St. Sylvia’s Catholic Church // 1881-1909

Photo in Detroit Publishing Co. Collection.

As wealthy citizens from cities like Boston, Philadelphia and New York, began building summer cottages on Mount Desert Island in Maine, an influx of carpenters and tradespeople from Ireland followed to construct and work on them. Realizing this, cottager DeGrasse Fox along with Brooks White of Philadelphia, donated land for a new Catholic church building. Maine architect, William Ralph Emerson, donated plans for the church. A masterpiece of Shingle style design, the church, which seated 300 people, was deemed too small for the growing village’s summer congregation. A new, stone church was built closer to town (featured previously). The spire and belfry resemble another church Emerson designed in Beverly, MA, St. Margaret’s Catholic Church. Sadly, St. Sylvia’s burned down in 1909.

Hardon House // 1880

This refrigerator white painted house in Jamaica Plain was built in 1880 for Charles Hardon, an executive with C.A. Browning & Co. a millnery goods company (making and selling women’s hats). Business must have been good because Hardon was able to buy a large house lot from the Greenough Family and hired esteemed architect William Ralph Emerson to design a Queen Anne house for him and his family. The home was eventually purchased by Henry F. Colwell, a stock broker at the Boston Stock Exchange. The massive home is notable for the asymmetry, different siding types, and inset porches, all hallmarks of the Queen Anne style of architecture. If you owned this house, would you paint it differently?

House of Odd Windows // 1802

This funky house in Beacon Hill was built in 1802 actually as a stable, for United States Senator Jonathan Mason (who lived on the next street). Set out around 1800, Pinckney Street was originally a glorified service alley lined with the stables for the larger homes on the South Slope of Beacon Hill, and served as a buffer street between the mansions of the Brahmins who lived closer to the Boston Common, and the working-class neighborhood of the North Slope. From the 1880s until 1920s, Thomas Bailey Aldrich and his heirs owned the old Mason stable. Aldrich was an author and the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, and rented this stable building. He eventually hired noted architect William Ralph Emerson to redesign the main facade of the old stable in the manner of a picturesque Queen Anne cottage. The house has windows of varying sizes and forms and creates a complex composition which surprisingly works. The deeply recessed panel doors and some inset windows give the house depth. It has been known locally as the “House of the Odd Windows”, a name that perfectly fits.

Thatcher Loring House // 1882

This distinguished Shingle style home in the Pill Hill neighborhood of Brookline, MA was designed in 1882 and completed two years later for Thatcher Loring. Mr. Loring worked as the Treasurer of the National Dock & Warehouse Company in Boston. Loring’s house was designed by William Ralph Emerson, who at the time, was at the peak of a career that specialized in Shingle Style houses, particularly large summer cottages, primarily in New England. The home features a brick first floor with shingle siding above, and a recessed entrance with stunning wood paneling.