The Tower Cottage // 1880

Tower Cottage was built in 1880 and is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in the town of Ridgefield, CT. The home was designed and built by Charles Betts Northrup, a carpenter and builder who grew up in town. The home was eventually occupied as a summer retreat for Maude Bouvier Davis, who would spend some summers at the house away from the big city. In Ridgefield, Maude was sometimes visited by her niece, Jackie Bouvier, later known as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, First Lady to President John F. Kennedy. Maude owned the property until 1972 and the home has been lovingly preserved since.

Hawley House // c.1865

Located next to the Reverend Thomas Hawley House (last post), this gingerbread cottage on Ridgefield’s Main Street looks straight out of a fairy tale! The home appears to have been built around the Civil War (or a renovation of an earlier house) and blends Italianate and Gothic detailing elegantly under one roof. The home was built on land that was owned by the Hawley descendants and was occupied by a few members of the family until it sold out of Hawley ownership in the 20th century. The house was purchased in 2002 by Gregory and Valerie Jensen who restored the home. Mrs. Jensen is the founder of the Prospector Theatre, a non-profit cinema dedicated to providing a higher quality of life through meaningful employment to people with disabilities.

Rockwell House // c.1850

Built in 1850, likely as a late-Greek Revival or Italianate style home, this property on Main Street in Ridgefield was completely “modernized” in the 1880s in the Queen Anne style popular at the time. The home was originally built for Francis Asbury Rockwell (1818-1881), a tin-smith, wine-maker and inventor who married Mary Lee Everest, who also had deep roots in the community and was a daughter of a local Revolutionary War captain. The couple built a home on Main Street and raised their children there until Francis and Mary died in 1881 and 1883 respectively. The family home was inherited by their eldest son, Charles Lee Rockwell, who became the director of the First National Bank in town. Charles updated the house to give it the Queen Anne Victorian flair we see today.

Whitman House // c.1870

In 1870, the Annisquam Cotton Mill in Rockport, Massachusetts was sold at auction and acquired by a group of local investors and businessmen. One of those men was G. P. Whitman, who served as a local agent for the reorganized firm. Whitman built this home just a short walk to the mill, which stands prominently in the village. The home is a great example of the Stick style, using some Italianate forms and detailing. The Annisquam Mill saw less than ideal revenue as in 1877, it was announced that the workers would get a cut in pay to avoid closing the mill. G. P. Whitman realized the threat of fire to woolen mills, and operated a fire station nearby. Sadly, in 1883, a fire destroyed much of the mill, even with local fire companies doing their best. A portion of the mill and the old Whitman House stand as lasting remnants of the Annisquam Cotton Mill Company in Rockport.

John Deane House // 1896

John Milton Deane (1840-1914) was born in Assonet Village in Freetown, Mass., to a prominent local family. He attended regional schools before becoming a teacher. As an 18-year-old school teacher, Deane enlisted in Assonet’s militia company, in 1858, upon increasing tension between the slave- and free-states. The local militia company joined the 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts Militia, which was organized for active service on April 15, 1861 in response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops to put down the insurrection in the southern states, the beginning of the American Civil War. After serving and a small break, he again joined the Union forces as 2nd Lieutenant with the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the 29th Massachusetts on March 25, 1865 at Fort Stedman, Virginia. His citation reads “This officer, observing an abandoned gun within Fort Haskell, called for volunteers, and under a heavy fire, worked the gun until the enemy’s advancing line was routed.” After the conclusion of the Civil War, John Deane continued teaching for a year before opening a dry goods store. He built this home after a decorated military and sales career, in 1896, on a prominent lot facing a branch of the Taunton River. The Queen Anne style home exhibits a prominent corner tower, porches, and decorative corbels.

Louis K. Harlow House // 1888

One of the best houses in Waban Village in Newton is this absolutely stunning Shingle style/Queen Anne home perched high on Moffat Hill. This house was built in 1888 for Louis K. Harlow, who began his career as a professional artist in 1880 and traveled Europe to study the work of prominent painters. Back in the Boston area, Harlow painted nature and landscapes and produced etchings that were shown in the Boston Art Club and sold worldwide. He later got into poetry and published multiple works. Harlow hired the firm of Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow, to design his country retreat. I assume there is a relation between Louis K. and the architect Alfred Branch Harlow, but I would love to find out the connection! The design is quintessentially Queen Anne, with the asymmetry, complex roof form, varied siding types, and diamond window sashes. The shingled second floor overhangs the fieldstone first floor which to me, evokes the Shingle style where the house seems to have grown out from the earth. I can only imagine how spectacular the interior is!

Winfield S. Carr House // 1896

In 1895, Winfield S. Carr (1849-1911) purchased land on Windsor Road for a residence from William S. Strong, a horticulturist and developer of Waban Village. The lot is located at the peak of Moffat Hill, and provided sweeping views of undeveloped farm and marshland and possibly Boston in the distance. As a young man, Carr moved to Fall River from Maine, and was employed in the dry goods business. He eventually moved to Boston and opened up a toy shop, which clearly became a large success. The firm sold fireworks and children’s toys from the downtown location. The Queen Anne style home was occupied by Carr and his wife (they don’t appear to have had children) for less than a decade, when the couple downsized and moved to an apartment on Comm. Ave. in Allston.

Evans-Cummings House // 1855 & 1890

The most iconic house in Norway, Maine has to be the Evans-Cummings House (also known locally as the Gingerbread House) on Main Street. The ornate Victorian era home was originally built in 1855 for Richard Evans, who was born in Portland in 1805 and after training as a carpenter, moved to Norway in 1833 for work. He and his wife, Mary Warren Hill, had eight children and they resided in the home until their death. In 1890, Charles B. Cummings bought the house in 1890 and hired local architect John B. Hazen to remodel the house. Hazen added the gingerbread adornments for which the house is now known colloquially. The home attracted a lot of attention in the region, and the later heirs continued that whimsical appeal. When the home was willed to Fred and Cora Cummings, they were said to have kept a stuffed peacock at the top of the stairs, which delighted children when they toured the home. The house eventually became used as storage by the owners of the local Advertiser Democrat newspaper, and its future was threatened. Since 2012, a local group, Friends of the Gingerbread House, have poured tens of thousands of dollars and an equal amount of time restoring the iconic home to her former glory! Preservation is important!

John N. A. Griswold House // 1863

John Noble Alsop Griswold (1822-1909) was born into wealth, with his family business involved in land speculation in New York as well as the N. L. & G. Griswold Company, which imported sugar and rum from the Caribbean on clipper ships. In his 20s, John traveled to China for a trade and within a year of that trip, was appointed United States consul at Shanghai, serving in that role until 1854. Upon his return to America, he helped develop several prominent railroads, serving as president of the Illinois Central Railroad and chairman of the board of directors of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He eventually settled in Newport and helped shape the sleepy town into a summer resort town for high-society. His statement-piece in town was his own mansion on Bellevue Avenue, built in 1863 from designs by Richard Morris Hunt, and completed that next year. It was the first of Hunt’s many notable works in Newport, and is considered a prototype work of the Stick style of architecture in America. Hunt would go on to design Ochre Court, The Breakers, and other Gilded Age mansions in Newport and all over the northeast. Griswold died in the house in 1909; it remained vacant until 1915, when it was acquired by the Art Association of Newport, which now uses it as a museum gallery. I really want to see the inside of this beauty!

“Rest Haven” – “Le Chalet” // 1870

Bellevue Avenue in Newport is best-known for its massive summer cottages, many of which are built of stone and look more like art museums than a house. “Rest Haven” is one of the most stunning summer cottages in Newport and can stand toe-to-toe with the later mansions which neighbor it. The Stick style cottage was built in 1870 as a spec. house for merchant and financier John N.A. Griswold, who had his own cottage farther up the street (last post). Similar to his own house, he hired world-renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, which was to be sold soon after completion for a profit to Anna Gilbert of New York, a wealthy widow who wanted to keep up with high-society in Newport. Anna Gilbert’s son, Charles Pierrepont Gilbert, was a New York architect who trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He and his wife, Clara, summered at Resthaven until 1916. The home was likely renamed “Le Chalet” by a subsequent owner. The cottage was altered over the years, but restored a number of years ago by Newport Collaborative Architects and Behan Bros, and looks stunning!