Joshua Bennett Townhouse // 1834

Just steps from the iconic Louisburg Square in Boston’s exclusive Beacon Hill neighborhood, a man named Joshua Bennett in 1834, purchased two recently completed townhouses built by housewrights Samuel H. Mitchell and Loring Dunbar. Joshua Holden Bennett (1792-1865) was born in Billerica, Massachusetts and split his time between his hometown and Boston. Bennett and his family owned the two identical bowfront houses until about 1930, likely renting them out to middle-upper class families. The home on the right (pictured) was later purchased by Benjamin B. Gillette an organist at a local church. After WWII, property values in Beacon Hill began to falter and this property and its neighbor became lodging houses of rented rooms to a more wealthy clientele than those on the North Slope of the hill. The home last sold in 1989 for $753,000 and is estimated at a value today at over $4,000,000!

Jacob Wirth Building // 1844

Comprising twin bowfront Greek Revival rowhouses, the Jacob Wirth Restaurant buildings on Stuart Street are scarce survivors of a century of urban change in an area in which the building type once abounded. Built by developer housewrights quite active in the area, the twin houses were soon sold to “gentlemen” for rental purposes. Jacob Wirth, a German emigrated to Boston from Bingen, Germany, and began work as a baker before getting into the restaurant business. Wirth bought the left building seen here in 1878 as his dwelling above and ran his authentic German restaurant below. Due to the success of the restaurant, he purchased the adjacent home in 1889 and constructed the storefront that now unites them. Jacob Wirth ran the restaurant until his death in 1892, which was then managed by his son, Jacob Wirth Jr., who also managed it until his death in 1965! In 2018, Jacob Wirth’s, the second oldest continuously operated restaurant in Boston, closed its doors following a fire. The future is somewhat uncertain for the space, but as it is landmarked, there are protections (even at the interior) of the building.

Did you get a chance to eat at Jacob Wirth’s before it closed?

Wheatland Rowhouses // 1874

This series of four rowhouses at 233-239 Marlborough Street were built together in 1874 for George Wheatland. Designed as two sets of symmetrical pairs, the four homes together contribute to the character of the Back Bay neighborhood while standing out for their use of materials and detailing. George Wheatland Jr. was a developer of over 100 properties in the Back Bay after the Civil War, and through his business partnerships and savvy land acquisitions and developments, became one of the wealthier residents of the neighborhood. Wheatland was born in Salem, MA and attended Harvard Law School before starting work as an attorney. Within a couple years, he was called to serve in the Civil War and fought for the Union Army, participating in the Siege of Port Hudson in Louisiana! When he returned, he used his legal knowledge and business connections to acquire and develop the filled, newly developable land in Back Bay. These four homes are constructed of brick with scored stucco on the main facade to resemble brownstone, which was more expensive. A large central oriel bay window is situated at each home with the fourth floors incorporated into a mansard roof with Stick style detailing at the dormers.

Parkman Terrace // 1892

Parkman Terrace, of the stunning Beaconsfield Terrace apartment buildings in Brookline was built in 1892 and was one of the last two completed. A divergence from the more Chateauesque designs that predated Parkman Terrace, this building followed a more classical Federal Revival design. Designed by the architectural firm of Fehmer and Page, the block of six attached rowhomes is 3-1/2 stories high, and is symmetrical with a central closed pediment with a shield bearing the date of construction. There are gabled pedimented dormers, a decorative cornice, and porticoed entryways with Corinthian columns. At the second floor are Palladian windows in blind arches, as well as round-arched window with keystones.