Monthly Archives: March 2012

Daniel Bray House (1776)

The house at 1 Brown Street in Salem, which has been vacant for several years and has an unsafe building mark on its door, was built in 1776 for Daniel Bray. A master mariner who sailed as ship’s master on several vessels owned by merchant John Derby, Bray built the house on land owned by his family, which he later purchased in 1770. After retiring from the sea, Bray managed Derby Wharf in Salem. The house remained in Bray’s family after his death in 1798 until 1856 and was then owned by the Kelley family until 1901. It was probably around 1902 that the front of the house was converted for shop space, serving first as a grocery store and then, at different times, as gift shops or for offices. Since 1983, it has been owned and rented out by the Peabody Essex Museum, which is currently investigating the architectural history of the house and will determine how best to use the structure in the future.

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Posted in Colonial, Houses, Salem | Tagged | 2 Comments

Trinity Church, Waltham (1870)

In the early nineteenth century, the First Parish Church in Waltham became a Unitarian church. The Second Religious Society of Waltham was established in 1820. Its meeting house was called the “Factory Church” because its membership was primarily made up of people connected with the Boston Manufacturing Company, which provided the funds for the building. This Society also leaned towards Unitarian views (it later united with the First Parish in 1839) and those with Trinitarian beliefs left to form the Trinitarian Congregational Church. The congregation erected a church building on the corner of Main and Heard Streets in 1826. The current church building, at 726 Main Street, was built in 1870. The organization of the church was changed in 1906, when it incorporated itself as the First Congregational Church of Waltham. It became a member of the United Church of Christ in 1957, but withdrew in 2006 to become an independent, trans-denominational congregation called Trinity Church.

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Posted in Churches, Italianate, Waltham | Tagged | Comments Off

Old Central Fire Station, Waltham (1887)

The old Waltham Central Fire Station was built in 1887 at 27 Lexington Street, and is next to the old Police Station. In 1964, Central Station Department Headquarters were moved to the new Municipal Center at 175 Lexington Street and the old Central Station became the Auxiliary Fire Department Quarters. The building is architecturally similar to (although not as elaborate as) the Moody Street Fire Station (built 1890-1892), also located in Waltham.

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Posted in Public Buildings, Romanesque Revival, Waltham | Comments Off

Second Brazer Building (1896)

The Second Brazer Building (pdf), an early steel-frame skyscraper in Boston is located at 25-29 State Street, across from the Old State House, at the intersection with Devonshire Street. Built in 1896, it replaced the original three-story Brazer’s Building of 1842, which had stood on the same spot. The Second Brazer Building is the only Boston commission of New York architect Cass Gilbert and features decorative terra-cotta on the upper floors. The building has a trapezoidal foundation plan to fit the irregular street grid pattern.

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Posted in Boston, Commercial, Neoclassical | Comments Off

Saunders-Ward House (1843)

Two matching adjacent houses built in 1843, at 121 and 123 Federal Street in Salem, are considered to be Salem’s finest examples of domestic vernacular Greek Revival architecture. One of these houses, the Saunders-Ward House at 123 Federal Street, was constructed by builder Jonathan F. Carleton for Robert F. Saunders (d. 1846), a shoe merchant. It was next owned by Andrew Ward, sea captain and merchant, whose descendents lived there until 1916.

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Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, Salem | 1 Comment

Granite Stores, Northampton (1826)

During a visit to Boston in 1825, builder Isaac Damon of Northampton observed the new granite market buildings being constructed next to Faneuil Hall. After returning home, he acquired land with a granite quarry in Medfield and c. 1826-1828 constructed a pair of three-story granite front commercial buildings at 108-112 Main Street. These were built using traditional post-and-beam construction techniques, but with granite instead of wood. The ground floors and cornices of these buildings have been changed many times, but the central two granite floors are still visible.

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Posted in Commercial, Northampton, Vernacular | Tagged | Comments Off

John Prince House (1761)

According to the sign on the house at 24 State Street in Marblehead, the house was built in 1761 for Capt. John Prince, a blacksmith. In the twentieth century, it was the home of Charles Gilbert, a carpenter.

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