Although Benjamin Bliven built this house, he never owned the property, but the name lives on! This house on Angell Street in Providence was originally constructed in 1849 in the Greek Revival style, popular at the time. Bliven, a musician, rented the property to tenants until the deed was transferred to Abby W. Watson, wife of Robert W. Watson (owner of the property next door and featured on this account previously). The first owner-occupants were Grace A. and Eugene H. Greene, who bought the property in 1898. The house was completely remodeled in the early decades of the 20th century with Regency/Colonial Revival detailing. Changes including the former roof with its gable-end facing the street boxed off, a new modillion cornice with parapet above; recessed attic story with balustrade; small wing to the east. The stucco siding and Federal entry is icing on the cake!
“Morningside” // 1872
While many of the summer cottages in Newport retain much of their architectural and historical integrity, it is not always the case. This cottage, named “Morningside” barely resembles its original 1873 design. The summer home was built for William Barton Rogers (1804-1882), a scientist, educator, and best-known as founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He sought a place of rest and leisure, away from the stresses of Boston and running a new college, so he hired the Boston firm of Cabot & Chandler to design a Stick style cottage for him to spend the summer months at. In his diary for October 11, 1872, Mr. Rogers wrote, “Removed [from Cliff House Cottage] to our new home on Gibbs Avenue, at 4.30 o’clock. I have decided to name the place ‘Morningside.'” The house was his respite from stresses and he loved to spend time here with his family. President Rogers died after collapsing during a speech at MIT’s 1882 commencement exercises. His last words were “bituminous coal.” After the property sold out of the Rogers estate, the house was remodeled with stucco siding and much of the original Stick detailing was removed or covered. Morningside is now divided into condominiums.
President Grover Cleveland Summer Home // c.1886
My favorite home in Marion, Massachusetts is this summer cottage on Water Street, overlooking Sippican Harbor. The home is said to have been built from a c.1840s house and enlarged by Reed as a summer home in the fashionable Shingle style. H. R. Reed, an agent for the Revere Sugar Refinery in Boston was well-connected in town and hosted President Grover Cleveland with Rev. Percy Browne ( a summer resident) at his cottage during the summer months. Evidently, Reed added the rubblestone elements, modified the porch, added a tower on the south elevation, the massive dormers at the roof, and is responsible for the exquisite Colonial Revival-style interior, from architect James Templeton Kelley. The home is arguably best known as the summer White House of Grover Cleveland, the only U.S. president to marry in the White House and the only two-time president to serve non consecutively – from 1885-89 and from 1893-97. The Cleveland’ Family summered in Marion between their time in the White House. In 1891, the President hoped to purchase the home, but could not settle upon a reasonable price, so he bought Grey Gables, a summer cottage in nearby Buzzards Bay (no longer extant).
Look-Coggeshall House // 1828
Believe it or not, this beautiful home was once a one-story Cape house! Built in 1828, the home was constructed for Captain Hiram Look, a sea captain, and his new wife Kezziah (Kezia) within a year of their marriage. They had two daughters. Hiram died in 1865, possibly related to the Civil War, which ended that year. After his and his widow’s death, the home was willed to their daughter and her husband, Bernard Coggeshall, who was likely a descendant of the Coggeshall Family of Bristol, RI. The Look daughter died in 1890, and Bernard remarried a year later. Sometime after 2008, this home was enlarged, giving it the second story we see today. If you look closely at photos from before 2008, you can see the matching door surround, window lintels, and window spacing seen today. While the home is completely different, the “updated” version is still appropriate and conveys the home’s history.
What do you think?
Bradford-Norris House // 1792
William Bradford (1729-1808), who would become Deputy Governor of Rhode Island from 1775 to 1778, came to Bristol to practice medicine by 1758. When he arrived, he rented Mount Hope Farm (featured before), before building a home in town. When the British Navy bombarded Bristol on October 7, 1775, his home was among the buildings destroyed. He afterward went aboard ship to negotiate a cease fire, saving what was left of the town. In 1792, he built a 2 1/2-story Federal style, boxy house on this lot, close to the street. The home was willed to his son Hersey, who resided there until the 1840s, when he mortgaged the house to Francis Dimond, who resided in a Greek Revival temple front home (also featured on here previously). He gifted the modest Federal home to his daughter, Isabella, possibly as a wedding gift upon her marriage to Samuel Norris, a sugar refiner. Mr. Norris and Isabella hired architect Russell Warren, who designed her father’s home nearby, to renovate the house in the spring of 1845, moving the house away from Hope Street. The house was given its third floor and additional bay, along with the ornate design which characterizes it to this day, including the Ionic porch and Chinese Chippendale balustrade. The house remained in the Norris family until 1942 and is now a B&B.
DeWolf-Guiteras House // c.1835
This incredibly unique and flawless home in Bristol was apparently built by the infamous James DeWolf. Historic records state that the slave trader built the home for his son William Henry, but that is unlikely as he was the owner of the family mansion, Linden Place at that time. Therefore it is likely that another of James’ sons William Bradford DeWolf was gifted the home, roughly at the time of his marriage in 1835. The home was a 2 1/2-story Greek Revival home. By the 1880s, the property was sold to Dr. Ramon Guiteras, a urologist, who had the house stuccoed, fashionable Stick style trim applied across the facade, a full-width bracketed porch, and two-story octagonal tower on the side. The home is now owned by the neighboring church who restored it in the 1970s and maintain it beautifully to this day.
Luther-Babbitt House // 1809
In 1809, Giles Luther built this two-story, 5-bay, hip-roof Federal house, which has been substantially enlarged and altered over the years in succeeding styles. Original detailing on the facade includes the Palladian window, modillion cornice, quoins, and wide-beaded window casings with splayed lintels. Giles Luther (1775-1841), a shipmaster, merchant, and farmer, was more importantly the first Grand Marshall of the Bristol Fourth ofJuly Parade, which is believed to be part of the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the country. In 1825 Luther’s business failed; the Commercial Bank took this house and sold it in 1828 to Jacob Babbitt. Babbitt owned part of a wharf in town and in his will of 1849, he left the “use and improvement” of this house to
his son Jacob, Jr. (1809-1862). The younger Babbitt was wealthy and likely made the mid-19th century modifications to the home, including the Italianate triple-arched door and full-width porch with delicate cut-out posts and railings. The home was occupied for much of the 20th century by the Bristol Nursing Association, and sold in the 1970s to a private owner. The home was for a period ran as a bed & breakfast but appears to be back to a private residence today.
Winslow-Sullivan House // c.1850
This house was built by 1850 for Charles Winslow, a mill-owner in the Upper Falls Village of Newton. The house was likely a gable-end Greek Revival home consisting of the two right bays seen today. By 1882, another mill owner, Richard Sullivan, purchased the home and completely renovated it with a square tower, stick-work, double door entry, and a porch. He owned a cotton mill near the river and built workers housing between his house and the mills for his workers and their families.
Charles Perkins House // 1891
The residential neighborhood of Fisher Hill in Brookline was laid out in 1884 by Frederick Law Olmsted, – who lived nearby – and is considered a masterpiece of curvilinear planning. The neighborhood was made up of successful Boston area businessmen, including lawyers, doctors, and bankers. It was expected that the new owners would build their homes to conform to the affluent character of the neighborhood. This house built in 1891 was no different.
Located at 73 Seaver Street, this Queen Anne mansion was designed by the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge of Boston, which operated from 1886 to 1915, growing out of the practice of Henry Hobson Richardson after his death in 1886. The house was built for Charles Perkins, a lawyer in Boston at the law firm of Perkins and Lyman. The home at the time of the photo (June 2020), is undergoing a renovation which includes yet another boring gray paint scheme… Bleh. Hopefully the interior, exterior trim, and historic windows will be restored.