One of the most well-designed and least-pretentious summer cottages in Newport is this charming dwelling on a dead end street. The Samuel P. Tilton Cottage was designed in 1880 by the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead & White as an idiosyncratic blending of Queen Anne and Shingle architectural styles. Mr. Tilton was a milliner (maker and seller of women’s hats) with stores in Boston and Paris, France. He had this cottage built to summer close to the nation’s wealthiest, likely marketing some hats at elaborate Gilded Age events. The facade is assertively Queen Anne with its massing and decorative panels, with shingled side elevation seemingly sprouting from the earth. The architectural terminology for these unique decorative panels is “sgraffito” where here, cement or plaster siding is set and adorned with shells, pebbles, colored glass, and pieces of coal into a cartouche design. The house is one of the finest in Newport, and shows that bigger isn’t always better!
Behold this Queen Anne painted lady in all her glory! This home was constructed in 1898 as a late Victorian addition to Newton’s built landscape. The home’s earliest known owner was a T. C. Sullivan, who left the property to his family upon his death. The house is painted some pretty bold colors, which does an effective job at highlighting the many architectural details and intricacies in the design, but the home would have never been painted like this historically. A little history lesson: the “painted lady” trend took off in San Francisco when after WWII, disinvestment in the urban core led many Victorian homes there to be demolished, altered and covered with siding, and many were painted gray with war-surplus Navy paint (battleship gray). In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum began combining intense blues and greens on the exterior of his Italianate-style Victorian house. His house was criticized by some, but other neighbors began to copy the bright colors on their own houses. Kardum became a color designer, and he and other artists / colorists began to transform dozens of gray houses into Painted Ladies. By the 1970s, the colorist movement, as it was called, had changed entire streets and neighborhoods. This process continues to this day. The trend took off all over the United States as urban centers saw re-investment and gentrification. While not historically appropriate, the Painted Ladies can really make people happy and show pride in ownership.
Happy Halloween! To celebrate I wanted to feature one of the more creatively decorated houses in the Boston area, which blends spookiness with architecture! This is the Barrows-Goddard House, so named after its first two owners. The house is located in Newton and was built in 1898 as an eclectic Queen Anne/Shingle style home. The original owner was Joseph Barrows, who developed the property and sold it within a year, relocating to a new home on a less busy street. The property was owned next by Christopher Goddard, an insurance agent with offices in Boston. Architecturally, the gable roof of the main block is intersected by an over-scaled gambrel cross-gable clad in patterned cut wood shingles. The focal point of the design is the Syrian-arched entrance porch of coursed, dressed fieldstone which this time of year, eats trick-o-treaters!
In 1895, when the Queen Anne style was no longer in vogue among architects and builders in the Boston area, the Allston Real Estate Company took a gamble and built this house in a scarcely developed section of Waban Village in Newton on spec, hoping to find a buyer. They found one in Oscar Raymond Rice and his wife Maud Lois Sargent Rice. Oscar worked as a salesman, and Maud volunteered locally with various causes. The family home is a great example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture with varied siding styles, asymmetry, a tower, rounded bay window, porch with turned posts, and applied decoration in the gables. The house underwent a large renovation about five years ago and it still looks great! The listing from 2017 gives me serious house envy.
When you look up Queen Anne architecture on Google, this house in Wilton, NH should pop up! The Frederick Colony House was built around 1885 for the mill-owner who built a large cotton mill (last post) in town at the same time. Frederick Colony (1850-1925) was from a prominent textile and cotton mill-owning family based in Massachusetts and Keene, New Hampshire. Colony purchased land along the Souhegan River and built a new mill, there to make his own fortune, and that he did! The Frederick Colony House remains as one of the best-preserved homes in Wilton, and recently sold. Those interiors!
Built in 1850, likely as a late-Greek Revival or Italianate style home, this property on Main Street in Ridgefield was completely “modernized” in the 1880s in the Queen Anne style popular at the time. The home was originally built for Francis Asbury Rockwell (1818-1881), a tin-smith, wine-maker and inventor who married Mary Lee Everest, who also had deep roots in the community and was a daughter of a local Revolutionary War captain. The couple built a home on Main Street and raised their children there until Francis and Mary died in 1881 and 1883 respectively. The family home was inherited by their eldest son, Charles Lee Rockwell, who became the director of the First National Bank in town. Charles updated the house to give it the Queen Anne Victorian flair we see today.
Henry Truman Beckwith (1808-1893) was born in Providence and (of course) enrolled at Brown University. He left school after two years and wished to see the world. He began to work as a cargo clerk aboard ships for a cotton merchant of Macon, Georgia. He traveled between Boston and Calcutta at least twice, bringing aboard novels from American and British authors, spending much of his time reading. Being well-read and without a family of his own (he never married), he devoted much of his time to clubs and organizations including: the Providence Athenaeum, Rhode Island Historical Society, and the Rhode Island Horticultural Society. In the later years of his life, Henry had this Queen Anne style home built in College Hill, on the same block as the Historical Society where he was a member. The Beckwith House was eventually acquired by Brown University and has since been known as Partridge Hall. The building is now home to the Brown Center for Students of Color, an organization that was established after a series of student protests in 1968 and 1975. Amid the civil rights movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, a group of Black students walked out of Brown University in December 1968 in protest of fierce racism on campus. The mission of the Brown Center for Students of Color has evolved over the years, but its current mission statement reads “Visualize. Vocalize. Mobilize”, they remain an integral piece of the campus and provide much-needed space for students of color to build a sense of community on campus.
John Milton Deane (1840-1914) was born in Assonet Village in Freetown, Mass., to a prominent local family. He attended regional schools before becoming a teacher. As an 18-year-old school teacher, Deane enlisted in Assonet’s militia company, in 1858, upon increasing tension between the slave- and free-states. The local militia company joined the 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts Militia, which was organized for active service on April 15, 1861 in response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops to put down the insurrection in the southern states, the beginning of the American Civil War. After serving and a small break, he again joined the Union forces as 2nd Lieutenant with the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the 29th Massachusetts on March 25, 1865 at Fort Stedman, Virginia. His citation reads “This officer, observing an abandoned gun within Fort Haskell, called for volunteers, and under a heavy fire, worked the gun until the enemy’s advancing line was routed.” After the conclusion of the Civil War, John Deane continued teaching for a year before opening a dry goods store. He built this home after a decorated military and sales career, in 1896, on a prominent lot facing a branch of the Taunton River. The Queen Anne style home exhibits a prominent corner tower, porches, and decorative corbels.
In 1895, Winfield S. Carr (1849-1911) purchased land on Windsor Road for a residence from William S. Strong, a horticulturist and developer of Waban Village. The lot is located at the peak of Moffat Hill, and provided sweeping views of undeveloped farm and marshland and possibly Boston in the distance. As a young man, Carr moved to Fall River from Maine, and was employed in the dry goods business. He eventually moved to Boston and opened up a toy shop, which clearly became a large success. The firm sold fireworks and children’s toys from the downtown location. The Queen Anne style home was occupied by Carr and his wife (they don’t appear to have had children) for less than a decade, when the couple downsized and moved to an apartment on Comm. Ave. in Allston.
This refrigerator white painted house in Jamaica Plain was built in 1880 for Charles Hardon, an executive with C.A. Browning & Co. a millnery goods company (making and selling women’s hats). Business must have been good because Hardon was able to buy a large house lot from the Greenough Family and hired esteemed architect William Ralph Emerson to design a Queen Anne house for him and his family. The home was eventually purchased by Henry F. Colwell, a stock broker at the Boston Stock Exchange. The massive home is notable for the asymmetry, different siding types, and inset porches, all hallmarks of the Queen Anne style of architecture. If you owned this house, would you paint it differently?