Second Harrison Gray Otis House (1802)


The only freestanding mansion on Boston’s Beacon Hill is the second of three houses designed by Charles Bulfinch for Harrison Gray Otis, a prominent businessman, lawyer and Federalist Party leader. Both Otis and Bulfinch were members of the Mount Vernon Proprietors, who purchased land on Beacon Hill for development. Bulfinch created an even more elegant mansion for Otis on Mount Vernon Street than the one he had created earlier, on Cambridge Street in 1796. Constructed between 1800 and 1802, Bulfinch hoped that the freestanding home on a landscaped property with outbuildings in back would be a model for the rest of Beacon Hill, but the neighborhood would end up being much more densely developed. Otis sold the house in 1806, only a few years after it was built: his growing family would require an even larger home, also to be designed by Bulfinch. Many people have owned the Second Harrison Gray Otis House over the years and undertaken various renovations and remodelings.

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