The Frederick C. Bowditch House, on Rawson Road in Brookline, is associated with the family of attorney and abolitionist William Ingersoll Bowditch and his wife, Sarah R. H. Bowditch. Built for their third son, Frederick Channing Bowditch (1854-1925), this house was built behind his parents’ house on Tappan Street, which was demolished in 1939. Frederick C. Bowditch was a conveyancer and active in the settlement of estates held by individuals in greater Boston. He hired the esteemed architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver to design this massive transitional home which blends three late 18th century styles: Queen Anne, Shingle, and Colonial Revival. Of particular note are two large cross-gambrel bays that enliven the massing of the huge façade.
The property transferred by 1945 a manufacturer until, Harold Tovish and his wife, Marianna Pineda, both Expressionist sculptors, moved here in 1970. Tovish shortly after moving in, was named a fellow at the newly established Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. A New York native who relocated to the Boston area in the late 1950s, Harold Tovish (1921-2008) worked in bronze, polished aluminum, and mixed media.
Located across Tappan Street from the former William Ingersoll Bowditch home, the former coachman’s house is the only lasting remnant of the once far-flung estate in Brookline. Built around 1867 as a residence for Michael Lynch, a laborer, who became the Bowditch coachman and lived in the house until his death. The Lynch family later acquired the property when the Bowditch estate was demolished and land subdivided. 224 Tappan Street is an exceptionally charming cottage with fanciful detailing, quite unlike any other home in its neighborhood.There is a projecting center entry with a small diamond pane window on either side and a gable roof. The facade of the house is common bond brick and the sides are sheathed in vertical boards. The saw tooth edged, board and batten siding that finishes the pediments, and the flat cut finials at the peak of both gables makes one think of Hansel and Gretel, and I am all for it!
Once located in the Aspinwall Hill area of Brookline, the William Ingersoll Bowditch House stood alone in a sparsely developed section of metro Boston. Located on Tappan Street, this house was built by 1855 for William I. Bowditch (1818-1909), the son of the famous navigator Nathaniel Bowditch. William Bowditch’s successful career as a lawyer allowed him to support the liberal ideals and causes in which he believed, which were emboldened by forward-thinking citizens of Boston. He was an ardent abolitionist and a great friend of William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown. Bowditch was active in hiding run away slaves and aiding their safe escape via a small home on Toxteth Street in Brookline. Bowditch also advocated for women’s rights as at a Brookline town meeting in 1881, he suggested “That the town ask the legislature to extend to women who are citizens the right to hold office and vote in town affairs on the same terms as male citizens.”
After Bowditch’s death in 1909, the home was willed to his widow Sarah Rhea Higginson who resided their until her death ten years later. The home was occupied by heirs of Bowditch family lived in the home until 1938 when it was sold after the death of James Higginson Bowditch to John Richmond who razed the home and built seven homes along Tappan Street in its place.