Potter House // 1909

Murray Potter (1871-1915), a professor of Romance Languages at Harvard, purchased an older Shingle-style house at this location in Lancaster with the desire for it to become his summer residence with wife, Bessie. They deemed the 1895 house too small and decided to raze the 14 year old dwelling and construct a larger, more academic home. Bessie was born and raised in Salem, and her upbringing was likely the inspiration for their Lancaster house. This home was designed as a copy of the 1782 Pierce-Nichols House in Salem, designed by Samuel McIntire. Murray died at just 44 and Bessie lived at the homes for just a couple summers alone (they did not have children) until she sold or gifted the house in Lancaster to the Perkins School as a dwelling for the unmarried female teachers. It remains owned by the private school.

Bennett House // 1913

Seemingly constructed in the early 19th century as a Federal style home, this house in Brookline was actually constructed 100 years later in 1913 as a Federal Revival mansion for real estate developer and mortgage broker Henry Bennett. The home was originally located on Walnut Street, opposite the First Parish Church (featured in the last post), but was moved away from the street in 1935, to front a smaller street, Hedge Street, developed by Martin P. Kennard. The stunning home was designed by the architectural firm of Kilham and Hopkins, both of whom attended MIT and designed many stunning properties all around the region in the early 20th century, many in Revival styles.

Parkman Terrace // 1892

Parkman Terrace, of the stunning Beaconsfield Terrace apartment buildings in Brookline was built in 1892 and was one of the last two completed. A divergence from the more Chateauesque designs that predated Parkman Terrace, this building followed a more classical Federal Revival design. Designed by the architectural firm of Fehmer and Page, the block of six attached rowhomes is 3-1/2 stories high, and is symmetrical with a central closed pediment with a shield bearing the date of construction. There are gabled pedimented dormers, a decorative cornice, and porticoed entryways with Corinthian columns. At the second floor are Palladian windows in blind arches, as well as round-arched window with keystones.

Almy-Palfrey House // 1853

This house on Ivy Street in the Cottage Farm neighborhood of Brookline, MA was built in 1853 as one of many single-family rental properties on the former Lawrence estate. This house was rented by the Amos Lawrence under the supervision of his attorney until his death in 1886, to friends as Lawrence did not want to sell the properties near his home and have bad neighbors! It appears the home was often rented to Frederick Almy (1841-1898) from the time it was built into the 1870s. Almy was an attorney who had an office in Downtown Boston. The original home was of a two-story brick mansard design, later altered in the 1920s for owner John G. Palfrey, also an attorney who later worked at the Harvard Law School. Palfrey hired architect R.A. Fisher to box out the third story where the mansard roof was with brick veneer and give the home a Federal Revival design. In 1925, architects Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott were hired to construct a one story playroom on the front corner of the house.

Kirstein Memorial Library // 1930

The Kirstein Library is architecturally notable as one of the city’s best examples of the Federal Revival style. The design, inspired (mostly copied) by the central arch of Charles Bulfinch’s 1793 “Tontine Crescent” on Franklin Street, reflects the architects’ academic interest and study of the Federal aesthetic. The Federal Revival building features many Federal features including the Palladian window on the second story, the Ionic pilasters, central lunette window, and a triangular gable pediment.

The Kirstein Memorial Library is historically significant as the sixth “business” library in the United States and was operated as part of the Boston Public Library system. Louis E. Kirstein, the Vice-President of Filene’s Department Store, donated $200,000 for the cost of the building and its furnishings in memory of his father, Edward Kirstein. The main purpose of the library was to provide convenient access to information needed by the business and community. The first and second floors were devoted to magazines, bulletins, government reports, and books dealing with business and economics. The library was later moved to the BPL Main Branch at Copley Square and the building is still owned by the City of Boston.

Somerville Museum // 1925

Located at the end of Westwood Road, facing Central Street in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Somerville is the gorgeous Somerville Museum (Somerville Historical Society). The Museum building is a two-story Federal Revival building, executed in red brick, with brick quoins at its
corners. The front façade has an enclosed pediment, with a circular window in the middle. The centrally placed double entry doors on Central Street are surmounted by a fanlight with interlaced mullions and has a Federal Revival pedimented surround.

In 1897, a group of businessmen, religious, social, cultural, educational and municipal leaders came together to found the Somerville Historical Society with many of these founding members were descendants of the original settlers. Between 1925 and 1929, the building was built as place for the members to meet and organize their artifacts and library. Designed by George Loring and William Dykeman, the building is a very well-preserved example of the Federal Revival style.

Russell Jennings Manufacturing Company Offices // 1906

The Russell Jennings Manufacturing Company was created by Russell Jennings (1800-1888), a Reverend from Deep River who later invented (and patented) the first extension drill bit in America. Seeing the opportunity for wealth and a future for his family, he began a company which manufactured the tools. He quit the church and became an inventor, quickly growing his family business from the ground up.

The auger bits were manufactured in a facility in Deep River and shipped all over the world, with the Connecticut River and rail lines providing easy transportation of their product. The business continued after Jennings’ death in 1888 and began to evolve, creating new tools. The business continued and grew, requiring a new facility.

The company moved north to Chester, CT and had a brick office building made in the Federal Revival style in 1906, shortly after their new tool handle was patented and production began. The 30’x50′ building is two stories and appears much like when it was built over a century ago. The first floor housed the company offices, shipping, and stock rooms and on the second floor, the director’s office and packing rooms.

The company was bought by Stanley Works by 1944, and the building was sold. It was occupied by a couple industrial companies, including Old Town Corporation until a fire gutted the building in 1976. It was vacant for years after. It appears that the building has been converted to residential use.