One of the oldest and most significant homes in Boston is the Loring-Greenough Houseon South Street in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The house was constructed in 1760 for Joshua Loring (1716-1781), a Commodore in the English Colonial naval forces, who sought retirement from military service at this house on the outskirts of Boston. His life as a distinguished member of the Colonial gentry came to an abrupt end with the bitter factionalism of the incipient Revolution, made worse by the fact he was appointed as a member of the governor’s council by Governor Thomas Gage, a position which made him so unpopular that he was reportedly attacked by mobs. A popular story recounts that, asked by an old friend what he would do when faced by a choice between remaining loyal and supporting the popular spirit of revolt, Loring replied “I have always eaten the King’s bread, and always intend to.” Immediately after taking this position as a Loyalist and aligning with the King of England, Loring was forced to flee, with his family, to the safety British-occupied Boston. He was denounced by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress as “an implacable enemy to their country” and later fled to Nova Scotia, before living out the rest of his life in England, where he received a royal pension until his death. The Loring property in Jamaica Plain was quickly taken by Revolutionary forces and was used as a hospital during the siege of Boston. After the Revolutionary War, the property was confiscated by the state in 1779 and sold at auction to private owners.
Anne Doane, a wealthy forty-year-old widow, bought the Loring estate in 1784, in anticipation of her marriage to lawyer David Stoddard Greenough (1752 – 1826). Four generations of their descendants lived in the house until 1924, when the house and the small surviving plot of land on which it stands was purchased by the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, saving it from demolition. The members, all women, were following the example of earlier ladies’ associations, which had saved and begun to restore such historic sites as Mount Vernon and Monticello. The Loring–Greenough property is still owned and operated by the Tuesday Club, which offers tours on Sundays and other programming and events throughout the year.
One of three pre-1725 houses in South Acton, the Faulkner Homestead is the best preserved First Period house in the area and displays elements from its First Period construction date of 1707 and from the later Georgian period. The home was built for Ephraim Jones, who was one of the first millers starting what was to become the Faulkner mills located near the old homestead. The home was known as a Garrison House, built as a refuge for the settlers in times of Indian raids, but there is no record that it was ever used for that purpose. In the 1730s, the home was rented by Ammi R. Faulkner (1692-1756), who purchased it years after he moved in. The Faulkner Homestead remained in the Faulkner Family for over 300 years, when it sold our of the family in the 1940s.
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.
This three-story wood-frame house is one of the oldest buildings in Bristol and the oldest known three-story building in Rhode Island. The home was built by Joseph Reynolds (1679-1759), a patriarch in the Reynolds Family, who later built the Reynolds-DeWolf House I featured previously. The house is five bays wide and three deep with the roof extending lower to the rear, giving the house a classic New England saltbox appearance. Joseph built this house, and also operated a tannery and gristmill on his land. The home is nationally significant as during the ownership of the house by his son Joseph II, Marquis de Lafayette occupied the north parlor chamber. Lafayette was a general in the Continental Army and was responsible for the defense of Bristol and Warren from September 7 to 23, 1778 during failed military operations to drive the British from occupied Newport. The home was added onto and altered in 1790 to give it the current design, with Federal detailing. The home remained in the Reynolds Family until 1930.
George Middleton and Louis Glapion built this two-family residence in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood in 1787, which is now the oldest extant home on Beacon Hill. This wood structure is a typical example of late 18th century Boston homes built by African Americans. Louis Glapion worked as a hairdresser and may have been from the French West Indies. Glapion lived and ran his business out of 5 Pinckney Street until his death in 1813. His wife Lucy continued to live there until 1832. George Middleton was a “horse breaker” (horse trainer) by trade and was adored in the diverse community of Beacon Hill. Middleton was one of 5,000 African Americans to serve in the military on the Patriot side of the Revolutionary War, leading an all-Black militia called the Bucks of America. The group is believed to have guarded the property of Boston merchants during the Revolution. After the war, he became the third Grand Master of the African Lodge, later known as the Prince Hall Masons. In 1796, Middleton founded the African Benevolent Society, which helped orphans and widows through job placement and financial relief. He died in 1815, outliving his wife and apparently left no children when he died in 1815.
The Washington Town Hall, originally raised as a meetinghouse in 1787, is the civic and visual focal point of Washington Center in New Hampshire. Land here was first granted in 1735 by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts. The town was one of the fort towns designated to protect the colonies from attack by Native peoples, and it was named “Monadnock Number 8”. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1768 and built log houses. By 1773, the community had 132 inhabitants. On December 13, 1776, the newly established American revolutionary government incorporated the town as “Washington”, after George Washington — one of the first named in his honor. A small townhouse was built but was replaced a decade later with what we see today. The current structure was originally a simple, two-story clapboarded structure, with east and west porches. The tower and belfry rising from the end were added in 1820. The building committee specified all details of the meeting house, including “that the windows should be glazed with squares of glass, seven by nine inches, forty panes to the window”. This attention to detail shows how the meeting house would be a source of pride for the new town and all details were to be discussed to the smallest detail.
Samuel Cummings (1709-1772) married Prudence Lawrence (1715-1796) and moved to Hollis, NH from Groton, MA. The couple had a home built in town and raised at least four children, Samuel Jr., Mary, Sibbel, and Prudence. The original house built by Cummings was a single-story, four room, center chimney type. After his death in 1772, the property passed to Cummings’ son, Samuel Cummings, Jr., an acknowledged Tory. Interestingly, Samuel’s sister Prudence was an ardent patriot, who moved to Pepperell, MA and married a militia man, David Wright. While the Revolutionary War was raging, Prudence visited her brother in the old family home, when she overheard her brother Samuel talk to his friend, a British army officer about passing information to the British. Prudence returned to Pepperell and gathered the women of the town. Then a 35-year-old mother of five, she organized 30 or 40 of them into a militia called ‘Mrs. David Wright’s Guard.’ The women dressed in their husbands’ clothes and carried whatever they could for weapons. As the men had probably taken muskets with them, the women probably used farm implements such as pitchforks. The women patrolled the roads leading into town. The group eventually captured two British soldiers on horseback and let them go only once they agreed to never come back to the colony. Due to this event, Prudence never spoke to her loyalist brother again.
In the 1850s, the house was owned by Superintendent of Schools, Levi Abbott and his wife, Matilda. It was the Abbotts who reportedly added a second story to the house with a hip roof, cornice and corner pilasters, giving it the appearance we see today.
Before the invention of the automobile, horses cluttered American streets. Every town would have a saddle shop with a skilled leatherworker who would manufacture saddles, bags, stirrups and other equestrian gear. In Suffield, Connecticut, a man named Consider Williston had a shop built to make and sell saddles. According to the sign on the building, it was built in 1776, which is odd as Consider Williston fought in the Revolutionary War at that same time. The building was eventually converted to a private home and was listed for sale, with images showing the stunning Colonial era wood beams and floors.
Located a stones throw from the famed Union Oyster House along the Freedom Trail, you will find this historic brick structure. When you pass, you may think nothing of it as it lacks major exterior flair or pizzazz; however, it is one of the few pre-Revolution structures in Downtown Boston. In 1764, John Hancock (yes one of the Founding Fathers), inherited a parcel of land here from the estate of his uncle and father-figure Thomas Hancock. John Hancock combined the lot with an adjacent lot and had a brick mansion constructed there, similar to what we see today. Hancock did not occupy it, but by 1776, his brother Ebenezer did; the latter, as deputy paymaster general of the Continental Army, used his house as headquarters. Thus, it was here that the loan of 2 million silver crowns from Louis XVI of France for financing the Continental Army negotiated by Benjamin Franklin in Paris is reported to have been stored in 1778. The home was later sold by Hancock to Benjamin Fuller, a shoe dealer, who ran a business out of the home while living there with family. The house was occupied by subsequent shoe merchants until the 1960s.
In about 1754, 32-year-old brickmaker, Jeremiah Page built this Georgian style, gambrel roof home on Elm Street. Page was born in Medford, MA in 1722 and came to Danvers (then a part of Salem) in 1743 based on the potential money to be made on clay beds under parts of the town. During the tea embargo of 1770, Jeremiah Page insisted that no tea be drunk inside his house. It is said that his wife secretly invited a few neighbors to have tea with her on the roof, saying, “UPON a house is not WITHIN it. ” This remark is quoted from 19th century poet Lucy Larcom’s poem about the house entitled “A Gambrel Roof.”
Upon the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Gage, the Commander of North American British forces and Governor of Massachusetts, took over a room of Page’s house for an office while Gage resided when the capital was temporarily shifted from Boston to Salem after the Boston Port Bill was enacted by the British Crown. Page, against British rule, took command of a group of local men as a militia and fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Page died in 1806 and the home was willed to his family until 1914. Later generations of Pages lived in the home until 1914, when it was acquired by the Danvers Historical Society and moved from its original location on Elm Street. In her will, Ann Lemist Page, a descendant of Jeremiah Page, asked for the house to be razed, else it fall into disrepair, but the historical society was able to change her will with a promise to preserve the property. It is still owned by the Historical Society.