Briggs House // c.1850

This tiny half-cape house in Marion was built in the mid-19th century for Timothy Hiller Briggs (1822-1877), a whaler. Based on the Federal/Greek detailing on the house, it is also likely the home was built much earlier for Timothy’s father, Silas, a sea captain, and was willed to his only son upon his death in 1833. Timothy died at the young age of 54 and his widow, Josephine, maintained the cottage until her death in 1924! The home is a half-cape as it has an off-center door with two bays of windows at the facade. A full-cape would be symmetrical with a central door and two windows on either side. The central chimney would provide heat to all rooms in the cold winter months.

Cyrus White House // 1885

Cyrus White (1830-1893) was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and eventually settled in Boston, where he patented his “White’s Tropic Furnace”. The furnace was powered by coal, but due to its engineering, required only a small amount compared to competitors. From this invention, Cyrus opened a store in Jamaica Plain which sold house-furnishing goods, hardware, plumbing fixtures, furnaces, stoves, and drain and gas fittings, a business that boomed in Victorian-era Boston, with all the home building and wealth seen at the time. From his furnace invention and store, he could afford to build this Queen Anne home in the desirable Sumner Hill neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, Boston. Of particular note is the recessed entry within an arched opening and siding styles, including sawtooth edges at the overhang.

Clement Studebaker Jr. Summer Residence // 1915

This magnificent coastal mansion embodies historical elegance in Rye Beach, NH. Built in 1914-15 for Clement Studebaker Jr., the Studebaker Estate is one of the most elegant and most recognized residences on the New Hampshire coast, and among the best preserved. The Colonial Revival home is clad with shingle siding with two strong brick end walls. A solarium runs along the ocean-facing facade with ample glazing and delicate woodwork which presents a welcoming presence to passing motorists. Clement Studebaker Jr. was an American businessman and the son of wagon, carriage and automobile manufacturer Clement Studebaker. He held executive positions in the family’s automobile business, Studebaker Corporation. The Studebaker summer residence was recently sold, and the interior photographs are amazing!

Hosmer House // 1760

This 2-1/2 story wood frame house in Acton, Massachusetts was built in 1760, and is one of the town’s best-preserved colonial-era houses. It is an unusual double house, consisting of one section with a square plan, and the other with a typical colonial “half house” plan, having three bays and an off-center chimney. The house was built by Jonathan Hosmer, Jr., a bricklayer whose workmanship is evident in the house’s many fireplaces. Hosmer was also prominent in civic and military affairs; he served (along with his son, who was killed at 17 years old) in the 1777 Battle of Bennington. The home was later owned by Jonathan’s son Simon, who may have added the attached dwelling, creating the double-house form we see today. In 1974 the property was acquired by the Acton Historical Society, which rents one of the units, and operates the rest of the property as a museum. The home is a great example of a Georgian double-house with a saltbox roof.

Hotel Royal // 1886

This large apartment house at the corner of Beacon and Exeter Streets in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston commands its site with a six-story rounded corner oriel. Built in 1885-6 for George H. Brooks, a developer, the apartment house exhibits a Romanesque Revival design with the use of a monumental arch at the entrance, decorative brownstone and terra cotta, and the large full-height rounded bays. The apartment hotel was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley, who designed many apartment houses and tenements in the Boston area. Sadly, the conical roof atop the corner oriel was removed sometime in the 20th century, somewhat minimizing its architectural integrity. The apartment hotel is now home to 30 condominium units.

“Cliffside”// c.1858

SAVE THIS HOUSE!

Located adjacent to the former H.H. Richardson House (also threatened with demolition), this home in Brookline may eventually face the wrecking ball… The rear ell of the building appears to have been constructed prior to 1844, possibly as an outbuilding or the main house as part of Samuel Perkins’ estate. The property was later subdivided and had numerous owners who bought and sold it in quick succession until 1858, when it was purchased by Francis A. White (1825-1910) a partner of Frederick Guild (1826- ) in the Boston tanning firm of Guild & White, Co., until 1871, when White retired to devote full time to his real-estate investments in the Boston area. It is likely that White updated and enlarged the home in the 1870s, with the massive corner tower, as a testament to his proficiency in real estate development and design. Francis lived in the home with his wife and four children until his death in 1910, when the home was willed to his late wife Caroline. After her death, the home was owned by their daughter Sophia, who had married John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920), a prominent landscape architect and nephew of Frederick Law Olmsted, who lived just down the street. John and Sophia lived in the home, renovating and enlarging the home at least once, and John would walk down the street to his office, now the Olmsted National Historic Site. John was the first president of the American Society of Landscape Architects, founded in 1899, and was active in the formation of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. Sadly, a demolition permit has been applied for to raze this home, the Richardson House and a Techbuilt house by a developer. It is likely a demolition delay will be enacted, but advocacy on the two older houses preservation should be the first and only option for the site.

Likely original structure, viewed from next door.

Jennings House // 1949

Tucked away on an un-assuming side street in South Brookline, you will find this oddly fascinating home. Without architectural history knowledge, you may think it is just a normal 1940s house, but it’s actually a Lustron House! Between 1948 and 1950, the Lustron Corp. built prefabricated metal homes across the U.S. as part of an effort to combat the housing shortage for returning soldiers post–World War II. Despite these futuristic homes being considered low-maintenance and highly durable, only about 2,500 were constructed, as the structures were seen as too costly and complex to manufacture and assemble. The homes came in just three models and came in four available colors: “Surf Blue,” “Dove Gray,” “Maize Yellow,” and “Desert Tan”. The home is covered in porcelain enamel metal panels set into a steel frame which can be replaced when damaged. At the interior, the homes had metal-paneled interior walls with mostly pocket-doors for space saving. This home in Brookline was built for Edmond and Helen Jennings, in the Westchester model in the Desert Tan color. The only major alteration is the enclosure of the porch, but it retains a high degree of integrity from when it was assembled in 1949.

What do you think of this iconic 1940s home and style?

Storrow House // 1884

Charles Storrow (1809-1904) was a wealthy engineer who first brought water power to and developed mills at the industrial scale in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He started his own cotton mills in the city of Lawrence and laid out streets radiating from those mills on the river, allowing him to become the first mayor of Lawrence in 1853. He married Lydia Cabot Jackson in 1836 and they eventually built a country home in the Pill Hill neighborhood Brookline to get away from the dense housing and pollution of the cities. It appears he gifted this house (adjacent to his own house) to his son, also Charles. The home was designed by architect Edward Clarke Cabot, Lydia’s father, who was a partner in the firm Cabot & Chandler. Charles Storrow’s grandson James, is the namesake of Storrow Drive, the highway that runs along the Charles River in Boston.

Gallup House // 1894

William A. Gallup was born October 28, 1851, in North Adams. He worked primarily for the Arnold Print Works beginning in 1870 before becoming a charter member, elected clerk, and director of the company. He went on to work for and own a few more mills in North Adams by the end of the 19th century. Gallup hired H. Neill Wilson, a Western MA based architect to design a mansion for his family on Church Street, near his father in-law and business partners (A.C. Houghton) house.

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.