Category Archives: Federal

Reuben Whitcomb House & Store (1825)

11 Fairbank St., Harvard

The house at 11 Fairbank Street in Harvard was built between 1823 and 1831 by Reuben Whitcomb, who used it as both a residence (the south section) and a store (the north section). Whitcomb’s widow sold the building in 1865 to Alfred Farwell, who continued its use as a residence/store. For some years, the store section had been used by Gale and Dickson, owners of the town’s General Store, first for storing grain and then as a roller skating rink! In 1895, W.P. Farwell converted the former store area into a two-family residence. In 1946, Rachel and John McTigue bought the house from Gertrude Farwell Sawyer and restored the building to become the Harvard Inn, which had eight rooms for guests, three dining rooms and two sitting rooms. The Inn was converted to apartments in 1953 and from 1993 to 2012 served as affordable housing for the elderly.

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Joseph G. Harwood House (1800)

Joseph G. Harwood House

In the late eighteenth-century, a farming community developed along Still River Road in Harvard. The house at 200 Still River Road was built around 1800 by Joseph G. Harwood, who had obtained a license to sell alcohol. Around 1850 the house was acquired by William F. Bateman, who was postmaster of Still River (also a librarian). His widow, Louisa H. Bateman, took over his postmaster duties after his death in 1877. In the 1890s, the house was acquired by Amos H. Keyes and in 1907 by Arthur Hunter, an engineer with the Boston & Albany railroad. It was then owned by F. S. Savage, Sr., author of Memoirs of Old Harvard Days (1924). Savage also sold real estate. For many years it was a double house with a long garage addition on the northeast side. It has since been converted to a single-family home, with a new front entry molding and the old addition shortened.

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Ross Farm (1800)

Ross Farm

The farmhouse at 123 Meadow Street in the Florence section of Northampton was built c. 1830 by Theodore Burt, or perhaps c. 1800 by his father, Gaius Burt, who had purchased the farm in 1798. Samuel Whitmarsh, a pioneer of silk cultivation in Northampton, purchased the property in 1835. Whitmarsh’s Northampton Silk Company ceased operation in 1840 owing to a decline in the industry and heavy debt. The property was acquired abolitionist Samuel Hill in 1841 to become part of the utopian community called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry (founded in 1842). Hill, who was active in the Underground Railroad, lived in the house, which is the only surviving NAEI building left today. In 1849, Hill sold the farm to Abel Ross. He lived in the house with his nephew, Austin Ross, who eventually bought the property himself in 1857. Austin Ross also used the house as a station on the Underground Railroad. The property is now called Freedom Farm.

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Allen-Osgood-Huntington Triple House (1828)

Allen-Osgood-Huntington Triple House

For my 101st Salem post I present the Allen-Osgood-Huntington Triple House, located at 31-33-35 Chestnut Street in Salem. It was begun in 1828-1829 by Pickering Dodge and completed after 1833 by his son-in-law, John Fiske Allen, a horticulturalist who lived in No. 31. As described in Fisk Cousins and Phil M. Riley’s The Colonial Architecture of Salem (1919):

there, in 1853, for the first time in New England, [Allen] grew and brought to flower in his greenhouse the Victoria regia, the great water lily of the Amazon, from seed obtained of Caleb Cope, of Philadelphia. The following season Mr. Allen enlarged his greenhouse and tank and obtained more seed from England, including that of the Amaryllis, Nelumbium and other tropical species of lilies which thrived and formed a rare collection much admired by many visitors. Mr. Allen published the results of his observations on the Victoria regia in a beautiful folio volume, finely illustrated by W. Sharpe from specimens grown in Salem. . . . Previous to Mr. Allen’s occupancy the house was for a time the home of Nathaniel Silsbee, United States senator from 1826 to 1835.

The middle house (No. 33) had various owners, including Captain Charles M. Endicott of the ship Friendship. In a famous incident that occurred in 1831, the ship was captured by Malays off the coast of Sumatra and then retaken in a fierce battle. In 1864, the house was purchased by George P. Osgood, whose family remained there until the 1940s. The bay window on this middle house is a Victorian-era addition. The house at the western end (No. 35) was home to three mayors of Salem: Charles W. Upham (served 1852-1853), who wrote the classic work Salem Witchcraft (1867), Asahel Huntington (served 1853-1854) and his son, Arthur L. Huntington (served 1885).

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Captain William Saunders House (1805)

39 Chestnut Street, Salem

The house at 39 Chestnut Street in Salem was built in 1805 for Captain Thomas Saunders. It was the first of the great brick Federal-style houses to be constructed on a street famed for its architecture. In 1893 the house was remodeled in the Colonial Revival style by architect Arthur Little for owner William G. Barker. The central bay window on the second floor above the original entryway was added at that time.

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Phelps-Hedges House (1815)

Phelps-Hedges House

The house at 9 West Silver Street in Westfield was probably built between 1811 and 1821 (c. 1815) by Aaron Phelps, who sold it in the latter year to Joseph Hedges. It remained in the Hedges family for most of the nineteenth century. From 1939 to 1969, J. Rex Adams owned the house and made some interior alterations.

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Silas Hastings Tavern (1818)

Silas Hastings Tavern

At 701 Main Street, near the town Common in Boylston, is a Federal-style building, believed to have been constructed with bricks made at the Boylston brickyard of Captain John Howe. The building, which has a large ball-room on the second floor, was built in 1818 by Silas Hastings (1780-1833), who operated it as an inn and tavern until his death. The tavern was then run by Hastings’ son-in-law, Elmer Loring, until his death in 1839. After that time, it ceased to be used as a tavern. It was sold by Loring’s widow, Mary-Martha Hastings Loring, (they had married in 1827) to Captain John Andrews in 1844.

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