Ms. Grace Weston House // c.1898

At the end of the 19th century, much of Boston’s suburban communities saw rapid development where country estates and farmhouses were razed and their properties laid out for residential development. This house in Newton was built around 1898 as a late Queen Anne and it has so many details and intricacies. The earliest known owner was Grace M. Weston who was mentioned often in local newspapers as an expert on antiques.

T. C. Sullivan House // 1898

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.

Barrows-Goddard House // 1898

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!

Oscar and Maud Rice House // 1895

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.

Ernest Zeiss House // 1897

Another eclectic house in Waban is this beauty, a blending of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles under an impressive gambrel roof. The home was occupied by Ernest L. Zeiss, a salesman. Waban, which was once a neighborhood within the reach of the middle-class, has since become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in one of the most exclusive towns in the Boston metro. It is safe to say an ordinary 9-5 salesman would not be able to afford a house like this today!

Jacob Cropley House // 1884

Marblehead is known for its Colonial-era architecture, so its always fun to find a stellar Queen Anne house in town! In 1884, Jacob M. Cropley, a shoe manufacturer, built one of Marblehead’s finest victorian residences on a hill overlooking the harbor. Cropley ran shoe and leather mills in Massachusetts and Wolfeboro, NH, making great money. The house was located on a prominent site on Pleasant Street, and was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1904 about the time that Cropley and his family moved to Boston. The house was purchased by David Lefevour, a grocer, who moved it back on the lot, saving the house from the wrecking ball. On the former house site, a post office was built by the U.S. Government.

Frederick Colony House // c.1885

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!

Sturtevant-Foss House // c.1903

Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant (1833-1890) was born in a poor Maine farming family and began working as a shoemaker to make ends meet. He devised a crude machine used in shoe manufacturing and moved to Boston in 1856 seeking backing for further development, thus began his career as an inventor. In his travels around shoe factories, Sturtevant was troubled by the airborne wood dust created by the machines wanted to invent a way to eliminate the dust and its resulting health effects. In 1867, he patented a rotary exhaust fan and began manufacturing the fan and selling it to industrial buyers across the country. He built a factory in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood that manufactured his invented air blowers, fans, and pneumatic conveyors. The factory in the 1870s was the largest fan manufacturing plant in the world. From his success, Ben Franklin Sturtevant built a house in the fashionable Sumner Hill neighborhood of Boston. The home was likely built in the Second Empire or Stick style, both popular at the time. When Benjamin died in the home, the home was willed to his widow until her death in 1903. In that time, the home was likely updated in the Queen Anne style, with Colonial embellishments. The couple’s youngest daughter, Lilla, occupied the home with her husband Eugene, who was previously hired to the B. F. Sturtevant Company by her late father. Eugene Foss, who married Lilla, was a member of the United States House of Representatives, and served as a three-term governor of Massachusetts. No biggie.

The Tower Cottage // 1880

Tower Cottage was built in 1880 and is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in the town of Ridgefield, CT. The home was designed and built by Charles Betts Northrup, a carpenter and builder who grew up in town. The home was eventually occupied as a summer retreat for Maude Bouvier Davis, who would spend some summers at the house away from the big city. In Ridgefield, Maude was sometimes visited by her niece, Jackie Bouvier, later known as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, First Lady to President John F. Kennedy. Maude owned the property until 1972 and the home has been lovingly preserved since.

Rockwell House // c.1850

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.