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.
This Queen Anne/Shingle Style home in Hopedale was built in the mid-1880s for Frederick E. Smith, who (like everyone else in town) was employed by the Draper Corporation. Frederick Smith worked as the manager of the livery stable for the Draper Corporation, and later as the foreman of the trucking department of the Draper plant when automobiles took over. It is clear that the wealthiest Draper men encouraged their employees to live close to them in their mansions as this home is nearby the Draper mansion. Could you imagine Jeff Bezos living next-door to his employees? Me neither!
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.
“We must not be Irish or African, or black or white. Not in America. We are gathering here … not to build up any petty community but to make the greatest nation and the strongest brotherhood that God ever smiled upon.”-John Boyle O’Reilly. This home (now the Hull Public Library) replaced the old Hunt House, which was the first parsonage of Hull, which was built around 1750. John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-American poet, journalist, author and activist bought the Hunt House in the 1870s and soon after demolished it as he felt it could not be salvaged. There are books about O’Reilly’s life story, so I recommend checking out his Wikipedia page. He constructed this house as a summer home by 1879, an excellent example of an early Shingle-style home. I cannot locate the architect, but am dying to learn! In the summer of 1890, O’Reilly took an early boat to his residence in Hull, Massachusetts from Boston. He had been suffering from bouts of insomnia during this time. That evening he took a long walk with his brother-in-law hoping that physical fatigue would induce the needed sleep.Later on that night he took some of his wife’s sleeping medicine and he apparently suffered an overdose of the medicine at this home, passing away at 46. Thousands of Bostonians mourned O’Reilly, and memorials were erected in the city, including the iconic 1896 John Boyle O’Reilly Memorial by Daniel Chester French.
Architectural losses are numerous in cities and towns all over New England, but few evoke such sadness for me than the demolition of the Charles G. Loring House of Beverly. The house was built as a summer cottage in 1881 for Charles G. Loring (1828-1902) on family land, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, perched high on a cliff. Loring hired architect William Ralph Emerson to design the home, which was perfectly harmonious in its siting and design with the rugged landscape it sat upon. William Ralph Emerson (1833-1917) was a leading architect credited with originating and popularizing what came to be known as the Shingle Style of architecture. The man who coined that term, Vincent Scully, called the Loring House “the very best of all the houses along this coast and considers that it “may well be the finest surviving example of the Shingle Style“. Additionally, the property’s landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed the Emerald Necklace park system in Boston, the landscape plan for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, among dozens of other iconic designs. In 2012, the property was sold by heirs of the Loring Family to Helen Greiner, a co-founder of iRobot, the company best known for its robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba. She proposed a plan to demolish portions of the house, which according to the local Historical Commission, would be “no different from demolition” and completely destroy the architectural integrity and significance of the home. A one year delay was enacted on the property, but it was razed soon after the delay was over.
This distinguished Shingle style home in the Pill Hill neighborhood of Brookline, MA was designed in 1882 and completed two years later for Thatcher Loring. Mr. Loring worked as the Treasurer of the National Dock & Warehouse Company in Boston. Loring’s house was designed by William Ralph Emerson, who at the time, was at the peak of a career that specialized in Shingle Style houses, particularly large summer cottages, primarily in New England. The home features a brick first floor with shingle siding above, and a recessed entrance with stunning wood paneling.
Look up perfection in the dictionary, and a picture of this Victorian home would be shown. Built in 1883, the Mills-Castle House exhibits the Shingle Style with a high-style Queen Anne detailing. Designed by the architectural powerhouse firm of Peabody & Stearns for Arthur Mills, the home is a significant addition to the already beautiful Pill Hill neighborhood of Brookline. Arthur Mills was an executive of the Boston & Albany Railroad. A subsequent owner of the house, Louise Castle, was Brookline’s first Selectwoman. Her husband, Dr. William Castle helped discover the cause of and cure for pernicious anemia.
In 1890, this stunning Shingle style home was built for Lydia Chandler Head (1828-1915) in the upper-class neighborhood of Pill Hill in Brookline. Adjacent to the last post (the Roberts House), this home exhibits an off-center arched entrance in a recessed vestibule and shingled window hoods, hallmarks of the Shingle style. Additionally, the garrison form with the upper stories overhanging the ground floor and the twin gable end roof peaks give a certain nod to post-Medieval architecture, like that seen at the Saugus Iron Works House. The home was designed by the firm of Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul, who were influential architects in the Boston area and designed many stunning homes such as this. Interestingly, I cannot find any history on Lydia Chandler Head and her family, she may not have ever been married, if anyone has Ancestry.com, let me know! I would be interested to see how she acquired the funds to have such a stunning home.