Reverend Hanson House // 1853

This Carpenter Gothic house in Gardiner, Maine, was built in 1853 by Reverend J.W. Hanson, author of the 1852 History of Gardiner, Pittston and West Gardiner and the second minister (1850-54) of the Universalist Church (last post), after its organization in 1843. Hanson was likely inspired by the design of his church when having his own home built, as he followed the Gothic mode. His house features board-and-batten siding, bargeboards, and trefoil windows and carvings in the said bargeboards. Reverend Hanson lived in the home until 1868 when he moved to Dubuque, Iowa. The home is very well preserved and one of the best examples of the Carpenter Gothic style in the state.

David Forrest House // c.1857

This home in Schenectady’s Stockade Historic District appears to have been built in the mid-19th century, and is an excellent example of a modestly sized Gothic Revival cottage. The house was occupied around 1860 by David P. Forrest, who served one term as Mayor of Schenectady in 1859, later becoming an Inspector of State Prisons from 1860 to 1862. The amazing Gothic bargeboard and other trimmings have remained and add so much intrigue to the home’s design. And that lancet window in the gable end! Swoon.

“Longfield” // 1848

“Longfield”, aka the Abby DeWolf House was built in 1848 and is one of the finest homes in Bristol, Rhode Island. The home was completed from designs by Providence architect Russell Warren, who also designed other mansions in town (I’ll post those later on in this series), the Westminster Arcade in Providence, and “Hey Bonnie Hall” a since demolished Federal style home I featured a couple days ago. Longfield’s name derives from the 60-acre meadow, part of the 300-acre Henry DeWolf farm, given to Abby DeWolf when she married Charles Dana Gibson at just 21 years of age. The DeWolf Family paid for the home as a gift to Abby. The DeWolf Family is infamous for being highly active in the slave trade, and was believed to have transported over 11,000 enslaved people from Africa to the Americas before congress abolished the African Slave Trade in 1808, which “prohibited the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States…from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.” This policy did little as many owners of slaves just kept children born into slavery and also opened plantations in the Caribbean and South America. After Abby died in 1901, the home went to her granddaughter who maintained the home. By the 1970s, the home was sold out of the family and began a period of decades of deterioration to its current state. The interior is effectively gutted, but some original woodwork and fireplaces remain. Recent calls for a townhouse development with ample parking was proposed and approved by the town a couple years ago, but would greatly diminish its siting and architectural integrity. Nothing has happened on the site, but here’s to an appropriate restoration!

Justin Morrill Homestead // 1851

One of the most stunning Gothic Revival homes in New England has to be the Justin Morrill Homestead in the tiny town of Strafford, Vermont. The home was designed by and built for Senator Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898), who was born in town and worked with his mentor Jedediah Harris at the local store. He later expanded and owned numerous stores in the area and diversified, investing in railroads, banks and real estate in the region. He retired in the late 1840s and became a gentleman farmer, building this Gothic Revival home in town. In 1854 Morrill was elected to the Thirty-fourth Congress as a Whig. He was a founder of the Republican Party, and won re-election five times. In 1866, Morrill was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Union Republican, serving until his death in 1898. Morrill is best known for sponsoring the Morrill Act, also known as the Land Grant College Act. This act was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, and established federal funding for higher education in every state of the country. Senator Morrill primarily used this house as a summer residence, as he spent much of his time in Washington, DC. The property remained in the Morrill family, until World War II. The house was eventually acquired by preservationists, who sold it to the state in 1969 for use as a Historical Site and museum.

Justin Morrill Barn

Sturges Cottage // 1840

In the 1840s in New England, one architectural style commanded a large majority of all new house styles, Greek Revival. A divergence from the Classical designs of the Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival styles which dominated at the time, the Romantic movement began its first true breaths across New England. The Gothic Revival and Italianate styles are often thought to be the first couple styles which brought the frills and detailing personified by Victorian-era architecture.

This home in Fairfield, Connecticut was built in 1840 to a design by Joseph Collins Wells, it is one of the oldest-known and best-documented examples of architect-designed Gothic Revival architecture. The home was built for for Jonathan Sturges (1802–1874), a businessman and patron of the arts. It is one of the earliest known examples of architect-designed Gothic Revival architecture, a style more often taken by local builders from pattern books published by the style’s proponents. The home was likely a pre-cursor to architect Joseph Wells later commission, the famous Roseland Cottage.

Frederick Sears House // 1851

The oldest extant house (and my favorite) in the Cottage Farm development of Brookline is the Frederick Sears House. This house is significant as one of the major surviving examples of Gothic Revival domestic architecture that was part of the original Cottage Farm development. David Sears laid out the parks and squares in the Cottage Farm neighborhood in 1849 on land he acquired from Uriah Cotting in 1818. He also built houses for himself and his children. His own house, erected in 1843, stood at the comer of Pleasant Street and Freeman Street. Sears built houses for his daughters, Ellen, Harriet, Anna, and Grace, all of which are no longer extant. Only the house he built for his son Frederick at 24 Cottage Farm Road survives among the Sears family houses.The large Gothic Revival home was constructed from Roxbury Puddingstone with granite trim. Possibly a work by George Minot Dexter, it is the highest style Gothic home, equipped with bargeboards, quoins and trefoil and quatrefoil windows.

Elijah Emerson House // 1846

Built for Elijah. C Emerson in 1846 this estate house in Brookline Village is one of the oldest extant in the area. Elijah Carlton Emerson (1807-1888) was New Hampshire and eventually settled in the Boston area with his family. In adulthood, Emerson became a wealthy Boston merchant as Director of the Second National Bank and President of the Middlesex Horse Railroad. Emerson established his estate on the land that is now Emerson Garden in 1846, which included the house and carriage barn and was expanded to include a cottage and a pond with a boathouse. Towards the end of his life, Emerson desired to make more money in retirement, and sold building lots from his estate to friends, retaining some for himself. Many of the lots surrounding his estate were developed as rental properties in fashionable Victorian-era styles. Upon his death in 1888, the estate went to his widow and daughters, the latter sold the estate to the Town of Brookline, who wanted to build a public park on the land. The town paid to have the Emerson house and carriage house moved across Davis Avenue, and Emerson’s granddaughter Mrs. Cullen B. Snell and her husband moved into
the relocated house.

Thomas Aspinwall Davis House //

The area known as the Lindens in Brookline Village was once an apple and cherry orchard known as Holden Farm, owned by James Holden. Holden had married Lucy Aspinwall Davis, a widow who had multiple children from her previous marriage. After Holden and his new wife died, the Holden farmland was split between the heirs, and Thomas Aspinwall Davis bought up the shares from his brothers. He envisioned the farmland could be a subdivision in a rural setting of large homes on large lots. The result, the Lindens area is the earliest planned development in Brookline and was laid out as a “garden suburb” for those wishing to escape the growing congestion of Boston. As originally conceived in 1843, it reflected the latest ideals of planned residential development for a semi-rural setting with curvilinear streets and small parks. Many homes were built in the 1840s in prominent styles at the time, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival and Italianate.

One of the largest homes, built for Davis, was located to face Linden Park. The home is a blending of Gothic Revival and Italianate styles with a central gable adorned with decorative bargeboards and belvedere at the roof. The home had a gorgeous Gothic Revival porch which was removed in 1903, when the home was turned northward to face Linden Place. The front porch was replaced with an Arts and Crafts portico and lost much of the original detailing. While the neighborhood lost the original bucolic appeal at the turn of the century due to infill construction, many of the original 1840s homes remain.