John R. Foster House (1882)

At 271 Church Street in Clinton is the elaborate Stick Style house, designed by Henry M. Francis and built for John R. Foster in 1882. Foster was a wealthy merchant who owned a chain of clothing stores throughout New England. As related by Andrew E. Ford in his History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (1896):

John R. Foster was born in Moretown, Vt., November 7, 1834. He began to work in a store at the age of twelve. He was for some time a clerk in Waterbury, Vt. In September, 1856, he went into partnership with W. H. Ashley, in the clothing business, in Clinton. Their store was in the A. H. Pierce Block on Church Street; thence they moved to the Clinton House Hall Block. Ashley remained in Clinton but a few months, then Mr. Foster took the business alone and carried it on until 1870, when he started the clothing stores in Danielsonville, Ct., Willimantic, Ct., and other places, which have proved so profitable to him, and have enabled him to add so much to the beauty of the town through his private residence and public benefactions.

Foster donated a fountain for Clinton’s Central Park in 1890 that was destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938 (a replica was rededicated in 2000). His second wife, Catherine Harlow, was a member of the corporation that formed the Clinton Home for Aged People. In 1900 (or 1909?), the house was purchased by Dr. Walter P. Bowers for the Clinton Home for the Aged, now called The Clinton Home Foundation, Inc.

2 Responses to John R. Foster House (1882)

  1. mary conway says:

    visited the Russian Icon Museum recently and was amazed! Also the Tiffany Glass Angel Windows. Also enjoyed the park across the street. What does the Foster Fountain represent? It is beautiful?

  2. Harold Stewart says:

    I have been in every room in that grand old house ! From the cellar to the very top of the spire reading room ( or what ever one wants to call it.) Also was in the carriage house both floors ! But the thing that impressed me the most ,is and still does the great carpenter workmanship every where in the old house . Cherry ,Black Walnut ,etc. all used in grand form ,as the staircase in this Grand old Girl ,just maybe the best of the best in Clinton!. Attention to detail is super, and one would be hard pressed to find a finer showplace for woodwork in Clinton. Its a place that young (want to be ) woodworkers should see ,at least once . Hope the grand old place is still around for many more years !

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