Harriswood Crescent was built in 1889-90 at the height of Roxbury’s development as a streetcar suburb which coincided with the electrification of the streetcar lines in Boston. The area of Roxbury in which the Crescent is located, known at the time as Boston Highlands due to its rocky terrain and steep grades, was an extremely desirable residential location. As land values raised, middle and upper-class families looked for varied housing types that fit their demands. Seen as a great investment of the family estate, the heirs of wealthy businessman Horatio Harris (1821-1876) redeveloped lots on one side of a rocky park for fine townhouses, which were named Harriswood Crescent. The name was probably chosen for its historical associations with Boston’s Tontine Crescent and the great Georgian crescents of London and Bath in England. Architect J. Williams Beal designed the row, which was one of his first commissions upon returning to Boston in 1888 after employment as a draftsman at McKim, Mead & White and a long study in England to view architecture. Built at 15 separate units, the row of Tudor style houses is among the only of such developments in Boston, and New England at large.
Waban in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a hotbed for architect-designed houses as their own residences. This Colonial Revival/Tudor Revival style estate was designed by Gifford LeClear (1874–1931), a prominent architect in the Boston area. Gifford LeClear was born in Rutherford, New Jersey to Thomas and Cornelia (King) LeClear. He was educated in the private schools in Boston before entering Harvard University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1895 and Master of Arts in 1896. He then worked for a year in the engineering department of the West End Street Railway before forming his partnership with Densmore in 1897. The partnership of Densmore & LeClear was formed in April 1897, practicing as mechanical and electrical engineers. One of the firm’s major projects in this role was the design of the building systems for the new campus of the Harvard Medical School in Boston.
This refined brick Tudor Revival house in the Waban Village of Newton was built in 1917 for Lila and James Emmett. The couple hired Boston architect Edward B. Stratton to furnish plans for the home, which fits in to the early 20th century neighborhood. The symmetrical home has two gables at the facade which frame the central bay with a segmental pediment at the entrance.
William “Willie” Winfred Windle (yes that is a real name) was born in Millbury at the height of the town’s industrial growth and prosperity. He ran the W.W. Windle Mill just west of downtown and with his wealth, was able to buy a house lot on one of the most fashionable residential streets in town. His home was built in the early 20th century and is a stunning example of Tudor Revival architecture. In 1911, Windle traveled to England to inspect mills there and was likely inspired by some of the residential architecture he viewed on the trip. The house elegantly blends stone walls with half-timbered wood, with a prominent entry. The timber and stone entrance porch which has decorative bargeboard and corbels, has been enclosed. The home remained in the Windle family at least into the 1940s, when it was occupied by William Winfred Windle’s son, Winfred Woodward Windle. By the 1970s, the home was occupied as the Millbury Society of District Nursing.
Sunset Cottage was designed by local architect Milton Stratton and cost $20,000. The cottage was constructed for New Yorker Gertrude Stevens Rice, a decade after the death of her husband William. She and her husband formerly resided at The Tides, a home nearby, but she decided to construct a new home to summer at with her sister. The shingled home originally had half-timbering in the gables, but other than that, looks almost identical to when it was built 110 years ago!
It’s Tudor Tuesday so I have to share one of the great Tudor Revival cottages in Bar Harbor, Maine, “The Poplars” (because any good summer cottage needs a name)! The cottage was built in 1899-1900 for Lewis A. Roberts, a retired book publisher from Boston, who purchased the lot which contained a summer cottage and stable, razing both. He hired the local firm of Goddard & Hunt, an architect/builder duo who worked on many projects in the village. The Tudor Revival cottage was only occupied in the summer months by Roberts and his family as the home was not winterized at the time. The cottage was built of wood and rough stucco work with rough timber trimmings all hallmarks of the Tudor style. The home was later known as the Stratford House, and became an inn until just a couple years ago. It was recently listed for sale and has 13 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms!
One of the most grand Summer estates on the coast in Marion, MA, is “Fair Oaks”, a 1903 Tudor Revival mansion across the Sippican Harbor from the village. Horace B. Shepard was the president of the Shepard and Morse Lumber Company, which was headquartered in Downtown Boston. The company was a wholesale dealer in all kinds of lumber including: white pine, spruce, hemlock, North Carolina pine, yellow pine, poplar, and various oaks. Given Shepard’s line of work he not surprisingly called his summer estate “Fair Oaks”, and his house’s building materials were undoubtedly supplied by his company. He appears to have hired Charles Allerton Coolidge, who lived nearby in his own summer cottage (featured previously) to design the Tudor mansion. The “cottage” is almost 13,000 sq.ft. and has 11 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms. Wow!
The history of the Old Jamaica Plain High School (originally West Roxbury High School) goes back to the year 1842, when the Town of Roxbury (which at the time, included Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and West Roxbury) established “Eliot High School,”. The school was named after Reverend John Eliot of Roxbury, who in 1689, gave 75 acres of land to the town for the maintenance, support, and encouragement of a school and school master at Jamaica or Pond Plain “in order to prevent the inconveniences of ignorance.” In 1855, the newly independent Town of West Roxbury took control of the high school until the town was annexed to Boston in 1873. During this time, the school became known as “West Roxbury High,” a name that appeared on this building, constructed in 1898. In July of 1923, the school’s name was changed to Jamaica Plain High School, to reflect its neighborhood. The building was designed by the firm Andrews, Jacques & Rantoul and is an exemplary example of the Tudor style in an academic building. The school department sold the building in the 1980s and built a larger, modern school in the area. This building was converted to apartments not long after, a use that remains to this day. Would you live in this old school building?
Another of the handful of original structures extant on the Seaside Sanatorium campus in Waterford, Connecticut, is this gorgeous Tudor Revival style duplex constructed for medical staff housing. Like the Main Building and Nurse’s Residence, this duplex is credited as a design by the great Cass Gilbert. While the building was constructed after Gilbert’s death in 1934, the plans were likely all drawn up at the time the Maher (main) building was in 1933. The duplex residences feature a symmetrical facade with two main entranceways, located in slightly projecting pavilions, and are set within basket-arched openings, detailed with alternating brick and granite voussoirs. There are three-part windows above the doors which project from the wall plane and have cross-braced faux balustrades of wood below. Identical sun porches are recessed at either end of the house. The small associated garage to the immediate northeast has a simple design, but one that reflects the style of the houses. Like the other buildings on the campus, this structure is vacant and is slowly rotting away. So sad to see.