With funds for expansion at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, the hospital’s board commissioned architect Willard T. Sears (also the architect of the earlier Cary Cottage and Zakrzewska Building) to design a new surgical building at the hospital’s growing campus. Construction began on the new Cheney Surgical building in 1899 on the birthday of its namesake, Edna Dow Cheney an original incorporator of the hospital and then President. The Cheney Surgical Building was designed in the Colonial Revival style in brick, with a four-story central block with three-story wings. The central entranceway is accentuated by a classical porte-cochere topped by a Palladian window, in keeping with the Georgian Revival tradition of symmetry and classical vocabulary. The building is one of the first you see when climbing the hill into the campus.
Dimock Center – Goddard Nurses Home // 1909
Located adjacent to the Zakrzewska Building and Cary Cottage at the former New England Hospital for Women and Children is the 1909 Goddard Nurses Home, designed by John A. Fox. This three story brick building typifies the Classical Revival style with its recessed central entranceway and symmetrical fenestration with flared brick keystone lintels. The slate hipped roof is perforated by three dormers on the front facade. The broad overhanging eaves have exposed rafters which is an element of Craftsman design, common at the time. The Goddard Nurses Home provided living accomodations for up to fifty nurses who worked at the hospital. It was named after Lucy Goddard, one of the original incorporators of the women’s hospital, she served as president for twenty-five years.
Dimock Center – Sewall Maternity Building // 1892
As the New England Hospital for Women and Children continued to grow in the decades following its founding in 1862, expanded facilities were needed to deal with increased patients along with new nurses and doctors to treat them. Land was acquired across from the Cary Cottage and Zakrzewska Building, and a second building campaign began to expand the facilities and grow the women’s hospital. The management of the hospital did not hire Cummings and Sears, but went with architect John A. Fox to furnish plans for a new maternity building. The Sewall Maternity Building was designed in the Colonial Revival style, a relatively modest example that features a unique broken pediment over the door housing a large window. In 1916, the building was expanded by an addition at the rear which enclosed a central courtyard, it was also designed by John Fox.
Dimock Center – Zakrzewska Building // 1873
Following the construction of Cary Cottage at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury (last post), architects Cummings and Sears turned their attention to designing the most important facility in the complex, the large two-story Zakrzewska Building built in 1873. It is a fine example of polychromatic High Victorian Gothic style with Stick detailing. The building is characterized by its decorative stone and brick string courses, arched window heads, polychrome slate roof, end towers, and a gambrel dormer. The building was named after Dr. Maria Zakrzewska (1829-1902), a Polish-American doctor who moved to the United States in 1853, eventually settling in Boston in 1859, working as a professor of obstetrics at the New England Female Medical College. There, she realized that women in medicine did not have the same opportunity to advance in their field and left, launching her own hospital, the New England Hospital for Women and Children. It was the first in Boston, and the second hospital in America, to be run by women physicians and surgeons. Dr. Zakrzewska knew that the opportunity to work with large numbers of patients was vital if women physicians were to achieve the same levels of training and standards of practice as male physicians. The hospital became a primary training hospital for several generations of women physicians, and also trained nurses. The hospital was extremely successful and remains a medical institution to this day, as the Dimock Health Center.
Dimock Center – Cary Cottage // 1872
The New England Hospital for Women and Children (known today as the Dimock Community Health Center), is comprised of eight major buildings on a nine acre site located on a small hill in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, close to the border with Jamaica Plain. The complex is significant for its role in the history of women in medicine as both a teaching and a practicing hospital, as well as for its architecture. The facility was incorporated as the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1863, almost five years before Roxbury was annexed to Boston. The Hospital was founded by Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska together with Lucy Goddard and Edna Dow Cheney in order to provide women with medical care by competent physicians of their own sex and to educate women in the study and practice of medicine. As such, it was one of the first hospitals of its kind in America. The oldest building in the complex is the Cary Cottage, pictured here. The charming building was constructed in 1872 by the architecture firm of Cummings & Sears. The Cary Cottage served as the hospital’s original maternity cottage, and is also important as an almost intact example of Stick Style architecture. The building was intentionally detached from the general surgical facilities to minimize the dangers of infection during childbirth.
Egleston Square Substation // 1909
Streetcar suburbs of Boston have long been connected to the city by horse-drawn streetcars. As the city expanded and transportation shifted electrical, things changed in a big way! By the time the last horse-drawn streetcar was retired in 1897, the West End Street Railway Company had replaced its fleet of 9,000 horses with electric streetcars. Things were built upwards, with an elevated railway constructed between 1898 and 1901 that ran down Washington Street in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston along the boundary of Jamaica Plain. The route had a stop in the middle of Egleston Square, with the surrounding neighborhood largely occupied by wood-frame, detached triple-deckers, two-family, and single-family houses, with many occupied by workers from the breweries nearby. Located on Washington Street in Roxbury, the Egleston Square substation was built in 1909 by the Boston Elevated Railway Company (predecessor of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) to convert AC (alternating current) electricity to DC (direct current) for use by its street railway cars and elevated cars. The building was designed by Robert S. Peabody of Peabody and Stearns, a prominent and expensive firm (yes the MBTA once invested in their infrastructure). After the station was effectively abandoned by the MBTA, the substation fell into disrepair, with a roof in failure in 2005. It was then acquired by Boston Neighborhood Network Media, a local nonprofit, who have converted it for use as office and television studio space. Scott Payette was the firm responsible for the intensive restoration and renovation.
Dadmund-Glennon House // 1875
Boston’s many unique neighborhoods have some amazing hidden architectural gems. It always helps to get out and explore by walking or biking your city to see things from a different perspective than a car or bus. This brick mansard house sits on a quiet dead-end street in the Stonybrook section of Jamaica Plain and was built in the mid-1870s for Joseph A. Dadmund, a coppersmith. From the 1880s-1920s, the house was occupied by the Glennon Family, who built two large wooden stables in the rear yard, both of which remain to this day.
Margaret Fuller Primary School // 1891
The Margaret Fuller Primary School (now Community Academy) is a public school in Boston that shows how much attention to detail the school department and the city architect paid when designing these structures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Fuller School was constructed in 1892 to alleviate an overcrowded school district resulting from rapid urbanization. Jamaica Plain was one of Boston’s first streetcar suburbs largely spurred by the growth of the Boston and Providence Company Railroad between 1860 and 1890, when the area saw a shift from large bucolic estates to subdivided urban housing (largely triple-deckers and apartment buildings along major routes). With the surge in population, many new schools were built city-wide, including this primary school which was designed by Edmund March Wheelwright (1854–1912), a prominent Boston-based architect who served as City Architect for Boston from 1891 to 1895. Architecturally, the building is a stunning example of the Colonial Revival style with red and buff brick walls which are laid in a Flemish bond and rusticated at the first story with single recessed courses of buff brick. An arched entrance and Palladian window with iron false balcony sit at the central bay. The school was named after Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810-1850) an early transcendentalist and writer advocating for women’s rights born in Cambridge.
Isaac Cary Estate // 1850
Isaac Harris Cary was born in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts on November 3, 1803, the seventh child of Jonathan and Mary Cary. In 1824, Isaac and his brother William formed a partnership and ran a fancy goods imports business, Isaac H. Cary & Co. on Washington Street in Boston. The brothers opened a store in New York and William moved there full-time. In 1831, Isaac married Phebe P. Pratt of Roxbury and they would have three children, two of them living to adulthood. After doing business in New York City and later in New Orleans, Isaac and his family settled in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, purchasing large land holdings and developing real estate. One of the finest lots he owned was developed for his country estate in 1850, an Italianate/Second Empire-style mansion perched atop an outcropping of Roxbury puddingstone. The large home with a rear three-story tower remained in the Cary family under his single daughter Susanna’s ownership until her death in 1913.
Talitha Cumi Home // 1912
One thing I love about Boston is that nearly every old building has such a rich history that takes so much time to compile and write up (this account keeps me busy)! Located on Forest Hills Street in Jamaica Plain, this stucco building caught my attention when driving by, so much so, that I had to stop and go back. The building was constructed in 1912 as a home for unwed mothers called Talitha Cumi Home (a phrase from the Bible meaning “Arise, young woman”). The charitable organization outgrew their space in the South End and sought greener pastures and open space in Jamaica Plain. The group had been organized in 1836 by “earnest Christian women” who longed to open a “door of hope” to “those hopeless and helpless girls who found themselves facing the sadness and shame and wrong of unwed motherhood.” The Talitha Cumi Home allowed pregnant women to reside and birth their children before their pregnancy began to show. The site originally included an administration building and a hospital with both structures connected by a covered breezeway. The home closed in the 1950s and the former home for unwed mothers has since been converted to a middle school.