After learning a little about some of the buildings in Dorset, Vermont, which were saved and relocated to the town from land flooded for the Quabbin Reservoir, I wanted to visit one of the surviving towns there to see it for myself. I found myself in Ware, Massachusetts, a town with a history that parallels many in central and northern Massachusetts. The town was first settled by white European colonists by 1717, and incorporated in 1775. The town was named after the English town of Ware in Hertfordshire. The Town of Ware began as a sleepy farming town with inns and taverns dotting the landscape until industrial sites were developed on the banks of the Weir River. The post Civil War era (1860s–1900s) brought a new prosperity to the now established textile mill town. “Ware Factory Village” sprang up overnight and formed the basis for new growth and development, to the east of the former town center. From this, a new Town Hall was needed, and where better to locate it, than the economic and population center of town?! The Ware Town Hall was built in 1885-1886 from plans by the prominent Boston firm of Hartwell & Richardson. Sadly, a fire gutted much of the building in 1935, but the shell remains (though needing much repair). The town, like many former industrial centers, has struggled to re-invent itself, but a growing population is a great indicator of good things to come!
In 1888, William Allan Wilde, a Boston publisher who grew up in Acton, purchased land on Main Street to be used as the site for a new memorial library, in “memory of those brave and patriotic men of Acton who so freely gave Time, Strength and Health, and many of them their Lives in the war of the Rebellion, 1861-65.” The former Fletcher Homestead which was located here, was moved to a nearby street. The Richardsonian Romanesque building was designed by the Boston architectural firm of Hartwell and Richardson. The building displays traditional Romanesque materials with its brick wall surfaces, brownstone and terra cotta trim and detailing, and slate roof. The large Syrian arched entry is a hallmark in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, which works extremely well with this design.
Located in the stunning Longwood neighborhood of Brookline, MA, the Gahm House stands out not only for its size, but stunning details and architectural design. This house was designed in 1907 by the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver, one of the premier firms of the region at the time. Joseph and Mary Gahm hired the firm to design their new home the same year the firm designed a bottling plant (no longer extant) in South Boston for Mr. Gahm’s business. Joseph Gahm was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, who emigrated to Boston in 1854 and initially worked as a tailor. In the early 1860s, Gahm opened a restaurant in Charlestown, by the late 1860s he added a small bottling operation to this business. The bottling business soon expanded to such an extent that he was able to give up the restaurant business and open a large bottling plant in 1888. He eventually moved operations to South Boston where there was more room for transportation and shipping capabilities. Their stuccoed house in Brookline is especially notable for the well preserved carvings at the entrance, which include: faces, floral details, lions, and owls perched atop the newel posts. What do you think of this beauty?
Upon first inspection, this house – while beautiful – looks like most others I post. Looking closer, I realized that the second floor is covered in slate shingles, something I haven’t seen before in Brookline. Designed by the powerhouse firm of Hartwell and Richardson, the house is an eclectic mix of the Shingle and Colonial Revival styles. The home was built for a Reuben L. Roberts, a prominent lawyer in Boston.
The Massachusetts Normal Art School was one of the many Richardsonian Romanesque buildings constructed in the Back Bay, but it did not survive like so many others did. The building’s history goes back to the 1860s, when wealthy Bostonians petitioned for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (State Government) to assist with the founding of new institutions to enhance the quality of life in the state. Due to this, the legislature funded three major institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1860) and the Museum of Fine Arts (1870), and founded in 1873, the Massachusetts Normal Art School. The Normal Arts School was tasked with training future teachers for public schools and budding professional artists in the arts, with courses ranging from drawing to architecture. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts rented space in various buildings in Downtown Boston before they appropriated $85,000 and hired the firm of Hartwell & Richardson to design and oversee construction of the new school at the corner of Newbury and Exeter Streets. The Richardsonian Romanesque building was constructed of red brick and brown freestone, featured entrances on both street facades, and held gallery spaces inside for members of the public to view the work created at the school. The school outgrew the original building, which could comfortably fit just 100 students, and in 1929, a new building was constructed at Brookline and Longwood Avenues. Before moving one more time to its current location in 1983, the school was renamed to the Massachusetts College of Art and is best known as MassArt today. The original school in Back Bay was demolished in 1967 and was home to a surface parking lot before the existing building was constructed.
One of the few architect designed buildings in Upper Falls Village in Newton is the Ralph Waldo Emerson School built in 1904-1905. The village school in Upper Falls consistently was outgrown by the rapidly growing population in the 19th century, leading to new schools being built every couple decades. The 1846 Village School (featured previously) was outgrown and a major landowner, Otis Pettee willed a valuable piece of land to the town for the erection of a new school and firehouse, both were built that next year. By 1869, a second schoolhouse was built on the site in the fashionable Second Empire style, named the Wade School. As expected, the two adjacent school buildings were deemed obsolete and the town, inflated by the industrial wealth of Upper Falls, hired the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver to design a large brick schoolhouse, with a cost of $92,000. The building was occupied as a school until the 1990s until (you guessed it) the schools in the town consolidated, and the Emerson School was then converted to residential units.
The Frederick C. Bowditch House, on Rawson Road in Brookline, is associated with the family of attorney and abolitionist William Ingersoll Bowditch and his wife, Sarah R. H. Bowditch. Built for their third son, Frederick Channing Bowditch (1854-1925), this house was built behind his parents’ house on Tappan Street, which was demolished in 1939. Frederick C. Bowditch was a conveyancer and active in the settlement of estates held by individuals in greater Boston. He hired the esteemed architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver to design this massive transitional home which blends three late 18th century styles: Queen Anne, Shingle, and Colonial Revival. Of particular note are two large cross-gambrel bays that enliven the massing of the huge façade.
The property transferred by 1945 a manufacturer until, Harold Tovish and his wife, Marianna Pineda, both Expressionist sculptors, moved here in 1970. Tovish shortly after moving in, was named a fellow at the newly established Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. A New York native who relocated to the Boston area in the late 1950s, Harold Tovish (1921-2008) worked in bronze, polished aluminum, and mixed media.
The second building constructed for Thayer Academy (see here for the first) is the Glover Building, a handsome Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival gymnasium building. Sited to create a quadrangle for the new campus, the brick building respects the earlier building, yet is of its time and style to showcase how institutional design tastes change. In 1891, Mrs. Sarah White Glover, at the age of 87, inherited the White family wealth. She would pass away a year later. Prior to her death, she had consulted with Judge French, President of the Board of Trustees at Thayer Academy, about how best to spend her money for educational purposes. French suggested that she donate to Thayer Academy as the school was in need of a gymnasium. Glover obliged and willed the necessary funds to the school. Architects for the building were Hartwell and Richardson of Boston, the successor firm to the original Thayer Academy Building. The building had a boys’ gymnasium on one side and a girls’ on the other side. The middle of the building housed chemistry laboratories, as the original school building was already running out of lab space.