This large Queen Anne Victorian house in Canton Center was built for Benjamin Franklin Case (1861-1931), a banker and businessman who incorporated the town creamery. He made his fortune harnessing the rural character of the village, creating the Canton Creamery, where farmers could package and sell their dairy products to the rapidly growing communities nearby. Case was credited as bringing the telephone to town, with his office in his home serving as a switchboard room. He is also known as the first person in town to own an automobile. After his death, the property was used by his daughter Ruby as a vacation house. After WWII, she realized it was too much house for her to upkeep, and she converted the single family home into apartments.
The neighbor to the iconic Thomas Hill Standpipe (last post), this pre-Civil War Italianate mansion predates the water tower and has long been one of the most grand homes in Bangor, Maine. The house was constructed in 1857 for Joseph W. Low, a businessman and trustee of the Bangor Savings Bank. The house he had built is one of eastern Maine’s outstanding Italianate residences, designed by Boston architect Harvey Graves, who was born in Maine. Soon after the Civil War, Graves moved west to California, likely seeking additional wealth from the spurned from the success of the Gold Rush. He appears to have lived out the remainder of his life out west, giving his family in Maine this home. The house exhibits flushboard siding with scored wood to resemble ashlar masonry, gorgeous window hoods and mouldings, and a large belvedere at the roof, which would have provided sweeping views of the Maine frontier when built, atop one of the highest hills in Bangor.
One of the more high-style houses in rural Rochester, Massachusetts, is the Weld-Haskell House. The house was built around 1854 in the Italianate style for a recently widowed Susan Haskell. Susan was the daughter of Jesse Haskell, who was a state representative and served in the War of 1812, and a descendant of one of the town’s earliest colonial settlers. The home remained in the Haskell family until the second half of the 20th century.
One of the most visually striking homes in little Chester, Vermont, is the Durand House. Sited prominently on a hill, the 1861 home resembles a wedding dress in bright white with intricate spindles that look like lace. The house was seemingly built for Urban Durand, one of the proprietors of the successful Durand Brothers Market in Chester village. The home has an elaborately trimmed full-front porch with a second-story polygonal balcony, and a three-story corner tower with a shallow mansard roof, all possibly later additions. The house stands out in the village, which is largely dominated by classical Federal and Greek Revival houses.
Built in the 1890s by Dr. A.W. Rice, the ground floor of this Queen Anne style house served as the physician’s office, and he lived with his family in the upper floors. The home stands out as a fairly uncommon example of the Queen Anne style in Marion, a town dominated by Shingle style homes in that period. An enterprising Danish immigrant named Viggo V. Petersen, purchased the home and adjacent carriage house in 1921 and opened an ice cream parlor in it. When Viggo V. died in 1941, his son, Viggo C., attempted to carry on, until wartime cream shortages and rationing forced him to close for the duration of the conflict. Thereafter, Petersen’s ice cream resumed production and remained a Marion fixture until its final closing in the 1970s. The home is now occupied by two offices, and the former carriage house is home to the Mary Celeste Wine and Whiskey Library, a fun place that educates about wine and whiskey, offering tastings and events.
You know a town is fancy if it has its own music hall! The Marion Music Hall was (you guessed it) largely funded by none other than Elizabeth Taber the prestigious benefactor of Tabor Academy, the Library, and more in her hometown. This building was first envisioned after Ms. Taber was dismayed by the poor quality of “worldy theatricals” that were taking place in the only such venue at the time, the Congregational Chapel. Her last gift to the town via a provision in her will, allotted money for the construction of a “suitable building for a lecture and music hall”, costing a total of $23,000. Her go-to architect, William Gibbons Preston, was hired to design the Music Hall, which is a pleasing late-Victorian, Queen Anne-Romanesque Revival building constructed of brick. The Music Hall’s lawn was deemed worthy as the site of a handsome cast-iron Soldiers Monument which was dedicated during the summer of 1894 and remains on the site today.
One of the most prominent homes in Jamaica Plain is the Riddell House, built in 1873. The Second Empire style house was built for Samuel S. Riddell, who is listed in directories as a merchant with offices in Downtown Boston. After the Civil War, it was common for those with money, to build larger mansions outside the city and commute in via horsecar or train. Boston at the time was an industrial powerhouse with coal stacks and horses spewing waste all over, so a respite from the urban conditions of Boston was a selling point for many to build homes farther out. Interestingly, Second Empire style homes by the 1870s were starting to wane in popularity, but the owner decided to have the home constructed in the style anyway. Besides the amazing siting on the hill with lush landscaping, the house features a large belvedere at the roof, which would allow Samuel the ability to see Boston in the distance, along with all the pollution at the time.
The District 13 Police Station was built in 1873 in response to the needs of a growing community. Located in what is now Jamaica Plain, it was originally intended to serve the town of West Roxbury, which was itself annexed into Boston within the year it took to construct this building! The town of West Roxbury appropriated funds for a larger police station in the dense core of their town, but only acquired land in Sumner Hill, which was a rapidly developing neighborhood with large, upper-class mansions on large lots. To appease the neighbors, the town hired architect George Ropes to design this brick Victorian Gothic building with slate roof, punctured by a number of dormers. The building is one of the best-designed civic buildings in the present city of Boston and appears much as it would have when built 150 years ago. After West Roxbury was annexed, the City of Boston constructed an addition at the rear, designed in 1892 by Edmund M. Wheelwright, architect for the City of Boston, to serve as a municipal court building. The ornate building continued its use as a police station until the early 1980s until it was deaccessioned by the City of Boston and sold, subsequently converted to condominiums. I wonder if they kept the jail cells!
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston, is a sprawling Victorian church dramatically sited on the crest of Sumner Hill, looking over the amazing neighborhood. The church was a local affair as it was designed by local architect Harris M. Stephenson and constructed in 1882 of rough-faced rubble Roxbury puddingstone (a locally harvested stone) with tan sandstone trim. Not all about the church is local though, some national players left their mark on the design. The church contains a collection of significant 19th century stained glass windows, including works by the studios of John LaFarge, MacDonald/McPerson, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Additionally, there are two murals by nationally known artist George Willoughby Maynard. This church building is the second house of worship for the Episcopal congregation in Jamaica Plain. It was built on land bequeathed to the church by General William H. Sumner, lawyer, legislator, adjutant general, historian and developer of East Boston. The amazing Victorian Gothic building underwent a full restoration about a decade ago, thanks to preservation grants. The church remains an active congregation and advocates for both spirituality and social justice.
Next door to the Fanny Weld House (last post) and the iconic Loring-Greenough House, this Queen Anne home in Jamaica Plain, Boston, packs an architectural punch, but is kind of hidden from the public view. The home was built in 1883 for Edward Sherwin, an agent for the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, who seemingly marketed their coal to the Boston area. The company was the largest producer of anthracite coal in the United States from 1871 through the 1920s. He married an Elizabeth B. Van Brunt in 1882, likely the same Elizabeth who was the sister of famed architect Henry Van Brunt. Therefore, its likely that Henry Van Brunt designed this home for his sister and her new husband as a wedding gift! This is one of the homes that I would LOVE to see the interior. The woodwork is probably immaculate!