Harkness Estate – Carriage House // 1908

Another of the stunning buildings on the Harkness Estate is this massive all-purpose building that served a variety of functions, but I will call it the Carriage House. The building was constructed in 1908 and designed by James Gamble Rogers, mimicking the Renaissance Revival grandeur of the main home, Eolia. As previously mentioned, the large, U-shaped building was a multi-use support compound for the Harkness Family and their farm. The South Wing (right) of the building served as a clubhouse for Edward Harkness and his friends, with a billiards room, squash court, and two bowling lanes. This wing has large windows looking out towards the ocean and the large gardens on the property. The central block contained a garage with a turntable to facilitate the parking of limousines, a gas pump and a car wash for Mr. Harkness and his growing automobile collection. The North Wing (left) contained the horse stables, carriage area, tack room, smithy, and even a space dedicated to dog grooming. Upon close inspection you can see small rounded stones near the portals to allow the wheels to hit them rather than damage the building. Perhaps most importantly, the Carriage House was the location for the furnace room with its huge steam boiler. This boiler heated the Carriage House as well as the Mansion via an underground steam line. Apparently the building will soon be undergoing a restoration. Fingers crossed!

George Allen Carriage House // c.1895

Built at the same time as his summer residence in Rye Beach (last post), George Allen had this gorgeous carriage house built to store his horses and carriage to get around his summertime town. The carriage house is a blending of the Colonial Revival and Shingle styles that mimics much of the main home’s design including the gambrel roof and columned entry. Sometime in the 20th century, with no more use of a carriage house, the property was sold off by heirs of Mr. Allen and converted to a private residence. The new owners have preserved the essence of the original use and made the home stand out among the adjacent mansions.

Elijah Williams Stable // 1865

Located on the flat of Beacon Hill, built on 19th century-made land along the Charles River, this stable stands out as one of the best preserved in the neighborhood. The Second Empire style stable was built for owner Elijah Williams, a shipping merchant, who lived in a massive townhome in Louisburg Square, up Beacon Hill. As part of the stable, Mr. Williams’ coachman, Andrew McCullough had an apartment where he and his family would live, while taking care of the horses and driving over Elijah’s carriage whenever he asked. The brick structure features granite stone trim, central carriage entry, and a horsehead above.

Joy Court Stable // c.1850

This charming building at Joy Street on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA was built around 1850 as a livery stable. The brick building appears on historic atlas maps in 1874 and owned by a C. Loring and a William Gray. The stables are a utilitarian Greek Revival style constructed of brick with granite sills, lintels, and carriage door surround. The building would have likely housed
horses and carriages on the ground floor, storage of hay and equipment on the second floor, and a dwelling unit for a liveryman (person attendant of the stable) at the upper floor. The structure was utilized as a carriage house until the 1930s, when a professional repertory group known as the Boston Stage Society occupied the space for the production of plays. In 1940, the brick stable still housed the Bam Theatre and its acting troupe, the Ford Hall Forum Players. Sometime after WWII, the rear wood frame structure was added onto and converted to condominium units and the brick stable was converted to a single family dwelling which it remains as to this day. One of the things I love about about historic cities all over the region is the creative reuse of significant buildings which preserve them in perpetuity, further adding to the layers of history.