Dr. William Ellery Channing was a leading Unitarian preacher and theologian, who was minister of the Federal Street Church in Boston from 1830-1842. Asher Benjamin designed the 1835 house at 83 Mount Vernon Street, on Boston’s Beacon Hill, where Channing and his family lived from 1835 until his death in 1842. Among the distinguished visitors at the house was Charles Dickens, who had breakfast with Channing in 1842. Dr. Channing’s nephew was William Ellery Channing, the Transcendentalist poet.
Left: 59 Mt. Vernon St.; Center: 57 Mt. Vernon St.;
Right: Nichols House Museum (55 Mt. Vernon St.);
Jonathan Mason, one of the Mount Vernon Proprietors (the group of real estate speculators who developed Boston’s Beacon Hill), commissioned the architect Charles Bulfinch to design a row of four houses (51-57 Mt. Vernon St.) for his daughters. Originally constructed in 1804, Nos. 55 & 57 both had side entrances on their west elevations, facing Mason’s mansion, which is no longer standing. In 1837, No. 59 (designed by Edward Shaw) was built to the west, blocking the entrance to No. 57, which was consequently moved to its current location on the front facade, facing Mt. Vernon St. Nos. 55-57 have had some notable residents.
Located in the middle of Boston’s exclusive Beacon Hill neighborhood, Louisburg Square, planned in 1826, consists of a narrow park between Pinckney and Mt. Vernon Streets, which is now the last private square in Boston. By 1844, most of the Greek Revival-style row houses facing the square had been built and the Louisburg Square Proprietors formed the first homeowners association in the country. This was one of the last areas of Beacon Hill to be developed, but these new buildings honored the spirit of the Federal-style houses built elsewhere in the neighborhood earlier in the century. Those on the west side are mainly bow-fronted houses and have had a number of notable residents. It is still an exclusive neighborhood today. Read on for more about Louisa May Alcott, William Dean Howells and Jenny Lind.