Talitha Cumi Home // 1912

One thing I love about Boston is that nearly every old building has such a rich history that takes so much time to compile and write up (this account keeps me busy)! Located on Forest Hills Street in Jamaica Plain, this stucco building caught my attention when driving by, so much so, that I had to stop and go back. The building was constructed in 1912 as a home for unwed mothers called Talitha Cumi Home (a phrase from the Bible meaning “Arise, young woman”). The charitable organization outgrew their space in the South End and sought greener pastures and open space in Jamaica Plain. The group had been organized in 1836 by “earnest Christian women” who longed to open a “door of hope” to “those hopeless and helpless girls who found themselves facing the sadness and shame and wrong of unwed motherhood.” The Talitha Cumi Home allowed pregnant women to reside and birth their children before their pregnancy began to show. The site originally included an administration building and a hospital with both structures connected by a covered breezeway. The home closed in the 1950s and the former home for unwed mothers has since been converted to a middle school.

Oliver Johnson House // 1905

Prairie style architecture is not nearly as common in New England as it is in the Mid-western United States. The style was almost always seen in early 20th century residential designs and is characterized by horizontality, low slope roofs, overhanging eaves, and open interior floor plans. This New England vernacular version of the Prairie style employs some Arts and Crafts influence with Tuscan columned porch and wood frame construction, rather than the more bulky and bold use of brick and stone. This residence sits on a busy state route in the sleepy town of Franklin, Connecticut. This house appears to have been built for Oliver Johnson who was about seventy by the time the house was built. Do you know of any other Prairie Style houses in New England?

Wilkinson House // 1908

Waban Village in Newton, Massachusetts has dozens of amazing examples of early 20th century residential architecture, possibly the best collection in the Boston area! This Arts and Crafts style residence was built around 1908 for William and Delia Wilkinson the former of the two owned the William H. Wilkinson Company, which manufactured oiling devices and oil cups for steam engines. Delia, his wife, owned their family home under her name. The home is an excellent example of the Craftsman style, with stucco siding, thick rounded column supporting the inset porch, oh and that catslide roof!!

Bauckman House // 1915

The Arts & Crafts movement in architecture provided some of the most stunning and well-designed properties of the early 20th century but sadly, there are not too many examples here in New England. When I find some, I always get excited and pull over to snap a photo! This home on busy Beacon Street in Waban, Newton, was built in 1915 for Harry W. Bauckman a salesman in Boston. The designs are credited to architect James G. Hutchinson, who specialized in Arts & Crafts and Tudor style buildings in the area. The Bauckman House is Foursquare in form which basically segments the house into four, large rooms on each floor with a stairhall in the center. The home is clad with banded shingles which extend to the piers at the porch, a subtle nod to Shingle style architecture. SWOON! I was later informed by a follower that this was also the home of landscape historian and author Judith Tankard for some time.

James H. Gardner House // 1923

My favorite part about the Boston suburbs is the sheer number of well-preserved early 20th century residences. The collection of Colonial Revival, Tudor, and Arts and Crafts style houses found in Waban Village, Newton, are among my favorites. This two-story stucco-clad house enclosed by a slate gable roof with exposed rafter ends was built in 1923 from designs by architect Harry Morton Ramsay. Ramsay was hired to design dozens of middle-upper class houses in Newton during its period of rapid development in the early 20th century. The original owner was James H. Gardner, who lived here with his family and a maid for a couple decades.

Harry Gregg House // c.1910

Harry A. Gregg, was the son of David Gregg, a lumber dealer and wooden goods manufacturer who built a mansion in Wilton’s East Village. Harry followed in his father’s footsteps, running the day-to-day business out of their Nashua, NH offices. With a lot of spare money, Gregg purchased pastoral land in Wilton Center and built a summer residence which may have also served as a gentleman’s farm. The Arts and Crafts style home showcases the best in the style with rubblestone, shingles, organic forms and exposed rafters. The house is pretty perfect!

Chemical Engine #13 Firehouse // 1909

Just a block from the Bethel AME Church (last post) in Jamaica Plain, Boston, you will find this absolutely charming old fire station. The station was built in 1909 about the same time as the new Forest Hills Train Station was completed, signaling a huge population and development boom in the area. To provide emergency and fire service to the newly developing neighborhoods surrounding the train station, the City of Boston hired the architectural firm of Moller and Smith to design a new station that would allow for horses and related apparatus as well as a new fire automobile to enter the building. The Arts and Crafts style building is constructed of brick supported by structural steel finished with Carolina pine at the interior. The building retains its pyramidal hipped roof in slate and a unique corner tower capped with a castellated parapet.

East Freetown Grange // 1916

The East Freetown Grange is a community organization founded in 1912, as a meeting place for the local chapter of The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Granges have been the heart of rural American communities for generations. The home of local chapters of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, Grange Halls are where farmers have traditionally gathered to learn new agricultural practices, develop strategic business partnerships, and barter for goods and services. Grange Halls also serve as a gathering place for community celebrations and annual agricultural fairs. These social halls can be found in agricultural towns and villages all over New England, and historically have been as important (or more) to farming communities as churches in those areas. Within years of the East Freetown forming an organization, they gathered enough funding to erect this Arts and Crafts style building, with rustic fieldstone piers, likely from stone pulled off farmland nearby. The hall is still used today for everything from agriculture fairs to Girl Scout meetings!