W. W. Dutcher House // c.1870

The Dutcher Temple Company was incorporated in 1867 and founded by Warren W. Dutcher in Hopedale, MA. Dutcher was an extremely ingenious inventor, taking out 20 patents, mainly on temples and machines by which to manufacture them. Temples are adjustable stretchers used on a loom to maintain the width and improve the edges of the woven fabric. The company merged with Draper later on, but after Dutcher built this stunning Second Empire home perched atop a hill. What is your favorite part of this house? The roof and dormers? The porch? The paint scheme?

Jones & Wetherbee Houses // 1873

In 1873 Elnathan Jones, Jr.(1829-1904) purchased house plans from a friend in Groton, adapted the plans, and built these two houses, in Acton. One home for himself, and one for his business partner Jonathan Wetherbee (1832 1926). Also near these two houses is the Tuttle House (featured last), in a different style. All three of these men were family by marriage, and ran businesses in the village of South Acton. The Jones and Wetherbee houses were built as sister houses, identical; but over the years, the Jones House has seen some unsympathetic alterations which diminish its architectural significance. The Wetherbee House (yellow) retains its original detailing and corner, towered mansard roof.

Hooper Mansion // 1860

Located on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, the Hooper Mansion represents one of the most elegant examples of Second Empire architecture style in the city. This home was actually constructed as a double-house for Samuel Hooper and his wife Anne, with a separate, semi-detached home for his son and his own family. The double-mansion was designed by esteemed architect Arthur Gilman, who used pressed brick contrasted with the tan sandstone on the home. Additionally, he designed the dentillated cornice, lavish door and window surrounds, and octagonal bays, all capped with a mansard roof with many windows laid inset to the roof, a stunning feature. The house was designed symmetrically, with entrances on each side elevation. In the early 1890s, later owners extended the eastern half of the façade so that it would be on the same plane as the western half, with an entrance at street level (seen in the right of this photo). Today, the double house is broken up into four large condominium units. When the conversion was approved, the developer wrote into the deed that the open space at the corner, used as a garden, would remain open space in perpetuity.

“Highwood” // 1845

“Highwood”, was completed in 1845, and is likely credited to architect Richard M. Upjohn the son of Richard Upjohn Sr., who was known best for New York City’s Trinity Church, who was building a church for the Episcopal congregation in Stockbridge at the time. The home sits near Tanglewood, both since being absorbed into the Tanglewood Music Center campus today. The home was built for 27-year-old Samuel Gray Ward (1817-1907) an American poet, author, and minor member of the Transcendentalism movement. He was also a banker and a co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among his circle of contemporaries were poets and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller. He desired country living with his family and became a “gentleman farmer” while he wrote in his home, overlooking the large lake. The family lived here year-round until he was called back to Boston to assist his father in business ventures. In 1857, the Wards realized their time at Highwood had come to an end and sold the estate to another Boston couple, William Story Bullard and his wife, Louisa Norton Bullard who settled into their new home, which they were not afraid to alter, including the addition of a mansard roof. The home was occupied by the family 1960. The home was later acquired by John Mason Harding, a New York lawyer and his wife, Mary Riker Harding. Idyllic summers did not last long for the Hardings as in the late 1970s, Tanglewood and the BSO sponsored rock concerts began playing. Mr. Harding complained that he didn’t expect to have Woodstock in his backyard and brought suit against the BSO to limit the length and noise level of the concerts. The home was eventually purchased by the BSO in 1986.

Hollis Hunnewell House // 1870

In 1870, when Boston’s new Back Bay neighborhood was being developed, Hollis Hunnewell and his wife Louisa, decided to erect a mansion to establish themselves in the burgeoning neighborhood. Hollis was the first son of Horatio Hollis Hunnewell, the businessman and railroad tycoon who made a fortune, eventually developing a family compound in nearby Wellesley. The couple hired esteemed architect Charles Brigham to design a home on the prominent corner lot that would live up to the Hunnewell name, and he did not disappoint. Just three years after the home was completed, they added a one-story addition, adjacent to the alley to quell a wind-tunnel effect that was occurring down the alley. In December, 1876, a fire broke out in the home, trapping maid Annie O’Hara at the top floor where she died. After the fire, the Hunnewell’s decided to renovate the home, adding the prominent corner tower with cresting. Hollis died in 1884, leaving his wife and two children alone in the home (along with the housekeepers, maids, and other help) until her death in 1890. The home is an excellent example of late Second Empire architecture in Boston, and it showcases the immense wealth some distinguished families had in the region in the 19th century. Today, the 13,000 square foot home is occupied as a single family home, assessed at over $17.5 million!

Lewis Perrin House // c.1869

This home in Brookline was built for Lewis Perrin in about 1869 in the fashionable Second Empire style, which dominated New England in the 1860s. Perrin was a commission merchant and partner in Newman and Perrin, his father‘s company. Lewis was given a parcel of land adjacent to his father’s home to erect his own home. He ended up renting the home as a double house as he moved into a larger home nearby. By the 1890s, the home appears to have been converted to a single family home, and the double entry was replaced by a large Federal Revival entryway with sidelights and fanlight over the door.

Mary Pomeroy House // 1868

Mrs. Mary Pomeroy, the widow of one of Southport’s industrious and wealthy shipping merchants, Benjamin Pomeroy, built this large residence for herself and her daughters, soon after her husband’s death. Mr. Pomeroy was a merchant who also served as a Senator. In 1866 with ailing health, he took a doctor on a private ship to try various remedies in the West Indies, to no avail, he died at 48 years old. Ms. Pomeroy appears to have taken the money her and her husband had saved and built a large mansion to cement her position in town as the most eligible bachelorette in town. While she never remarried, she sure showed the town what good taste looks like! The facade of the Pomeroy house is symmetrical with a projecting three-story central pavilion, all surmounted by a mansard roof with cresting. Rounded dormers with twin round-headed windows pierce the roof’s multicolored slate surface, making this Second Empire house one of the nicest in a town full of historic homes!

Henry P. Kent House // 1871

Located on South Main Street in Suffield, Connecticut, this stunning Second Empire mansion showcases the tobacco wealth seen in the town in the mid-to-late 19th century. In 1810, a Cuban man who seemingly drifted into town, was hired by a local farmer to grow tobacco and roll cigars for sale. Decades later, dozens of farmers in Suffield erected tobacco barns and cultivated tobacco to be rolled in cigars and sold. One of the first to box the cigars as a pack for shipping and sale was Henry Phelps Kent (1803-1887). Kent’s business did very well and he eventually hired local architect John C. Mead to design a mansion to display his success in business. The large Second Empire mansion features flush-board siding, full length porch, and a projecting mansarded tower with convex roof. The home was later owned by Samuel R. Spencer, a politician who served as a Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, the first as a blind man. The home is now operated as a bed & breakfast “Spencer on Main”.

Blackinton Mansion // 1865

This mansion in North Adams, MA was built in 1865 for Sanford Blackinton. Blackinton was said to be the first millionaire in North Adams, and his mansion was the most elaborate home ever built in the city. His mill produced woolen goods during the Civil War including cloth for the Union forces. After the Civil War, many factory owners no longer lived amongst their workers, as they formerly had done, but instead built luxurious mansions in other neighborhoods, away from their factories. These large residences were designed in extravagant modern styles to impress the public and reflect the stature of their owners. European materials were even imported to grace these homes, such as the Italian marble fireplaces in the Blackinton Mansion.

Sanford Blackinton built his mansion in the hopes that it would become the ancestral home for his descendants. However, after the death of his widow (their four children died by the 1870s), the mansion was put up for sale in 1896, and was bought by North Adams’s first mayor, A.C. Houghton.
He in turn donated the mansion, along with $10,000 for renovations, to the city, to be used as a public library and as a meeting place for the local historical society. He requested that the building be known as the Andrew Jackson Houghton Memorial after his late brother. The home, designed by architect Marcus Fayette Cummings, is a high-style Second Empire mansion with a prominent tower, constructed of red brick with brownstone trim.

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.