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!
Hartwell Richardson and Driver
Gahm House // 1907
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?
Roberts House // 1890
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.
Ralph Waldo Emerson School // 1904
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.
Frederick C. Bowditch House // 1896
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.