Victorian House – Buildings of New England (2024)

Overlook Mansion //1882

February 21, 2024February 13, 2024Buildings of New EnglandLeave a comment

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (1)

Raised in an intellectual home of his widowed father,William Allen Jenner (1844-1915) graduated fromMiddlebury College as the youngest in his class with highest honors. He would go on to graduate from Columbia Law School and be admitted to the New York Bar in 1867,becoming a partnerin a prestigious New York City law firm. Outside of practicing law, William Jenner studied andauthored textbooks on the Latinlanguage and was an avid horticulturalist. His landscape architecture passion was fulfilled when he purchased a large house lot onHigh Ridge Road in RidgefieldConnecticut, and built this home in 1882, named “Overlook”, where he and his family would spend their summers outside of the city. Mr. Jenner and his wife,Josephine Curtis Jenner, raised three daughters between New York and Ridgefield. One of their daughters, Anna, would marrySterling Foote, a New York City cotton broker. The Foote’s would inherit Overlook and spend their summers here until their death. The Queen Anne/Shingle style mansion showcases the shift of Ridgefield from sleepy farming town to summer destination for wealthy New York residents, a trend which continues to this day.

Cheesman Mansion //1887

February 19, 2024February 13, 2024Buildings of New EnglandLeave a comment

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (2)

Timothy Matlack Cheesman was born in New York City in 1824, a son of physician, John Cummins Cheesman. Following in the footsteps of his father, he graduated in 1859 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, now known as Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Timothy served as Surgeon in the 7th Regiment NY National Guard in 1853 and upon the start of the Civil War, he mustered into US service April of 1861 as a Surgeon. In the late 1880s, like many other wealthy New Yorkers, Dr. Cheesman and his wife, Maria, decided to build a country home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. They chose nearly 30 acres on the east side of East Ridge, an area that was being touted as “Prospect Ridge” for its view. Dr. Cheesman was ill with Bright’s disease and and may have been seeking the clean air of the country climate to help his health or at least as a place to rest. Sadly, he died one year later in 1888, and did not get to fully enjoy his country retreat. He was 63 years old. His widow Maria continued to use Matlack (the house’s name) until her death in 1903.In 1922, the estate was acquired by the Holy Ghost Fathers, who set up a school for new members of the order who would get their initial training to be priests or brothers there. Declining membership and costs required them to sell the campus, which was acquired by the Town of Ridgefield in 1971. Matlack is now the centerpiece of a large housing complex for the elderly in town and is managed by the local housing authority.

Leatherbee House //c.1870

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Andrew F. Leatherbee (1842-1920), a wealthy lumber dealer in Boston, built this large Stick style victorian house in Newton Center around 1870, likely using his own lumber products! The large frame house is prominently sited on a corner lot on Beacon Street, a short walk to Crystal Lake, a natural pond in the center of town. I could not find information as to who the architect was, but it was likely a notable local firm. As Andrew got older, he downsized and relocated to a smaller apartment in Cambridge. Upon his death in 1920, the property was sold by his heirs to Mae Van Dusen. The house is a high-style example of the Stick style of architecture, with large half-timbers, heavy porch bracing, and a central tower with pyramidal roof. Swoon!!!

Charles H. Bennett Cottage //c.1868

February 9, 2024February 2, 2024Buildings of New EnglandLeave a comment

Another of the charming gingerbread cottages in Newton Centre built on Charles Davis’ “Mount Pleasant” estate is this charmer. Like the Charles Davis rental cottage on Pleasant Street nearby, this home was rented by Mr. Davis to tenants briefly before it was purchased by George A. Rollins who later sold the property to its longest owner, Charles H. Bennett, a Boston stockbroker. The house is one of four near-identical gingerbread cottages developed by Davis, all retain their decorative bargeboard trim and porch detailing. This one may be my favorite!

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Sumner Stanley House //c.1850

January 17, 2024December 30, 2023Buildings of New England3 Comments

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One of the larger homes in Weare, New Hampshire is this sprawling mid-19th century residence, seemingly built around 1850 for Sumner Stanley and his wife, Ruth. Stanley and Ruth (née Dow) acquired land from Ruth’s family and they built their home here. By 1856, Stanley sold a small piece of land to town just to the east of his house for the construction of the North Weare Schoolhouse. The Italianate style house with its Stick style attached barn structure have some amazing detailing!

Pope-Barron Townhouse //1871

December 25, 2023December 18, 2023Buildings of New EnglandLeave a comment

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (6)

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! As there is no snow on the ground in Boston, I wanted to share a house with a prominent pine tree, which resembles an oversized urban Christmas tree on Beacon Street. This house at the corner of Beacon and Fairfield streets was built in 1871 by architect and builder Frederick B. Pope on speculation. It did not sell as quickly as he would have hoped, and it took two years for it to finally sell at public auction in 1873. The relatively modest brick Second Empire style house was bought and sold numerous times until March 1905, when the residence was purchased by Clarence Walker Barron, a prominent publisher and journalist. In 1903, he purchased Dow Jones & Company and from 1912 until his death in 1928, he was its president. During this period, he was also de facto manager of The Wall Street Journal, he expanded its daily circulation, modernized its printing press operations, and deepened its reporting capabilities. In 1921, he founded Barron’s National Financial Weekly, later renamed Barron’s Magazine. Barron pushed for the intense scrutiny of corporate financial records, and for this reason is considered by many to be the founder of modern financial journalism. In 1920, he investigated Charles Ponzi, inventor of the “Ponzi scheme”. His aggressive questioning and common-sense analysis helped lead to Ponzi’s arrest and conviction. For his Boston townhouse, Barron hired the firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson to completely renovate the dwelling with an extra floor, limestone facades, and more bold roof design.

Cushing-Fearing Townhouse //1862

December 23, 2023January 4, 2024Buildings of New England1 Comment

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168 Beacon in the Back Bay was built ca. 1861, one of two contiguous houses for Robert Maynard Cushing and his older brother, John Gardiner Cushing (more on the house nextdoor in the next post). This home was Robert Cushing’s home for him and his new wife Olivia Donaldson Dulany (m.1863). They also maintained a home, The Ledges, in Newport. The Cushing Family owned the townhouse until 1908, when it was sold following Robert’s death in 1907 by his estate to George Richmond Fearing, Jr., an investment banker. He also served as President of the Free Hospital for Women from 1910 to 1936. The home was recently renovated with a darker, brownstone facade, new copper gutters and downspouts and slate roof. It presently houses three condo units inside.

Peleg Chandler House //1860

December 18, 2023December 17, 2023Buildings of New England3 Comments

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One of the most ingeniously symmetrical and academic facades on Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston can be found at the Peleg Chandler House. Built in 1860 for Peleg Whitman Chandler (1816-1889), the two-bay bow-front townhouse appears to have been designed by architect Charles Kirk Kirby, a relatively unknown architect of Boston in this time period. The brownstone home originally had a mansard roof, but it was removed and replaced with a flat roof with parapet during the Great Depression, possibly to reduce the property taxes. Peleg Chandler was an attorney and publisher of the Law Reporter, which he established in 1838. He served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1845 to 1847 and as Boston City Solicitor from 1846 to 1853. He was an early advocate of the Public Garden and led efforts in 1859 to prevent the construction of houses on the eastern side of Arlington Street. The house has been divided up inside and now five fortunate families get to call this stunning building home!

Albe Clark House //1872

December 11, 2023November 30, 2023Buildings of New EnglandLeave a comment

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (9)

This Second Empire home was built in 1872 for Boston lawyer and longtime Dorchester resident Albe C. Clark. Clark grew up in New Hampshire before attending Harvard Law School and later moved to Lowell, MA to practice law. In 1857, he relocated to Dorchester, a relatively affluent suburb of Boston and worked as treasurer of the Dorchester Gas Light Company, with facilities in the approximate location of the well-known Rainbow Swash. Clark (along with some neighbors) became a proponent of Dorchester’s annexation into Boston and joined a committee called the “Friends of Annexation”. In 1870, the group got their wish and Dorchester officially became a part of the City of Boston. Within a few years, Clark hired architect Luther Briggs, Jr. to construct a large home in the Harrison Square section of Dorchester. The home retains many original features including the portico, bay windows, and mansard roof with dormers and belvedere.

Freeman House //c.1870

December 11, 2023November 30, 2023Buildings of New England3 Comments

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (10)

One of my favorites in Dorchester is this Second Empire manse, built c.1870 for cotton broker Freeman S. Packer. The house at 14 Everett Street in the Clam Point/Harrison Square neighborhood is a handsome, formal example of a Luther Briggs-designed Italianate Mansard residence. Although today sheathed in vinyl siding, much of the original siding and trim detail are likely still under there, preserved. Set back from the street facing an ample hedge-enclosed front yard, the three bay main façade exhibits a center pavilion and full-length front porch which undoubtedly appealed to summer guests who vacationed here when this house was known at the Russell House, an apartment hotel during the 1890s and early 1900s.

Victorian House – Buildings of New England (2024)


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