The Paragon Park Carousel at Nantasket Beach in Hull, was built in 1928 for the Paragon Park Amusement Park (last featured), and is possibly the oldest remaining feature of the old park. When the park was created, many wealthy summer residents clutched their pearls as their quiet, peaceful summers would soon be overrun by those looking for rides and pleasure. From its inception in 1905, Paragon Park placed a carousel at the hub of its amusement attractions, just south of the main entrance gate. While this was just the first of several carousels to be installed in the park, its inclusion in the earliest iteration of Paragon Park shows the importance of the form as an attraction. The current carousel was built in 1928 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Paragon Park, the carousel featured two chariots pulled by two horses each and had four rows of horses (66 in all). One of only 18 four-row carousels ever produced by Philadelphia Toboggan Company it is some forty feet in diameter. Housed in a specially built twelve-sided stucco structure to protect the delicate motor and paint in poor weather. When Paragon Park was sold to developers in 1986, parts of the carousel ride were auctioned off, but most were purchased by a locally organized preservation committee. That same year, it was moved a short distance to its present location to save it from the wrecking ball. It is now operated by the Friends of the Paragon Carousel.
Lovell’s Tavern // 1744
This gambreled Georgian cape house was built around 1744 and first occupied as a tavern. Local tradition holds that in this house, the town officials held meetings and managed governmental duties. After the Revolution, a new town hall was built and the tavern reverted back to its former use. It was occupied by Samuel and Olive Lovell until Olive’s death in the 1840s, she possibly ran the tavern alone for the thirty years she outlived her husband. The home is an excellent example of a pre-Revolutionary Georgian home, with a cedar shingle roof to top it all off!
Temple Israel Synagogue // 1920
In the early 20th-century, Hull was linked by ferry, railway and road to Boston and this resort town became a popular urban recreational destination. Between 1915 and 1920, Jewish Bostonians started buying property and building summer homes in the area. The new Jewish summer residents required a temple for worship when away from their main homes. In 1920, land was purchased just north of the bustling Nantasket Beach for the erection of a place of worship. This temple was likely built by a Jewish architect/builder Joseph Rudnick, who arrived in Boston from present-day Lithuania in 1886. Unable to speak English, he hired a tutor to teach it to him, and quickly began working on constructing apartments and other buildings all over the Boston area. Temple Israel of Nantasket remains a handsome and rare example of a 1920 American
wood-framed, stucco-clad synagogue, with an active congregation.
Point Allerton Lifesaving Station // 1889
The Point Allerton Life Saving Station is situated in its original location on Stony Beach at the entrance to Boston Harbor and at the foot of Telegraph Hill in Hull, Massachusetts. The United States government decided to establish a Life Saving Service station at Point Allerton in Hull, after Joshua James and his crew rescued 29 sailors from four vessels wrecked in the shipping entrance to Boston Harbor during the great storm of November, 1888. By that time, he was already a life-saver with the Massachusetts Humane Society (nothing animal related), which was originally founded in 1786 to save lives of those on shipwrecks on the coast. Between 1890 and his death in 1902, Capt. James and his crews rescued people from eighty-six shipwrecks which occurred within the jurisdiction of the Point Allerton Station. There were 556 persons on board these vessels. Only 16 of these lost their lives. Later, the US Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service, were merged to form the US Coast Guard, and Joshua James is today considered a “father” of the US Coast Guard. The station was occupied until the 1960s, when a new station was constructed. The future of the building was uncertain until the Hull Lifesaving Museum was established in 1978 and restored the building.
Tirrell-Cobb House // c.1750
One of the most stunning Georgian cape homes I have seen is this charming house in Hull, Massachusetts. Built in the mid-18th century, this house was acquired by Gideon Tirrell after the Revolutionary War. Gideon married Mary Loring, a descendant of John Loring, who built the home in my last post. The family appears to have occupied the home until the Cobb family acquired the house in about 1860, when Capt. Joseph Cobb and his wife, Eliza Turner settled here. He was the third “Keeper of the Lifeboat” from 1858-1876. In his role, he rowed out to sinking ships in the Boston Harbor and attempted to save any sailors still alive, often saving dozens of lives. The home was restored in the 1980s and remains one of the best-preserved in the town!
Hull Public Library // 1879
“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.
Mason Barney Estate // c.1812
Arguably the most grand house in Swansea, MA is the Mason Barney Estate, built in 1807. The home was constructed by shipwrights for Mason Barney (1782-1868), who had taken ownership of the shipyard following his father’s death in the early 1800s. Under his ownership, Mason had established a large enterprise with over 200 men working to build boats at the shipyard. His estate included the shipyard, a general town store, and housing for some crew members, among other proprietary establishments.. The Mason Barney Shipyard in North Swansea (later known as Barneyville) had an international reputation and he built an estimated 137 ships, until it ceased operations in 1860 with the advent of steam-powered ships and the Civil War on the rise. The home stayed in the same family for over 100 years and depicts the grand architecture and wealth seen in the early 19th century in New England. The Federal home features paired chimneys, fluted corner pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals, three pedimented dormers with elaborate Palladian details. The home in recent years has been foreclosed on and as of 2019, was owned by Fannie Mae, selling recently. The home has been decaying for some time now, just waiting for a brave soul to bring her back to her former glory.
Jechonias Thayer House // 1835
The Jechonias Thayer House is high-style temple-front Greek Revival home in the Doric order in Braintree, MA. The two-story columns support the colonnade and heavy pedimented gable. The home was built for Jechonias Thayer, a wholesale and retail grocery merchant in downtown Boston. Thayer died in Boston in 1876. He built this house on his ancestral homestead at Braintree about 1835, the year his father, Solomon Thayer, died. Solomon Thayer had lived here in an earlier dwelling. This house also served as a country home for the next owner, Edward Reed (d.1891), a Boston iron merchant. After this, the home was purchased by Leonard F. Norris (1831-1908), in 1893. Norris reportedly was one of the early settlers of North Bridgewater, and worked as a real estate broker in that city. His son, F. Edgar Norris, inherited the property and renovated it. The younger Norris, Lowell Ames Norris was an author who dubbed the property “Norcrest”, wrote about the renovated home which made it in many architectural publications.
Dr. Almon Jones House and Office // 1888
These two Queen Anne structures of similar design actually sit on the same lot on Hollis Street in Braintree and served very different uses! Both were built for Dr. Almon H. Jones, a dentist who resided in the home and held his dental office next door in the smaller building. The house is richly decorated in characteristically Queen Anne features that include asymmetrical massing, textured sheathing, half timbering, and elaborate bracketing. The office, now a separate residence, is a small two bay wide structure and two rooms deep. Although small in size, the building is richly decorated with an array of elaborate Queen Anne features, many duplicating those found on the house. Similar paint schemes tie the buildings together, much as they would have been in the past!
Thayer Academy – Glover Building // 1893
The second building constructed for Thayer Academy (see here for the first) is the Glover Building, a handsome Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival gymnasium building. Sited to create a quadrangle for the new campus, the brick building respects the earlier building, yet is of its time and style to showcase how institutional design tastes change. In 1891, Mrs. Sarah White Glover, at the age of 87, inherited the White family wealth. She would pass away a year later. Prior to her death, she had consulted with Judge French, President of the Board of Trustees at Thayer Academy, about how best to spend her money for educational purposes. French suggested that she donate to Thayer Academy as the school was in need of a gymnasium. Glover obliged and willed the necessary funds to the school. Architects for the building were Hartwell and Richardson of Boston, the successor firm to the original Thayer Academy Building. The building had a boys’ gymnasium on one side and a girls’ on the other side. The middle of the building housed chemistry laboratories, as the original school building was already running out of lab space.