Tag Archives: H.H. Richardson

Hampshire County Courthouse (1887)

The Hampshire County Courthouse in downtown Northampton was built in 1886-1887. Designed by architect Henry F. Kilbourn in the Richardson Romanesque style (with similarities to the Richardson-designed Hampden County Courthouse in Springfield), the building is the fourth courthouse on the site. The first was built in 1739 and the second in 1767. Isaac Damon designed the third building, built in 1812, which burned in 1886. The current building’s courtroom is seldom used for court business today, although there is office and storage space and a law library used by the judges and staff at the neighboring court building. Much of the the structure‘s space is used as offices by the Hampshire Council of Governments, which owns the building. An architectural assessment of the Courthouse was recently completed and there are plans to completely renovate it. This project will involve replacing the slate roof, the tiles on the building‘s tower and the 1973 plate glass windows. There will also be major structural reinforcement.

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The Mary Fiske Stoughton House (1882)

At 90 Brattle Street in Cambridge is a house, built in 1882-1883, that is considered to be the masterpiece of the Shingle style of architecture. With little exterior ornament and covered with wood shingles, it was designed by H. H. Richardson for Mary Fiske Stoughton, the mother of John Fiske, a philosopher and historian who later lived in the house. Although additions were made to the house in 1900 and 1925, it remains an icon of American architecture.

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North Congregational Church, Springfield (1873)

Hispanic Baptist Church

In 1868, H.H. Richardson won a commission to design the North Congregational Church in Springfield. Originally intended to be built where the congregation’s preceding church building was located, the plans for construction did not go through until a new site had been purchased, on the corner of Salem and Mattoon Streets in 1871, and the initial plan had been revised. Built in 1872 to 1873, the church was constructed of red Longmeadow sandstone and was one of Richardson‘s first works in the Romanesque style. The North Congregational Society disbanded in 1935 and the church was sold and renamed Grace Baptist Church. It is now called the Hispanic Baptist Church.

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Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate (1886)


Stonehurst was the country house of Robert Treat Paine, Jr., a lawyer, housing reformer and great grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Located in Waltham, the earliest part of the house was a Second Empire building, designed by Gridley James Fox Bryant and constructed in 1866 for Paine and his wife, Lydia Lyman Paine. This house was moved to a new site atop a ridge and a large addition in the Shingle style was designed by the architect H.H. Richardson. Begun in 1884, the project was almost complete when Richardson died in 1886. In collaboration with Richardson was the great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. The organic relationship of the completed house and the landscape is a notable feature of what is considered to be an architectural masterpiece. The estate was given to the City of Waltham and is open to the public.

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Hampden County Courthouse (1874)

Built between 1871 and 1874, the Hampden County Courthouse was designed by H.H. Richardson and represents a stage in the development of his distinctive style. Located on Elm Street in Springfield, the structure replaced an earlier courthouse of 1822. In the 1860s, the county commissioners had resisted popular pressure to construct a new courthouse, but when the commissioners were threatened with an indictment in 1869 for not safekeeping deeds and public records in fireproof rooms, they relented and a new building was constructed. Between 1908 and 1912, a large addition was built, designed by the firm of Richardson’s successors, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.

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Trinity Church, Boston (1877)


Boston’s Trinity Parish (established in 1734) lost its church on Summer Street in an 1872 fire. They held a design competition for the building of a new church on Copley Square. The winner was H. H. Richardson, whose Romanesque design contrasted with his competitors’ preference for the Victorian Gothic. Richardson, who would produce in Trinity Church one of America’s great buildings, planned the building as a compact Greek Cross with a very prominent central tower. This centralized plan contrasted with the more typical narrow Latin Cross, in which clergy and congregation were separated. In the course of construction (1872-1877), the plan for the tower was eventually altered to a more complex design, inspired by the Cathedral of Salamanca and possibly influenced by Stanford White, who was apprenticing under Richardson at the time. Granite and Longmeadow sandstone were used in the construction. The interiors were realized by the artist, John La Farge, assisted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Richardson wished to rebuilt the two front towers, lowering them. Alterations were eventually made after his death when the portico and new towers were added between 1894 and 1897 under the successor of his practice, Hugh Shapley (of Shapley, Rutan, and Coolidge). More recently, geothermal wells have been drilled for heating and cooling. The adjoining Parish House (1874) has features which link it stylistically to the church.

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Sever Hall, Harvard (1880)


Sever Hall, on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, is one of the most important buildings designed by the architect H.H. Richardson. Constructed between 1878 and 1880 in Richardson’s Romanesque style, Sever Hall is notable for its brickwork, which features 100,000 bricks on the exterior elevations and elaborate brick carving. Red mortar was used originally to join the bricks. The facade also has Longmeadow brownstone and a varied placement of windows. The massive structure is linked to the neighboring eighteenth century buildings of Harvard Yard through the use of brick, the greater regularity of the design and the central pediments on the east and west facades. Sever Hall, an academic building consisting of both large and small classrooms, was recently restored and the upper floors contain the film program of Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.

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