326-328 Dartmouth Street, Boston (1871)

The Cushing-Endicott House, at 163 Marlborough Street in Boston, is considered one of the Back Bay‘s greatest architectural achievements. Designed in the French Academic Style, it was built in 1871 of brick, with Nova Scotia sandstone trim, for Thomas F. Cushing by the firm of Snell and Gregerson. The house later served as the home of William C. Endicott, secretary of war under President Grover Cleveland. In 1903, John Singer Sargent used one of the bedrooms as his studio. The house is now divided into condominiums. The house is joined to two neighboring houses, one with an interesting T-shape interior plan, which are located around the corner at 326328 Dartmouth Street and have a similar architectural style.

Ames-Webster House (1872)


The 1872 Mansard-roofed house of industrialist and congressman Frederick L. Ames, originally designed by Peabody and Stearns and located at the intersection of Dartmouth Street and Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston’s Back Bay, was significantly enlarged in 1882 by the architect, John Hubbard Sturgis. Sturgis had earlier designed the Gothic Revival-style Museum of Fine Arts building of 1876 and in the Ames House he worked in the English Queen Anne style. The expanded Ames Mansion, which was occupied for 90 years by the Ames and Webster families, features a two-level conservatory, large tower and chimney and porte-cochere. The interior is lavish, with stained glass by John La Farge and murals by Benjamin Constant. In 1972, the house was converted to serve as offices, a notable example of adaptive reuse.

Boston Public Library (1895)


Founded in 1848 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature and first opened in 1854, the Boston Public Library moved to its current building, on Copley Square, in 1895. Designed by Charles Follen McKim, of McKim, Mead, and White, the building (built 1887-1895) is modeled on the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo and is also influenced by Alberti’s San Francesco at Rimini, with an inner courtyard, based on the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome. McKim’s Beaux Arts training led to the classicism of the Library building, influenced in particular by Henri Labrouste‘s Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (built 1843-1850) in Paris. This style would greatly influence the design of American public buildings in the following decades. The Boston Public Library, both inside and out, combines architecture with famous sculpture and mural painting. The neighboring Harvard Medical School building of 1883 was demolished and replaced by Philip Johnson‘s New Brutalist-style Library Addition in 1966 to 1972.

Copley Plaza Hotel (1912)


The Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston was built in 1912 on Copley Square, at the site of the old Museum of Fine Arts building (1876), which was torn down in 1909. The hotel was designed by the local architect Clarence Blackall, working with Henry J. Hardenbergh, a nationally renowned architect of hotels, who had studied with the Ecole des Beaux Arts-trained Detlef Lienau. John Singer Sargent had a suite in the hotel in the early 1920s. The building is now the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

Haberstroh Building (1886)


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.