Minot-Herter House // c.1825

Set along Beacon Street, one of the finest streets in Boston, this townhouse has uninterrupted views of the Boston Common and Public Garden. The house was built around 1825 after a large fire destroyed nearly all the homes on the block. Build it and they will come, and the upper-class Boston elite did! Attorney William Minot (1783-1873) purchased the land here as early as 1817, and is said to have hired Peter Banner, the English architect who designed Park Street Church, to design the first house on this site, which stood less than 10 years. Minot had a new home built in the 1820s and lived there until his death in 1873. By the late 1920s, Christian Archibald Herter lived here. Herter held a number of important offices in state and national government, serving as the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Governor of Massachusetts, and President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State (1959 to 1961). It was Herter who likely added the Federal Revival features on the house, including the porch, dormers and updated door surround.

Hotel Royal // 1886

This large apartment house at the corner of Beacon and Exeter Streets in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston commands its site with a six-story rounded corner oriel. Built in 1885-6 for George H. Brooks, a developer, the apartment house exhibits a Romanesque Revival design with the use of a monumental arch at the entrance, decorative brownstone and terra cotta, and the large full-height rounded bays. The apartment hotel was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley, who designed many apartment houses and tenements in the Boston area. Sadly, the conical roof atop the corner oriel was removed sometime in the 20th century, somewhat minimizing its architectural integrity. The apartment hotel is now home to 30 condominium units.

Warren House // 1913

This stunning townhouse on Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston was constructed in 1913 for George Eddy Warren and his wife Frances Knowles Warren. The home, designed by Parker, Thomas & Rice, is one of the more elegant Classical Revival townhomes in the city, with its symmetrical, prominent bowfront, piano nobile with full-height windows, classical lintels, and thoughtful use of brick and stone construction. George E. Warren was a coal dealer, who was selected to head the U.S. Army’s Raw Materials Division during WWI for his expertise. During the war he was in charge of the fuel and forage division, overseeing an important aspect of 20th century warfare, petroleum manufacturing and distribution. His wife Frances was the daughter of Francis B. Knowles, a co-founder of Rollins College in Florida, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Florida. Frances volunteered her time in Boston as President of the YWCA, progressing women’s empowerment and social justice in the city. After successive ownership, the townhome was acquired by Emerson College and combined with its neighbor on the interior. In 2000, the home was reverted back to a residence and houses two condominium units.

S.S. Pierce Store // 1898

If you have ever been to Coolidge Corner in Brookline, you have had the pleasure of gawking at one of the most beautiful buildings in the town, the S.S. Pierce Store at the corner of Beacon and Harvard Streets. This major Brookline landmark was built in 1898-99 for an S.S. Pierce Store. S. S. Pierce was originally founded in Downtown Boston before locating on Copley Square, to a building which is no longer standing. When it opened in 1898, the S.S. Pierce Store at Coolidge Corner sold imported goods from all over the world, as well as local provisions from Boston area farmers and artisans. The company, effectively a high-end grocery store, even provided free delivery to customers, way before Amazon provided that service!

Architects Winslow and Wetherell of Boston designed the Tudor Revival building with its iconic corner tower with clock, steep slate roof, and cross timbering with stucco siding. The original building featured an opening under the tower’s roof for people to stand and observe the street, sadly, it was damaged in the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, and was rebuilt without that belvedere.

Circa 1910 image of SS Pierce Building courtesy of Historic New England. Note the balcony at the corner tower.