In 1832, Sylvanus B. Phinney purchased land on Main Street in Barnstable Village, building a home two years later. He never lived in the home and rented it to friends. The house was purchased in 1850 by 25-year-old Peter Pineo after he graduated from Harvard Medical College. During the Civil War, he worked with Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, and after the Civil War, in Hyannis, Pineo started a hospital for sick and disabled seamen. The home transferred hands many times throughout the remainder of the 19th and 20th centuries, with slight changes in almost its 200 year history. It has been owned by the Barnstable Historical Society since 2012.
This large, Federal period home in Barnstable Village was built around 1807 by Deacon Timothy Phinney (1746-1838), a merchant and member of the Whig Party as a State Senator and supporter of the Revolution. He lived into his nineties and fathered twelve children. The Phinney House was purchased by Daniel Carpenter Bacon, a prominent merchant who was born in Barnstable and went off to Boston in 1802 at 14 years old, to sail as a mate on William Sturgis’s ship Atahualpa. He was first mate on the Xenophon, and became its Captain in 1807. He later sailed on Theodore Lyman’s ship and distinguished himself in trade with China and in the Pacific Northwest fur trade, making his fortune. He retired from the seas and sold this house to his brother, Ebenezer Bacon, in 1837. Ebenezer worked locally as the second president of the Barnstable Savings Bank and as trustee of the Barnstable Academy. Upon his death, his widow Phoebe (1797-1882) inherited the house and lived there until her death with her three unmarried daughters. She left the house in her will to their three unmarried daughters, Louisa, Emily and Sarah, stating she knew the other seven children “would understand”. The home has been very well-preserved and is an excellent example of a Federal style mansion on the Cape.
Old North Church, formally the First Church of Christ Marblehead, was organized in 1635 by fishermen and mariners who formed a church to relieve them of the burden of travel to Salem in order to receive church sacraments and participate in civil affairs (before the separation of church and state). They met in member’s homes until 1638, when a meeting house was constructed overlooking the ocean. By 1695, a “modern” church structure was built on Franklin Street. The structure was not adequate for the growing wealth and prosperity of the town, as Marblehead emerged from local cod fishing to overseas trade. In 1824, merchant-politician William Reed helped the congregation acquire a large lot on Washington Street. Within a year, the new stone church was built. The stone to build the church was blasted from the ledge upon which it stands. In 1879, a wooden meeting house was built to accommodate an increased membership at prayer meetings. The detached meeting house was added onto in 1951, connecting it to the stone church. The two attached buildings were designed/re-designed in the Colonial Revival style to add to the architectural composition of the old Federal period church.
In 1803, sea-captain John J. Cross (1768-1804) began building a large Federal style house on land he purchased from his success on the open sea, largely working for the Hoopers. Sadly, before the home was finished, Captain Cross and all his men aboard his ship, the “Traveller” died at sea. The home, which was to be finished by the time of his return was left abandoned when news got back to the shore of the ship’s loss. His wife and three children were devastated and likely sold the property not long after. The property was owned later by Edmund Kimball, a sea-merchant who married into the Hooper Family. Kimball did well for himself and eventually owned multiple vessels. After his first wife, Mary Hooper Kimball died bearing him six children, Edmund remarried to Lydia Mugford Russell. The family home across from the town’s common has been very well preserved since and is an excellent example of a vernacular three-story Federal home on the North Shore.
Oh, Marblehead, why are you so pretty? The town of Marblehead was originally called Massebequash after the river which ran between it and Salem. The land was inhabited by the Naumkeag tribe under the sachem Nanepashemet. Epidemics in the early 1600s devastated the tribe’s population leading to it’s colonization. In 1635, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay established the town of Marblehead on land that belonged to Salem. The citizens in Marblehead were less devout and conservative than others in Salem, and they incorporated as their own town in 1649. Now… the name. Marblehead is believed to have gotten its name by settlers who mistook its granite ledges and cliffs for marble. The mistake stuck as the namesake. The town thrived as a fishing village, with many fishermen and sea-based jobs, with homes built on small lots along the warren of narrow streets. This home sits on Washington Street, one of the major streets in the Old Town. The home was built around 1810 for John Goodwin on land formerly owned by his grandfather. The Federal style home sits atop a raised stone foundation and has been excellently preserved.
Located next to the Blanchard House, the old Wilton Center Baptist Church stands as one of the only brick buildings in Wilton Center, New Hampshire. Baptists in town originally met and worshipped in nearby Mason, NH, but eventually began services in town. By the 1820s, a new edifice was needed, and the members pooled resources, largely from wealthier members for funding for a new church. The Federal style brick church is stunning with its recessed arched panels surrounding the windows and doors, and its steeple. The building has been converted to residential use.
Oliver Tarbell and his wife Sandy erected this stunning brick Federal farmhouse in Cavendish around 1830 for their ever-growing family. The couple had thirteen children who survived infancy, so even this large home was likely stuffed to the gills and hectic! Oliver appears to have built the home, incorporating his ancestral home onto the rear of this brick house, as a rear ell. The house recently sold in 2022, so of course I had to gawk at the amazing interior photos…
In the early 1780s, Leonard Proctor and Salmon Dutton and their families, moved from Massachusetts and settled in present-day Cavendish, Vermont and gave their names to the two major settlements on the Black River, Proctorsville and Duttonsville. Leonard Proctor was born in Westford, Massachusetts and fought in the Revolutionary War at a young age. He settled in Cavendish in 1782 and built a modest house/tavern, and underwent developing the village in his name, Proctorsville. By the early 1800s, Leonard was a highly esteemed member of town and had the funds to erect the finest Federal style manse in the village, to showcase the stability and wealth of his community. The home exhibits scalloped cornice moldings and the carved wood flowering vines springing from urns on the upper pilasters that have a folk/Federal quality that stands out as a very unique design detail. Carved Adamesque bell flowers that flank the door suggest Asher Benjamin’s Windsor influence. Elliptical sunbursts above the pilasters, elaborate guilloche friezes, and the broad semielliptical attic light have a later Federal character. It is possible that Leonard had this house built, and it was “modernized” by one of his heirs.
John Hart (1733-1790) a ropemaker in pre-Revolutionary Portsmouth, New Hampshire, built a house in the city’s North End where he and his family resided. He died in 1790, and apparently willed the home to his housekeeper as he must not have had children. Early in the 19th century, the home underwent a huge overhaul, with a third floor added to the two-story Georgian home and the facade altered in the Federal style, all to resemble a traditional merchant “mansion house”. In the 1830s, the Greek Revival portico (porch) was added to the entry, to really make this house a blending of styles! In the 20th century, the Hart House was converted to a nursing home. In the 1960s, urban renewal plans were unveiled which would raze this home and hundreds of others. Luckily, this and just over a dozen more, were moved and saved from the wrecking ball.
Continuing with my mini-series on The Hill, a neighborhood of 18th and 19th century houses and buildings saved from Urban Renewal in Portsmouth’s North End neighborhood, I present the James Neal House. Built in 1831 and taxed a year later, the house stands out as a late Federal style property, a style that was well on its way out in popularity. Additionally, the home is the only extant brick house in this area of town from the period. James Neal was listed in directories as a merchant, possibly being involved in the shipping of goods from plantations in the Caribbean, which were farmed by enslaved Africans. James died just a few years after his home was built. The brick house is three-stories with a hipped roof. The entry is surmounted by a semi-circular fanlight set within a recessed opening, a modest take on the Federal style.