On the north slope of Beacon Hill, you’ll find an excellent mix of early 19th century townhouses, early 20th century tenements, and landmarks related to Boston’s vibrant Black and Jewish communities which historically lived here. One thing you won’t see much of is wood-frame houses, many of which were replaced by the large, boxy tenements when land values and populations increased on the North Slope. One of the rare survivors of wooden homes from the 19th century here is this very narrow home on South Russell Street, built around 1860. Maps from the period show this house being owned by a Caroline Peirce. This tiny house was subdivided into four units around the time of the Great Depression!
In 1897, tailor Charles L. Hovey and his wife Bertha, had this house in Waban built for their family. The architecture really stands out as an eclectic blending of styles, common at the end of the 19th century, when architects and builders would design homes to exhibit architectural details from multiple styles, all under one roof. The shingled house has a steep gable roof and three gabled dormers, which reflects Queen Anne theme. The diamond-pane windows and the technique of cantilevered dormers and the second floor overhanging the first, is First Period-Medieval in style, a unique interpretation of American architecture. What do you think of this home?
One of the best houses in Waban Village in Newton is this absolutely stunning Shingle style/Queen Anne home perched high on Moffat Hill. This house was built in 1888 for Louis K. Harlow, who began his career as a professional artist in 1880 and traveled Europe to study the work of prominent painters. Back in the Boston area, Harlow painted nature and landscapes and produced etchings that were shown in the Boston Art Club and sold worldwide. He later got into poetry and published multiple works. Harlow hired the firm of Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow, to design his country retreat. I assume there is a relation between Louis K. and the architect Alfred Branch Harlow, but I would love to find out the connection! The design is quintessentially Queen Anne, with the asymmetry, complex roof form, varied siding types, and diamond window sashes. The shingled second floor overhangs the fieldstone first floor which to me, evokes the Shingle style where the house seems to have grown out from the earth. I can only imagine how spectacular the interior is!
In the early 20th century, Norway, Maine and the surrounding towns were sought-after for their natural beauty with large lakes and rivers with untouched expanses of forest. Upper-middle class residents of Portland, Boston and other larger cities in New England built more rustic summer homes, compared to the elaborate “White Elephants” in Newport, Rhode Island. This home in Norway was named Wrightstone and was built in 1925 for the Wright Family. The U-shaped home is constructed from rubblestone, likely gathered from the land on which it sits. The house blends the Arts and Crafts movement with the uncommon (in Maine) Spanish Colonial Revival style, with the terracotta roof! I bet the interior is so cozy!
Getting lost in New England is always fun because you can simply stumbleupon old farmhouses like this, which look like a setting of a movie! Located in northern Willington, CT, this farmhouse dates to the Revolutionary War! David Lillibridge (1744-1831) of Exeter, Rhode Island, served from 15 to 17 in the French and Indian War, and manned Fort Stanwix. In 1767, he was militia lieutenant, at the age of 25 converted, and entered the Baptist ministry. In 1777, he purchased a farm (unclear if there was a house on the land) from a Moses Holmes in modern day Willington and resided in this old saltbox Georgian home. The home remained in the Lillibridge family at least until the 1870s, when it was owned by Burnham Lillibridge. The house was moved from its previous location right on the street, and set back into the bucolic landscape, a fitting move!
Located in downtown Millbury, MA, the town’s local post office stands as a great example of Art Deco and Colonial Revival architecture styles, showing how well different styles can be incorporated into a single, complimentary design. The Millbury Post Office building was constructed in 1940 from plans by Louis Adolph Simon, who served as Supervising Architect in the Office of the Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury from 1933 until 1939, when the office was moved to the Public Works Administration / Works Progress Administration. The post office was designed at the tail end of the New Deal programs to help stimulate local economies by building infrastructure and providing jobs to locals. Inside, a mural “An Incident in the King Philip’s War, 1670” was painted by Joe Lasker and installed in 1941 and was “revivified” in 1991.
Built about 1758, this Georgian house in Newport was the home of John Tillinghast, a representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1744 and 1749, and a wealthy merchant and ship owner. It is not unlikely to assume that Tillinghast was involved in the slave trade and transportation of goods in the Indies, like many other wealthy Rhode Island merchants at the time. During the American Revolution, General Nathanael Greene was quartered in this house. Greene was born to a Quaker family in what is now Warwick, Rhode Island, but because of his military affairs, the pacifist Quakers disowned him. After several decisive victories against the British in the Carolinas, Greene was named Commander of the Southern Army, second in command to George Washington! Also during this time, two of Greene’s aides are said to have visited him while he resided at the house. One was the Lithuanian General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, an engineer who designed fortifications along Delaware River and West Point. Another was the Inspector-General of the Continental Army, German-born Friedrich von Steuben. This house is significant and shows the international nature of the War for Independence, which saw American forces joined by French forces and German mercenaries to fight the British. In the early 19th century, the home was occupied by William C. Gibbs, Governor of Rhode Island from 1821-1824. The high-style Georgian home has been enlarged over the years, but remains one of the most significant properties in the town!
Canton, Connecticut, the only town in the state named after a city in China! The land which we now know as Canton had long been inhabited, specifically by the Wappingers, a group in the larger Algonquin speaking tribes. Canton was incorporated out of Simsbury in 1806, and named after the City of Canton in China (now known as Guangzhou), though I am not sure why. The town quickly developed two main villages. Collinsville sits on the Farmington River and its power was harvested for industry; while the center village grew differently as an agricultural village of farms. At the center of town sat a green for civic and town functions and gatherings. The town constructed a school here as far back as 1759, when the rural village was still a part of Simsbury. This is the fourth building on the green and it was built in 1872, and can be classified as Italianate in style. The building was occupied as a school until 1949, and it was used for other city uses until 1971, when the building was rented to the Canton Artist’s Guild and the building was renamed Gallery on the Green. The building remains community-focused and holds exhibits of local artists! Much of the rest of Canton Center lost all of its bucolic charm when the main road became commercialized, prioritizing speeding cars over a walkable village.
I know.. I know.. It’s not a building, but I couldn’t help myself but to find this hidden cemetery and take some photos! Tucked way off a street, across railroad tracks and down into a grove of trees, I came across this Colonial-era cemetery known as the Old Settlers’ Burying Ground. Established by 1674, it is the town’s oldest formal cemetery with gravestones dispersed, both standing up to the heavens and seemingly jutting out of the ground like crooked teeth. The Old Settlers’ Burying Ground contains approximately 196 stones and an estimated 230 burials. The stones in the cemetery reflect the continuum of headstone iconography popular from the 17th through 19th centuries, depicting winged death’s head, soul effigy, heart, hourglass, skeleton, and cherubs, to name a few. The cemetery is thought to possibly have unmarked graves of the colonists who were killed during the Lancaster Raid, the first in a series of five planned raids on English colonist towns during the winter of 1675 as part of King Philip’s War. Metacom, known by English colonists as King Philip, was a Wampanoag sachem involved in leading and organizing Wampanoag warriors during the war. The tension that led to these raids began from the decline in the fur trade due to overhunting, the decrease in the native population due to European-derived diseases, and the invasion of English livestock on native land. According to one estimate, at least fourteen Lancaster inhabitants died and twenty-three were captured and taken as prisoners, some of those 14 are likely buried here in unmarked graves.
One of the most recognizable buildings in Salem (especially in the month of October) is the former East Church, now occupied by the Salem Witch Museum. The former East Church was constructed between 1844 and 1846 for the oldest branch of the First Church of Salem, which originally organized in 1718. The stunning Gothic Revival church has been credited to architect Minard Lafever (1798-1854), a prominent New York architect known for his Gothic, Greek and other Exotic Revival style buildings, including the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn designed at the same time as the East Church in Salem and strikingly similar in design. The church suffered from a massive fire in the early 20th century and the church eventually moved out in the 1950s. Before this, the church truncated the two castellated towers likely as a cost-saving measure as opposed to restoring them. The building was occupied by the Salem Auto Museum until another fire in 1969. In 1972, the Salem Witch Museum moved in and completely updated the interior (not much was original after the two fires). The museum is a huge draw in the month of October, for obvious reasons!