Baylies Mansion // 1903

Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood is a dream, no matter what time of year, though I am a huge fan of it in the winter so the leaves don’t obscure the architectural details! This home just steps from the Public Garden was built in 1903 for Walter Baylies (1862-1936) and his wife, Charlotte. The couple had purchased a c.1860 Second Empire mansion (basically a sister house or twin to the adjacent at 3 Commonwealth Ave), and demolished it for a more “modern” residence. Baylies was extremely wealthy with investments in nearly everything, and he wanted his city residence to stand out amongst the earlier, brick and brownstone townhouses on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. Architect Arthur Rice designed the house in the Renaissance Revival style, and it is finished with Indiana Limestone. Of particular note is the one-story ballroom, which was built to the side of the home, set back behind a small garden. An empty house lot, formerly occupied by a stable, was used simply for the Baylies’ ballroom, constructed in 1909 for their daughter. Talk about a status symbol! The home was purchased by Walter’s heirs in 1941 by the Boston Center for Adult Education. The home was again purchased in 2020, and is back to a single-family home! I can’t even imagine how stunning the interior is!

1-3 Louisburg Square // 1846

These two townhomes on the end of the iconic Louisburg Square in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood were built in 1846 and stand as excellent examples of the Greek Revival style of architecture. Louisburg Square is a private park, maintained by the owners which overlook it, and the enclave of homes has become the most exclusive in the already swank Beacon Hill neighborhood; with townhouses listing for over $15,000,000! No.1 Louisburg Square was built for George R. Russell, of Russell & Co., East India Merchants. The home stayed in the family for nearly 100 years and changed hands later to other well-connected Bostonians. The adjacent house was acquired in 1849 by Joseph Iasigi, an affluent Turkish-born merchant as well as the Turkish Consul in Boston. He donated the statues of Christopher Columbus and Aristedes that still grace the northern and southern ends of the Square. When the marble statue of Aristedes arrived in Boston, Iasigi announced his intentions to locate the statue in the park to his neighbors. The neighbors hemmed and hawed about placing a Greek statue in their revered Louisburg Square and appointed a committee of three to think it over. When Joseph added that he would also import a statue of Christopher Columbus, they wholeheartedly agreed to both. Iasigi later relocated to a larger Second Empire style house in the neighborhood a decade later (featured on here previously). When he moved, Elijah Williams occupied the house, later constructing a stunning horse stable in the Beacon Hill flats (featured previously). Together, the two homes provide a stunning entrance to a luxurious and well-preserved corner of Boston.

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.