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Old-Time New England Articles

Mining Old-Time New England:
A collection of articles on old house issues

Also visit the Publications section of our website for links to past issues of Historic New England magazine.

A House for Widow Brown
Volume: 77 Number: 267 Issue: Fall/Winter 1999
Architectural Statement and Social Position in Providence, 1791
Robert P. Emlen
Newly restored, the Seril Dodge house in Providence, Rhode Island, is small yet elegant. Built around 1786, the house was bought for Avis Brown after the death of her husband. Robert P. Emlen examines the message sent by the house: that although it was small, there was no doubting the social position and economic status of its widowed occupant.

Gaining Ground
Volume: 77 Number: 266 Issue: Spring/Summer 1999
Landmaking in Boston's West End
Nancy S. Seasholes
Enlarging the narrow Shawmut Peninsula to create the residential district called Back Bay is Boston's best-known topographical creation. But land was repeatedly made in the West End as well for wharves, less fashionable dwellings, and the city's necessary institutions--a hospital, a jail, and an almshouse.

Asher Benjamin Begins
Volume: 77 Number: 266 Issue: Spring/Summer 1999
The Samuel and Dorothy Hinckley House
Kenneth Hafertepe
The young architect's house designed for the Federalist Samuel Hinckley, perhaps the first neoclassical dwelling in Massachusetts' Connecticut Valley, may have been a stepping stone in securing a federal commission from a Republican administration

The Howland Mill Village
Volume: 75 Number: 263 Issue: 1997
A Missing Chapter in Model Workers' Housing
Kingston Wm. Heath
Had the Howland Mill Corporation survived, worker housing as we know it could have been radically different. Situated between the rigid early version of workers' housing and the more recent triple-decker model, The Howland Mill Village was a radical design. This article examines the Howland Mill Corporation's innovations in worker housing before the company collapsed during the fiscal crisis of the 1890s.

Three Hearths
Volume: 75 Number: 263 Issue: 1997
A Sociological Study of Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts Bay Probate Inventories
Abbott Lowell Cummings
The appearance of a third hearth on the ground floor of homes signalled a change from a late-medievel world view to a mentality that stressed comfort and display of status. New analysis of seventeenth-century homes and inventory records suggests that the change in world view didn't start until later than previously believed.

The Province House and the Preservation Movement
Volume: 74 Number: 262 Issue: Fall 1996
Fay Campbell Kaynor
When it was demolished in 1922, the Province House in Boston had gone through so many changes, fallen into such disrepair and had been ignored for so long, there was no way to know what it originally looked like. There were a few sketches and drawings, but they were superficial at best. During demolition, antiquarian William Sumner Appleton worked feverishly to try to document the house, to stitch together some answer as to its former appearance. He found it difficult to support theory with fact. Appleton consulted with friends and peers about the house and how it may have looked, but his questions remain unanswered today. The story of the Province House is not just about the loss of a jewel of Colonial architecture, but also about the difficulties of conjecture in preservation.

As Time Will Serve
Volume: 74 Number: 261 Issue: Spring 1996
The Evolution of Plimoth Plantation's Recreated Architecture
James W. Baker
While a reproduction is, by definition, never completely accurate, Plimoth Plantation continually changes its buildings and structures in order to represent history as faithfully as possible. It is a work in progress, a canvas that is constantly painted over in order to bring a little of the past into the present, and to do it is as accurately as possible. This article surveys how Plimoth Plantation has evolved since its beginning.

Bedsteads Should Be Painted Green
Volume: 73 Number: 260 Issue: Fall 1995
Shaker Paints and Varnishes
Susan Buck
While the common belief is that Shakers used buttermilk, blueberries and other natural materials to create their paints, research shows that the Shakers made their paints using proven recipes from outside their world and raw materials from New York and New England.

Architectural Change in Colonial Rhode Island
Volume: 69 Number: 255 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1979
The Mott House as a Case Study
Dell Upton
The Mott House was located on a 100- acre tract of land on the west shore of Aquindack Island in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. When the house was moved in 1973, and its removal provided a rare opportunity to study its structural complexity. Dell Upton takes a look inside the Mott House.

Some Notes on Patterns of Farmwork in the Early Nineteenth Century
Volume: 68 Number: 251 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1978
Philip D. Zimmerman
The survival of a diary authored by an anonymous nineteenth-century farmer in Hampstead, New Hampshire, sheds some light on daily farm life. This article looks at the farmer's daily work patterns and how he dealt with adversity.

Lands and Family
Volume: 68 Number: 251 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1978
The Richards Farm, Dedham, Massachusetts
Electa W. Kane
Modern writers have begun to explore the lives of the "silent majority" of men and women who left few historical records and whose reputation rarely spread beyond their town's borders. Tracing the ownership of a plot of land in what is now Dover, Electa W. Kane offers an insight into one of these "silent" families: The Richards.

Some Aspects of the Development of the Architectural Profession in Boston Between 1800 and 1830
Volume: 68 Number: 249 Issue: Summer/Fall, 1977
Jack Quinan
Between 1800 and 1830, Boston witnessed a period of intense activity in architectural learning. Schools, professional organizations and libraries devoted to architecture materialized, providing the groundwork to a new profession in the city. Jack Quinan explores the development of the architectural profession in Boston.

Preserving Three Hundred Fifty Years of Change in the Blackstone Block
Volume: 68 Number: 249 Issue: Summer/Fall, 1977
Miguel Gomez-Ibanez
The Blackstone Block occupies almost two-and-a-half acres behind Boston's City Hall. It contains one of the last remaining fragments of Boston's original seventeenth-century street pattern and represents more than 300 years of Boston's development. This article looks at the block and the challenge of preserving it for the future.

Crows’ Nests or Eagles’ Aeries?
Volume: 67 Number: 247 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1977
The Octagon Houses of E.A. Brackett and H.P. Wakefield
James A. Newton
One of the most eccentric architectural planbooks of all time was Orson S. Fowler's "A Home For All." In it, Fowler laid out his plan for octagonal houses, which were cheap and easy to build. James A. Newton examines the work of two men who built houses according to these plans, E.A. Brackett and H.P. Wakefield

Luther Briggs and the Picturesque Pattern Books
Volume: 67 Number: 247 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1977
Edward F. Zimmer
Picturesque pattern books provided architects trained in the Greek Revival style with new inspiration. In this article, Edward F. Zimmer looks at the work of Luther Briggs, a young Boston architect in the 1840s and 50s. An examination of Briggs' drawings and buildings show how his work progressed from close copying to a development of his own style.

Asher Benjamin in East Lexington, Massachusetts
Volume: 67 Number: 247 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1977
Elizabeth W. Reinhardt and Anne A. Grady
The doorways of East Lexington, Massachusetts, are graced with an Asher Benjamin-inspired style. By working with his pattern books, the country carpenter found comfort in the celebrated architect's use of the Greek Revival style. This article takes a look at some of the doorways in East Lexington which owe their form to Benjamin's designs.

The Availability of Lime and Masonry Construction in New England: 1630-1733
Volume: 67 Number: 245 Issue: Summer-Fall 1976
Paul B. Jenison
The shortage of lime in the seventeenth century made masonry construction a sometimes impractical practice. But wherever lime was available, masonry was quickly integrated into the construction of local buildings. This article takes a look at the production of mortar and the links between lime supplies and local masonry traditions.

Beacon
Volume: 66 Number: 243 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1976
Katharine H. Rich
Beacon Hill is a beautiful section of Boston, resting between the Charles River and the Boston Common and Public Garden. In 1795, it was a commercial scheme created by a development syndicate, but it soon became "a cultural revolution," according to Katherine H. Rich. This article takes a look at the area, its architecture and history.

An Historic District Discovered
Volume: 66 Number: 243 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1976
The Enduring Colonial Image in Newbury, Massachusetts
Mardges Bacon
Newbury, Mass., represents a stunning example of residual Colonial imagery enduring over four centuries of architectural development. Mardges Bacon takes a look at Newbury, the meaning of a historic district and what makes Newbury a candidate.

Daniel Reynard, Stucco Worker
Volume: 65 Number: 239 Issue: Winter-Spring 1975
Jack Quinan
Daniel Raynerd's stucco work can be connected to at least six of the most important commissions of his day. He honed his skill by traveling to England in the 1790s, an unusual venture, but one that was made necessary by the lack of stucco workers to teach him. Jack Quinan explores the life of Daniel Raynerd.

Resort Architecture at Nahant 1815- 1850
Volume: 65 Number: 237 Issue: Summer/Fall, 1974
Rebecca M. Rogers
Nahant, Mass., was a popular resort until about 1850, when its popularity began to wane. But, until then, its proximity to Boston, and the people that vacationed in Nahant, made it a hot spot. Rebecca M. Rogers looks at the architecture of Nahant, from its cottages to its hotel.

Rethinking the Early Greek Revival
Volume: 64 Number: 235 Issue: Winter/Spring, 1974
The Success of Influences and the Failure of a Builder
Richard C. Cote
The Greek Revival Period that was so popular in architecture in the 1830s and 1840s was the result of a modification in the popular Federal style. Richard C. Cote takes a look at some of the builders, such as Thomas Pratt, who employed the Greek Revival style.

Xenophon Cleveland
A Nineteenth-Century Artist and His Stencils
Joseph Cleveland Carter
Joseph Cleveland Carter recounts the life of Xenophon Cleveland, a New England artist, decorator and designer of the ninteenth century.

Gridley Bryant and the First Building at Tufts College
Volume: 63 Number: 232 Issue: Spring, 1973
Bryant Franklin Tolles, Jr.
Tufts College's first structure, Ballou Hall is considered to be one of the most expertly designed and best-preserved examples of nineteenth-century Italian Renaissance Revival architecture surviving in New England. Bryant Franklin Tolles, former assistant dean at Tufts University, looks at the story and legacy of the building.

Family Records, A Major Resource for Documenting the Black Experience in New England
Volume: 63 Number: 231 Issue: Winter, 1973
Dorothy B. Porter
This is a speech originally given at a symposium on Negro family history hosted by the Afro-American Studies Program at Boston University in March 1972. Dorothy B. Porter talks about the resources which must be used for a study of the lives of black New Englanders.

Homes of Our Forefathers: by Edwin Whitefield
Volume: 63 Number: 230 Issue: Fall, 1972
A Nineteenth-Century Tribute to Our Colonial Past
Bettina A. Norton
Edwin Whitefield appreciated the Colonial homes of New England. This appreciation showed in his carefully rendered watercolors. In this article, excerpted from her book "Edwin Whitefield: North American Scenery, Faithfully Delineated," Bettina A. Norton takes a look at Whitefield's art.

The Province House: English and Netherlandish Forms in Gables and Chimneys
Volume: 62 Number: 228 Issue: Spring, 1972
Nancy Halverson Schless
The Province House's style owed a general debt to certain aspects of architecture of the Low Countries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. But neither its original sources in Holland nor its subsequent English intermediaries have been precisely identified. Nancy Halverson Schless takes a closer look at the gables and chimneys of the Province House and their architectural predecessors.

Hammatt Billings, Artist and Architect
Volume: 62 Number: 227 Issue: Winter, 1972
Richard Stoddard
Charles Howland Hammatt Billings was a versatile artist and architect who was commissioned to create designs for a pyrotechnic display on Boston Common, a Pilgrim monument, a theater and a clubhouse, among others. But many of Billings' accomplishments have gone unrecognized. With more research, argues Richard Stoddard, Billings may emerge as a major figure in the history of art and architecture in Victorian Boston.

Thomas Rundle, Housewright
Volume: 62 Number: 226 Issue: Fall, 1971
Richard Radis
Not much is known about Thomas Rundle, a housewright who was born around 1779. Richard Radis examines what is known about this man and his contributions to early American architecture.

Seven Utopias of Mid-Nineteenth Century New England
Volume: 62 Number: 226 Issue: Fall, 1971
Frank Albertson, Annetta Hinzman and Nancy Vonburg
This article, the first installment of a larger piece, looks at two spiritual communities of mid-nineteenth-century New England: Brook Farm and Hopedale.

The Restoration of Original Paints at Otis House
Volume: 62 Number: 225 Issue: Summer, 1971
Morgan Phillips and Christopher Whitney

Standards of accuracy when dealing with the restoration of old paints are fairly low; there just hasn't been much research on the subject. Morgan Phillips and Christopher Whitney discuss how SPNEA tried to restore the original paints of the first Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston.

Newburyport and A New Kind of Urban Renewal
Volume: 61 Number: 224 Issue: Spring, 1971
Paul J. McGinley
Rehabilitation of Newburyport, Massachusetts, provided the citizens with a unique downtown business district; one with "the flavor and nostalgia of the past, but with the conveniences of today." This article takes a look at Newburyport and how funds were raised for this new kind of urban renewal.

Materials in Early New England
Volume: 61 Number: 224 Issue: Spring, 1971
Marian Card Donnelly
When settlers first arrived in the New World, they were greeted with seemingly boundless resources. Timber and stone provided these settlers with materials to successfully start new settlements. Marian Card Donnelly reviews the building materials which colonists found and their initial response to their new conditions.

Pompeii and New England
Volume: 61 Number: 222 Issue: Fall, 1970
The Archaeology of Early American Murals
Robert L. McGrath
According to the author, only two peoples have been known to have applied painted decoration deliberately and consistently to the walls of their ordinary dwellings: the ancient Romans and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century New Englanders. Robert L. McGrath compares the art of murals in the homes of Romans and New Englanders.

The Past Decade
Volume: 61 Number: 221 Issue: Summer, 1970
Abbott Lowell Cummings
Between 1960 and 1970, SPNEA enjoyed unprecedented growth. Abbott Lowell Cummings, director of SPNEA, reviews the events that have shaped and defined the organization over that decade.

Sixty Years of Historic Preservation
Volume: 61 Number: 221 Issue: Summer, 1970
The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
Edward P. Alexander
In this article, Edward P. Alexander traces the history of preservation in America, specifically that of SPNEA, founded by William Sumner Appleton in 1910. Alexander reflects on the past sixy years of the organization, celebrating its role in the preservation of some of New England's finest antiquities.

Merchant and Millwright
Volume: 60 Number: 220 Issue: Spring, 1970
The Water Powered Sawmills of the Piscataqua
Richard M. Candee
The early development of water-powered sawmills in southern Maine and New Hampshire raises questions of English familiarity with power milling technology, while the interest of merchants in northern New England sawmills suggest the economic importance of lumbering in the region. This article traces the development of lumbering and water-powered sawmills in the Piscataqua region.

Mill-Sawing in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts
Volume: 60 Number: 220 Issue: Spring, 1970
Benno M. Forman
The General Court of Massachusetts Bay Company awarded the first patent for a sawmill in America to Joseph Jenkins of Saugus, Massachusetts, on May 6, 1646. So began a prosperous enterprise, a practical way to support the young colonies. Benno M. Forman follows the development of mill sawing in seventeenth-century Massachusetts.

Architectural Projects in the Greek Revival Style by Ammi B. Young
Volume: 60 Number: 219 Issue: Winter, 1970
Lawrence Wodehouse
In 1847, four years after designing the State Capitol in Montpelier, Vermont, Ammi Burnham Young won a competition for the Customhouse in Boston. Lawrence Wodehouse takes a look at how Young used the Greek Revival style in his work with the Customhouse and his designs for the expansion of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

A Documentary History of Plymouth Colony Architecture, 1620-1700
Volume: 60 Number: 218 Issue: Fall, 1969
Richard M. Candee
This survey of first-period architecture of the Plymouth Colony area emphasizes the major characteristics of form and construction as an index to the early culture of the region.

Early Buildings of the Asylum at Charlestown, 1795- 1846
Volume: 59 Number: 214 Issue: Fall, 1968
Now McLean Hospital for the Mentally Ill, Belmont, Massachusetts
Nina Fletcher Little
One of Charles Bulfinch's first designs for a private residence, the gracious brick mansion in Charlestown became the administration building for an asylum. Nina Fletcher Little examines the work done by Bulfinch for the Asylum at Charlestown, which was originally the home of Joseph Barrell, a wealthy Boston merchant.

Local History in Legal Records
Volume: 58 Number: 212 Issue: Spring, 1968
Juliette Tomlinson
Legal records provide the historian with boundless resources for unlocking the past. The problem with the records is that they are sometimes obscure and require the reader to master new techniques. But Juliette Tomlinson argues that the reward of this hard work is bringing to light material that has been "smothered or buried in dark silence."

Comparison of the Blackstone and Middlesex Canals
Volume: 58 Number: 212 Issue: Spring, 1968
Brenton H. Dickson
The Middlesex Canal began operation in 1803, while the Blackstone Canal began twenty-five years later. Both provided alternate trade routes for merchants and both ran into trouble trying to "stay afloat." Each canal's construction was an arduous task, taking huge sums of money and manpower. Brunton Dixon examines the great stories behind the origins and operations of both failed canals.

The Rediscovery of Milk-Based House Paints and the Myth of “Brickdust and Buttermilk” Paints
Volume: 58 Number: 211 Issue: Winter, 1968
Richard M. Candee
Reports of paints in colonial America being made of brickdust and buttermilk solution are common but untrue. Where did this myth come from? It seems to derive from a common misunderstanding of terminology. This article looks at how this misunderstanding arose.

Parris’ Perusal
Volume: 58 Number: 210 Issue: Fall, 1967
Christopher P. Monkhouse
Architect and engineer Alexander Parris' buildings have always been appreciated, but what about his personal library; not how it was constructed, but what books it contained. What or who influenced Parris' designs? This article looks at the books Parris owned, examining his sources and how they inspired Parris' designs.

The Brick Trade in Early Haverhill, Part 1
Volume: 58 Number: 210 Issue: Fall, 1967
John F. Cole
While it is a commonly held belief that bricks were brought to America from England, three eighteenth-century brick houses in Haverhill, Massachusetts, indicate that an early brick industry existed in Essex County before 1800. But who were the craftsmen who made the bricks? What was the nature of their trade? John F. Cole looks for the answers to these questions.

A Mark Upon the Land: The Life and Work of Charles D. Lawrence, A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Fairfield, Maine, Builder
Volume: 58 Number: 210 Issue: Fall, 1967
Earle G. Shettleworth
Charles D. Lawrence made his mark on the land with the simple white farmhouses that comprise Fairfield Center. The houses, now more than a century old, seem to belong there, like they grew out of the ground. But with the discovery of Lawrence's architectural designs, the thought process that went into the designing and building of these seemingly artless houses becomes apparent. The drawings give us a new appreciation of Lawrence's work and save the architect from undeserved obscurity.

Peter Banner, Architect, Moves from New Haven to Boston
Volume: 57 Number: 207 Issue: Winter, 1967
Elmer D. Keith and William L. Warren
Around 1805, architect Peter Banner moved to Boston from New Haven, Conn. It was a mysterious move, as sudden and strange as his departure from New York to New Haven about seven years earlier. But during his time in Boston, he left his mark, designing churches and meetinghouses in the area. Elmer D. Keith and William L. Warren examine some of his work.

Samplings from American Cookery, 1812
Volume: 57 Number: 206 Issue: Fall, 1966
The selections from the cookbook American Cookery, published in Walpole, New Hampshire, in 1812, are both entertaining and historically significant, providing an insight into the culinary practices of the day.

The House the Parson Built
Volume: 56 Number: 204 Issue: Spring, 1966
Abbott Lowell Cummings
It is rare to find documents illustrating the building of a house from beginning to end. But Rev. Jonathan Fisher, while building his house in Blue Hill, Maine, kept a journal during its 1814 construction. The journal keeps track of the day-to-day progress and includes drawings of floorplans and details of trim and framing.

Evidences of Daily Life in New England, 1790- 1810
Volume: 56 Number: 201 Issue: Summer, 1965
Catalogue of a Special Exhibition at the Harrison Gray Otis House, February 17 to March 12, 1965
A month-long special exhibition staged during the spring of 1965, "Evidences of Daily Life in New England, 1790-1810" brought together domestic items both familiar and unfamiliar. This catalog of items gives a provocative glimpse into everyday life during a formative period in American history.

Notes and Gleanings
Volume: 55 Number: 200 Issue: Spring, 1965
"Notes and Gleanings" asks SPNEA members if they know anything about wrought-iron hooks sometimes found in plaster ceilings of early homes and addresses an earlier query about the cover illustration of the Winter 1965 issue of Old-Time New England.

Bulfinch’s Design for the Massachusetts State House
Volume: 55 Number: 198 Issue: Fall, 1964
Harold Kirker
Published here for the first time are Charles Bulfinch's plans for the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Assumed lost for good in 1896 when a government committee arranged for the preservation of the building, they were finally discovered in the Phelps Stokes collection. The plans shed some light on Bulfinch's original intent, but leave some questions unanswered.

Jason Russell and His House in Menotomy
Volume: 55 Number: 198 Issue: Fall, 1964
Robert Harrington Nylander
Jason Russell's house in what is now Arlington, Massachusetts, was the site of the bloodiest skirmish of the first day of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. The house, which has seen multiple additions since it was first built, still has bullet holes in its walls of the best room, entryway, and hallway.

English Engravings as Sources of New England Decoration
Volume: 54 Number: 196 Issue: Spring, 1964
Nina Fletcher Little
English mezzotints and engravings found their way into Colonial homes until the Revolutionary War, according to inventory records and newspapers of the time. These engravings were sources for or inspired the architectural decoration of New England homes.

Newburyport and Its Business District
Volume: 54 Number: 196 Issue: Spring, 1964
Josephine P. Driver
The year was 1964, and Newburyport's business district was faced with a very real enemy: urban renewal. These pictures, taken from he negatives of Newburyport photographer George E. Noyes, date from as far back as the 1860s and show the historically important and just plain interesting buildings that were threatened by the "March for Progress."

The Foster-Hutchinson House
Volume: 54 Number: 195 Issue: Winter, 1964
Abbott Lowell Cummings
Thomas Hutchinson, Tory governor of Massachusetts, watched as an angry mob almost tore down his beloved three-story house on Garden Court Street on Aug. 26, 1765. Hutchinson longed for it during his exile in England until his death in 1780. This article explores the Foster-Hutchinson House, one of the great lost pieces of architecture in Boston history.

Isaac Damon and the Southwick Column Papers
Volume: 54 Number: 194 Issue: Fall, 1963
David Merrill
The Southwick column papers came to light in the spring of 1950. Protected by only a piece of rough brown paper, they had lain undisturbed in one of the columns of the portico of the Congressional Church in Southwick, Mass., since the building was completed in 1824. The papers shed new light on Captain Isaac Damon, a relatively obscure architect and bridgebuilder.

Peter Banner, His Building Speculations in New Haven (Part IV)
Volume: 53 Number: 192 Issue: Spring, 1963
Elmer Davenport and William Lamson Warren
Peter Banner moved around New England during his career as an architect. In this installment of the series on Banner, his work in New Haven gets a close examination.

An Early Well House, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Volume: 53 Number: 191 Issue: Winter, 1963
John Obed Curtis
While early houses are well documented through historical records, diaries, and even many still-standing examples, many accessory buildings are neglected. Privies, smoke houses, and well houses were rarely recognized in records, and because of their gradual disuse are now rare in their original form. A well house in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, while not on its original foundations, provides welcome insight for historical home enthusiasts.

Note on “Plans of an American Country Town,” 1769- 1770
Volume: 53 Number: 189 Issue: Summer, 1962
Wendell D. Garrett
The settlements of America were originally based on a European design. But with all the land to be had in America, what were once neatly planned towns and villages grew outward on tangents; the European design didn't work here. Featured here are two plans, published in "The Gentleman's Magazine," for towns that followed strict grid patterns with a large central square, that did not consider the newfound mobility of America's settlers.

When They Burned Peat in Middleton
Volume: 52 Number: 187 Issue: Winter, 1962
Lura Woodside Watkins
Peat is normally associated with Ireland, where it is still used for fuel. But as early as 1790 to as late as 1870, peat was used in New England as an inexpensive source for heating. Essex County, for instance, once had no fewer than 21,000 acres of peat bog.

Charles Bulfinch and Boston’s Vanishing West End
Volume: 52 Number: 186 Issue: Fall, 1961
Abbott Lowell Cummings
During 1960 and 1961, two large-scale land clearances leveled wholesale blocks of buildings, as well of some of the loveliest architecture to grace Boston. While many of these buildings may not have had historical significance, standing among them was a house designed in 1793 or 1794 by Boston's famed architect, Charles Bulfinch, a house that he may have been his residence. This article takes a look at some of the brilliant architecture lost on the West End.

Boston’s Exchange Coffee House
Volume: 52 Number: 185 Issue: Summer, 1961
Harold Kirker
The Boston Exchange Coffee House burnt to the ground in 1818 and was never rebuilt. Reaction to the building, completed in 1809, was mixed. While its exteriors was roundly criticized, its public rooms were admired by almost everyone who saw them.

Town Commons of New England: 1640-1840
Volume: 51 Number: 183 Issue: Winter, 1961
John D. Cushing
Town commons are one of the best known features of New England, yet their origins are often shrouded in mystery and myth. They were not, as many people believe, used as pasture, nor were they the ornamental centers of towns. Then why and when did they originate, and why are they still found at the center of many New England towns?

The Lyman Greenhouses
Volume: 50 Number: 179 Issue: Winter 1960
Ann E. Compton
The Greenhouses at Lynam House in Waltham, Massachusetts, built between 1800 and 1804, are important not only because they used a special system of heating, but also because few greenhouses dating from this period still exist today.

The David Hubbard House, Hancock, New Hampshire
Volume: 49 Number: 175 Issue: Winter, 1959
Robert Harrington Nylander
Like all New England farmhouses, the David Hubbard house was never completely finished. Built around 1779, it was a small, twelve-foot-square house with a brick chimney, but over the years has become much larger. Robert Harrington Nylander takes a look at the house, its occupants, and the ghosts that may haunt it.

The Ironworks in Middleton, Massachusetts
Volume: 49 Number: 175 Issue: Winter, 1959
Lura Woodside Watkins
Middleton is a small town is Massachusetts that was set off from four other neighboring towns as a parish in 1727. This small town was the site of an early and long-lived industry, as it was the home to an ironworks, with the business beginning in 1708. Lura Woodside Watkins takes a look at the town and its early industry.

The Parson Smith Homestead, South Windham, Maine
Volume: 48 Number: 170 Issue: Fall, 1957
Nellie D. Spiller
The Parson Smith Homestead was built in 1764 in South Windham, Maine. Still standing today, it is a well-preserved example of fine colonial architecture looking out across cultivated fields onto local farmsteads and the Smith -Anderson Cemetery. Nellie D. Spiller takes a look at the history of the house and the Smith family.

The Derby House
Volume: 47 Number: 168 Issue: Spring, 1957
Edwin W. Small
Built around 1761, the Derby House is the oldest brick dwelling to survive in Salem. Since then, the house has gone through many changes and restorations. Edwin Small takes a look at the history of this fine old house.

Bag, Bucket, Bedkey and Screwdriver
Volume: 47 Number: 167 Issue: Winter, 1957
Lawrence B. Romaine
Instituted in Boston on March 5, 1799, to fight fires and protect "the safety of the Citizens," the Alert Eagle Fire Society lived by strict guidelines set forth in their Laws & Regulations. Lawrence B. Romaine looks at the rules by which these men lived.

Area Preservation and the Beacon Hill Bill
Volume: 46 Number: 164 Issue: Spring, 1956
Reprinted here are significant provisions of the Beacon Hill Bill. Passed in 1955, this, and a bill passed during the same session, established historic districts in Nantucket and Boston's Beacon Hill.

To Keep an Old House in Good Standing
Volume: 46 Number: 164 Issue: Spring, 1956
Roy W. Baker
An old New England house is full of history, charm, and responsibility. According to Roy W. Baker, the "reward in restoring and preserving one of these old landmarks far outweighs any initial difficulties." This article outlines the ways to get around the problems that are associated with these great old houses.

An Eighteenth-Century Builder’s Contract
Volume: 46 Number: 163 Issue: Winter, 1956
This building contract was drawn in 1788 for a home in Haverhill, Massachusetts, for Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall.

Old-Time New England Preservation Primer
Volume: 46 Number: 163 Issue: Winter, 1956
W is for Wallpaper
Dorothy S. Waterhouse
A fine old wallpaper, should be treated like a valued heirloom, writes Dorothy S. Waterhouse, and should be given all the care possible for its preservation. This article details some ways to care for early and fine wallpaper.

Notes on Furnishing the Seventeenth-Century House
Volume: 46 Number: 163 Issue: Winter, 1956
Abbott Lowell Cummings
It is very possible, because of the lack of photographic evidence, that the earliest colonial homes looked very different than we imagine. Abbott Lowell Cummings ponders some of the difficulties of furnishing historic homes and speculates on the differences we might find if we step back in time to see what these rooms looked like in colonial times.

Eleazer Arnold
Volume: 44 Number: 153 Issue: Summer, 1953
William Greene Roelker
Originally prepared for the opening of the Eleazer Arnold House in 1952, this article gives a brief account of Arnold's life and the occupants of his Rhode Island mansion since his death.

The New England Village Mill
Volume: 42 Number: 146 Issue: Fall, 1951
Edward P. Hamilton
A new settlement in the sixteenth century required three things in order to be self-sufficient: a minister, a blacksmith, and a grist mill. Millers were offered special inducements, free land, and tax exemptions, among other things. Edward P. Hamilton looks at the mills of early New England and the villages that needed them so.

The Rev. Pitt Clarke House
Volume: 41 Number: 141 Issue: Summer, 1950
Jennie F. Copeland
The stone wall laid by Pitt Clarke's parishioners still lies outside of his house in Norton, Massachusetts. The residence is recognizable not only for its own solid construction, but for the personality behind it. Known as the Pitt Clarke house even after the passing of the original owner, the house is a testament to a man beloved by his town and its people.

George Washington Mark
Volume: 41 Number: 141 Issue: Summer, 1950
Agnes M. Dods
In this article, Agnes M. Dods examines the life of George Washington Mark, a painter from nineteenth-century Greenfield, Massachusetts.

The Romance of Linden Hall
Volume: 40 Number: 140 Issue: Spring 1950
Julia Bowles Phillips
Written in 1886, this story contains a description of Linden Hall, a beautiful house in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Pattern of New England Settlement as Exemplified by the Properties of the Society
Volume: 40 Number: 140 Issue: Spring 1950
Together with a Comparison of Ancient and Modern Routes of Travel
Felicia Doughty Kingsbury
Through old American houses, one can divine the history of not only a town, but the whole country. In this article, Felicia Doughty Kingsbury examines the way this country was settled and the reasons why our forefathers traveled the routes they did.

Compiled January 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old-Time New England Articles