frame, polished granite and limestone-sheathed Art Deco skyscraper was designed by Alexander Hoyle, a partner in the firm of Cram & Ferguson. The stunning building takes the form of a stepped pyramid, or ziggurat, with successive receding stories rising from a four-story base, which diminishes its massing from the street. At the interior, a lobby mural on paper by artist Dean Cornwell (1892-1960), depicting “Telephone Men and Women at Work,” commissioned in 1947 and installed in 1951. The 190-foot mural told the story of the history of the telephone and was an artistic masterpiece, but was removed from the lobby during a recent renovation and subsequently sold.

The Angel of Death and the Young Sculptor // 1893

While not a building, I must feature one of the most stunning pieces of art I have seen, at a cemetery! Titled “The Angel of Death and the Young Sculptor“, this massive monument was is a sculpture in bronze, and one of the most important and influential works of art created by sculptor Daniel Chester French and is located at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. Also known as the Milmore Monument, it was commissioned after the death of brothers, Joseph, James, and Martin Milmore (1844–1883). The Milmore brothers immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1851, Joseph becoming a stone carver and Martin a sculptor. The will of Martin Milmore’s older brother, Joseph, called for creation of the monument, which was to commemorate the life of his older brother, Martin. As Martin Milmore had been a sculptor himself, French decided to depict the artist at work, with the Angel of Death interrupting his work, with death grabbing the chisel from Martin’s hand as he works. Martin Milmore was 39 years old when he died.

Forest Hills Cemetery, “Boy in a Boat” // 1886

While this funerary sculpture is not a building, I couldn’t help but share one of the most captivating graves in New England for Halloween, “The Boy in a Boat”. Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886), just four years old, died of Nephritis, a kidney inflammation and Scarlet Fever. His mother, Madame Louise Mieusset, took every penny she had saved for the boy’s education and put it towards a commission of a funerary sculpture, depicting her late son’s playful spirit. Madame Mieusset worked as a hat-maker in Boston, barely scraping by until her death in the 1930s. She died penniless, and wished to be buried near her beloved son, but she did not have enough money set aside to be interred in the cemetery and was set to be buried in a pauper’s lot, until (legend says) Boston Mayor James Curley paid her burial expenses, allowing for her eternal rest with her late son Louis. The sculpture is carved of white marble and depicts Louis playing in a boat with a tennis racket in one hand and a shell in another. The funerary sculpture is enclosed in a bronze and glass vitrine to protect it as the marble was believed to be too soft to stand up to weathering, the artist is unknown.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral // 1819

St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston is significant as the first church in the Greek Revival style to be erected in New England. Designed by two of the city’s most important Greek Revival architects, Alexander Parris and Solomon Willard, the church built in 1819 has survived largely intact as a fine example of the monumental Greek Revival aesthetic. Built five years before Quincy Market (also designed by Parris), this granite cathedral showcases the simple and bold characteristics of early Greek Revival design. The church is constructed of Quincy granite and Acquia sandstone from Virginia which are visible from the patterned facade. Interestingly, each column is composed of flat stone discs stacked atop one another with the Ionic capitals carved by Willard. Due to high cost overruns, said to be $100,000, more than double the original estimate and paired with the fact that pews sold slowly, the parish was in debt for many years. Due to this, a sculpture planned for the gable pediment, to represent St. Paul before Agrippa, was never completed. In 2013, a Nautilus art piece was designed by Donald Lipski and installed in the pediment (to the dismay of preservationists and others alike), representing a metaphor for a spiritual journey moving outward and growing.

What do you think of the art installation?

Rockport Review Newspaper Office // c.1887

Located at 8 Bearskin Neck in Rockport, the former Rockport Review Newspaper Office building is a great example of transitional Queen Anne and Shingle style vernacular architecture in Cape Ann. The Rockport Review was established in 1880 by H.C. Cheever, proprietor and editor. Within years, he sold the office building, press, furniture and interest in the newspaper to Joseph Leman. With the new company and increased production, the former wood-frame building was replaced with a new office with a raised granite base (likely to protect from water).

New issues were printed and sold every Saturday on Bearskin Neck. Another of the Rockport Review’s publications was Lemuel Gott’s 1888 History of the Town of Rockport. The paper appears to have disbanded before the turn of the 20th century as it does not appear in later directories. The building was later converted to a residence and artist studios. As of 2020, it is home to Rusty & Ingrid, a husband and wife company specializing in screen prints of some of New England’s most iconic sights.

Gasson Hall – Boston College // 1913

The Boston College campus at Chestnut Hill represents the best of the Collegiate Gothic style in the Boston area.

Boston College was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1863, and is one of twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Originally located on Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston, where it shared quarters with the Boston College High School, the College outgrew its urban setting toward the end of its first fifty years. A new location was selected in Chestnut Hill, then almost rural, and four parcels of land were acquired in 1907. A design competition for the development of the campus was won by the firm of Maginnis and Walsh, and ground was broken on June 19, 1909, for the construction of Gasson Hall.

Originally called the Recitation Building, then the Tower Building, Gasson Hall was finally named in honor of Father Thomas I. Gasson, founder of the Chestnut Hill campus. The building was designed by Charles D. Maginnis and built from stone quarried on the present campus. The style of the building and much of the campus can be classified as Collegiate Gothic. Gasson Hall was publicized by Ralph Adams Cram, who helped establish Collegiate Gothic as the prevailing architectural style on American university campuses for much of the 20th century.

At its interior, the Rotunda at the center of the building is a special treat to behold. A blending of different mediums of art including: architecture, sculpture, stained glass, and painted murals, the space is truly awe-inspiring. The dominant feature inside the rotunda is the large marble statue of St. Michael triumphing over Satan. The art piece was commissioned by Gardner Brewer, a Boston merchant for his great hall in his Beacon Hill house. Brewer hired Scipione Tadolini, a renowned sculptor in Rome, and he (along with his assistants) turned a massive block of the finest Carrara marble into the epic battle between good and evil. The piece was eventually purchased by Boston College when they envisioned it to be placed in their Rotunda.