Set waaaay back off the street in Hopedale, this stunning early 20th century home perfectly blends the Shingle, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne styles and rivals many homes seen in iconic coastal communities like Kennebunkport and Westerly. The home was built in 1905 atop a rock ledge, for Frank J. Dutcher, a co-owner of the Dutcher Temple Company in Hopedale. When lightning struck and burned his home on the site in 1903, he sought to build a larger home there. The architects responsible for the design is likely Chapman and Frazer, who were very active around Boston in the early 20th century, especially furnishing residential designs for large suburban homes. The home features two massive fieldstone chimneys, shingled siding, and a series of dormers and bays that provide a rich dialogue along the long street-facing facade.
The Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow House, sitting high on Oak Hill in Newton, is among the last designs (1886) of architectural icon Henry Hobson Richardson. If you already didn’t know, Richardson was one of the foremost architects of his day and is known both for bold Richardsonian Romanesque and Shingle style designs. He was hired by Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow to provide plans for a sprawling country retreat from the noisy and cramped conditions in Boston.Dr. Bigelow was an eminent surgeon in Boston who administered the first dose of ether as anesthesia on a patient, a breakthrough that led to the stunning Ether Monument in the Boston Public Garden. Bigelow only got to enjoy the country estate for a couple years until he died in the home in 1890. Years later, the estate (and nearby buildings) became home to the Peabody Home of Crippled Children, which worked as a sort of open-air hospital. Eventually, the home was vacated and sat, deteriorating on the hill. It was saved from demolition through the efforts of preservationists in Newton, and was restored as a part of “This Old House” with Bob Vila. It was restored as a set of five condominiums sited in a sunny interior courtyard.
One of the many significant losses to American architecture is the demolition of the Low House, a perfect encapsulation of the Shingle style of architecture by one of the most prolific designers in American history. The William G. Low House was constructed at the southern tip of Bristol, Rhode Island by esteemed architect Charles Follen McKim (my personal favorite) of the firm McKim, Mead & White. The Shingle style, which took off in the Northeast United States, primarily in seaside communities in the late 20th century, the homes of the style often had a strong horizontal emphasis. The style contrasts the other Victorian-era styles, de-emphasizing applied decoration and detailing in favor of complex shapes wrapped in cedar shingles. The Low House, formerly located on Low Lane, stood out for its 140-foot long gable which appeared to protrude right from the hilly outlook. The home was demolished in 1962, but was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey program, which documented the home inside and out before it was a pile of rubble. Architectural historian Leland Roth later wrote, “Although little known in its own time, the Low House has come to represent the high mark of the Shingle Style”.
Located just south of Portland Head Light, on the rocky ocean shore of Cape Elizabeth, is the settlement called Delano Park, a group of summer cottages, many of which were designed by iconic Maine architect John Calvin Stevens. Arguably the most significant and interesting is this Shingle style cottage, completed in 1886 for Charles A. Brown of Portland as a summer home. The cottage, sits atop a fieldstone foundation that are the very color of the ledges out of which the building grows. The walls above the are of shingle, “untouched by paint, but toned a silvery gray by the weather” as Stevens noted in his writings. Stevens was a master in siting his designs perfectly into the existing landscaping, and by covering all of the home with shingles, Stevens created an unembellished, uniform surface, which celebrates the honesty of its form. The home originally had a wood shingle roof, finished with a green stain. The home remains extremely well preserved by the owners and showcases the Shingle style of architecture brilliantly.
In the Spring of 1880, thirteen Hull, Massachusetts, summer residents, who owned and raced small sailboats, met and decided to form a yacht club. The Hull Yacht Club was founded that same year. During the first two seasons there was no club house, sailing events were run from a private pier and dock and meetings were held at members homes. Even though they started with no club house, being close to Boston with plenty of deep, protected water, drew many new members. The first clubhouse here was constructed in 1882 and the club saw membership soar to over 500. The clubhouse was quickly deemed inadequate for the Boston-area elite and their massive sloops. The second Hull Yacht Club was completed in May 1891. The New York Times and Outing Magazine described the new club as one of the grandest yacht clubs in America, and at the time, it had the second highest membership in the country! The main club house was designed by architect S. Edwin Tobey, and stood four stories, with a 12 foot wide piazza on three sides covered by endless expanses of shingles. The third floor had billiard rooms and public and private dinning, committee room, reading room, wine room, The second floor housed three bowling alleys, and the first floor had lockers, showers, laundry, spar storage. The club merged a couple times over the subsequent decades, but suffered heavily due to the Great Depression, when the Gilded Age monies stopped flowing as freely. The club sold the massive shingled building to developers who sought to convert the building into a resort, but it was deemed a fire hazard and razed in the 1930s. The club erected a new, modest clubhouse near Point Allerton later.