Monthly Archives: January 2009

Haberstroh Building (1886)

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The Haberstroh Building, at 647 Boylston Street in Boston, next to the New Old South Church, was originally a house, built in 1886. From 1888 to 1902, it was the home of Dr. Edward Newton Whittier, a Civil War recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who worked at Harvard Medical School. The house became a business and in 1905, Albert Haberstroh, of the Boston firm of L. Haberstoh & Son, added the four-story bay, which has elaborate copper ornamentation, designed by Haberstroh and done by the Van Noorden sheet metal company.

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Posted in Boston, Commercial, Houses, Renaissance Revival | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Ames Building (1889)

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The Ames Building, at 1 Court Street and Washington Mall in Boston, was built in 1889 (although interior work was not completed until 1893) and is considered to be Boston’s first skyscraper. For a number of years the 13-story building dominated the city’s skyline. The building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by the successors of H. H. Richardson: the firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. It is the second tallest masonry bearing-wall structure (9 feet thick at the base) in the world. The building, left unoccupied for eight years, is now being renovated by Tishman Construction Corporation of New York to become a luxury hotel.

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King’s Chapel, Boston (1749)

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King’s Chapel, originally founded to serve British officers, was the first Anglican church in Puritan Boston. The Chapel‘s first building was a wood structure, built in 1686 on land that had been part of the town’s oldest burying ground. The current Chapel, built of Quincy granite, was constructed around the old one in 1749-1754 (the dismantled remains of the old church were then removed through the windows). The architect was Peter Harrison, of Newport, RI, considered to be America’s “first architect,” who modeled the Georgian-style building on those designed by James Gibbs in England, like St. Martin in the Fields in London, except the steeple of King’s Chapel was never built due to a lack of funds. When the British evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War, there were few Anglican families remaining in town. James Freeman, a lay reader, became minister in 1783 and led Stone Chapel (as King’s Chapel had come to be called) to become America’s first Unitarian church in 1789 (although the congregation continued to follow a liturgy based on the Book of Common Prayer). That same year, George Washington attended an oratorio at the Chapel intended to raise funds for the construction of a portico of wood Ionic columns, painted to resemble stone. When the Chapel’s bell cracked in 1814, it was recast by Paul Revere. Both the Chapel and the adjacent King’s Chapel Burying Ground are on the Boston Freedom Trail.

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Park Street Church (1809)

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Boston’s Park Street Church was built in 1809-1810 on the site of the 1738 town granary (the Old Granary Burying Ground is next door). The church‘s architect, Peter Banner, adapted the steeple from a design by Sir Christopher Wren. Solomon Willard carved the wooden capitals of the front columns. Either because of the “fire and brimstone” sermons of its Congregational preachers or the fact that gunpowder was stored in its basement during the War of 1812, the corner of Tremont and Park Streets, where the church is located, came to be known as “Brimstone Corner.” The church has had many firsts: the first Sunday School in America was founded here in 1817; the first missionaries to be sent to Hawaii started from here in 1819; the first prison aid society was founded here in 1824; William Lloyd Garrison made his first public anti-slavery speech here in 1829; and Samuel Francis Smith’s hymn, America (“My Country ‘Tis of Thee“) was sung for the first time on the church‘s steeps by Park Street’s Children’s Choir in 1831. Park Street Church is on Boston’s Freedom Trail.

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50-52 Mattoon Street, Springfield (1872)

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Another example of the Second Empire-style row house, built during the initial 1870s development of Mattoon Street in Springfield, is the building at nos. 50-52. The section of the structure to the right is the Eldredge House.

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Posted in Houses, Second Empire, Springfield | Tagged | 2 Comments

Springfield Municipal Group (1913)

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On January 6, 1905, Springfield’s old City Hall was destroyed in a fire, said to have been started by a kerosene lamp overturned by a monkey. The city then undertook the project of constructing an ambitious new Municipal Group, which was completed in 1913. The group, designed by architects Harvey Wiley Corbett and F. Livingston Pell, consists of three structures: two matching columned Greek Revival buildings serving as the City Hall and the Auditorium (now Symphony Hall) and between them, rising to 300 feet, the Italianate-style Campanile (clock tower, above). The tower was attacked by an anarchist truck bomb during construction, but the thick walls survived. The tower has a twelve bell carrillion which plays sixteen notes of Handel‘s Messiah.

Below are pictures of the other two components of the Municipal Group: City Hall and Symphony Hall.

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Concord’s Colonial Inn (1716)

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The Colonial Inn in Concord is on Monument Square. The Inn consists of three connected structures. The original East House (above), was built sometime before 1716 by Captain James Minot and deeded in that year to his son, James, Jr. The house passed to James Jr.’s son, Ephraim, and then to a cousin, Dr. Timothy Minot, Jr., a physician who tended to the wounded on April 19,1775. Some time in early 1770s, the Central Building (below) was constructed, which was used as a storehouse during the Revolution. This structure was purchased by Deacon John White in 1780 to use as a store (he added the second floor). In 1789, Dr. Minot sold the East House to Ammi White, his son-in-law and a cabinet-maker, who had killed a wounded British soldier with an axe on April 19, 1775. The very next year, White sold the house to John Thoreau, grandfather of Henry David Thoreau. John Thoreau’s wife, Rebecca Kettel, was the sister of the Deacon’s wife. Around 1820, Deacon White built the West House onto the end of his store and the eventually both the house and store was acquired by his partner, Daniel Shattuck. The young Henry David Thoreau lived in the East House with his family and his aunts from 1835 to 1837. Shattuck acquired the East House in 1839, which was leased to various tenants over the years. By the 1850s, the Central Building had become a boarding house and was then attached to the East House to become the Thoreau House hotel. Around 1900, the West House was attached to the Central Building and the entire structure became known as the Colonial Inn.
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