Howard House – St. Mary of the Angels Rectory // c.1867

Moving north from the Stonybrook section of Jamaica Plain, Boston, I explored around Roxbury, an area often overlooked by tourists, but has a lot of history and great buildings with rich stories! This old Victorian-era house was built around 1867 for Joseph W. Howard and his wife Lillie about the time of their wedding. The large Italianate style mansion was built in a period and location where wealthier Boston merchants could build large mansions with space in the inner suburbs of the city. The area remained fairly bucolic until the turn of the 20th century when housing development really picked up in Boston’s neighborhoods. By this time, owner Samuel Shuman sold his property on the busy corner lot to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. In 1907, construction of the basement church on the site of the former Shuman Estate began. The original plans called for building a larger, upper church at a later date. However, due to a number of factors over the years, the upper church was never built. After WWII, Roxbury saw a demographic change and the church is largely home to a Black and Hispanic congregation to this day. The former Howard House is still owned by the Archdiocese as the rectory.