Friday, September 21, 2012
This 1842 house is the only one of its type in all of Charlestown.
The house at 20 Albion Place is three quarters up the street on a cul de sac. The four enormous columns of this unusual house grace, not the building’s main entrance, but instead support the roof over the house’s side porch. The modest main entrance faces the street. An entrance into the house from the porch is on the side, under a window, non-ostentatious. The columns are the most dramatic feature. Described as ‘monumental Tuscan columns’ they rise two stories, in support of a ‘heavy projecting entablature’ incorporated into the roof slope. The fluted columns seem to hold up the sloping gable. It’s the only house like it on Albion Place. According to the Boston Landmarks Commission, 20 Albion Place is the ‘only Charlestown example of a…
Friday, September 14, 2012
The house was built for Deacon John Larkin, a man rich in American History.
Deacon John Larkin had the house at 55 Main Street built to replace the one he lost in City Square, which was burned, along with all other homes, by the British in 1775. Larkin was born in Charlestown on April 3, 1735. He was the seventh of ten children and among the fifth generation of Charlestown Larkins. The first Larkin, Edward, arrived in Charlestown in 1638, following Governor Winthrop and the Puritans escaping England. The Larkins were generations of craftsmen. Edward was a wheel-maker. Samuel, John’s father, was a chair-maker and a fisherman. John Larkin became a mariner and prosperous merchant and had a part ownership in a wharf and warehouse, where he ran an import-export business. Larkin and his wife Ruth Kettell had seven …
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Harvard Mall has long, complicated history and is slated for a renovation.
Harvard Mall is one of the coolest places in Charlestown. Literally. On one of the recent hot summer days, while taking photos in the park, I felt a refreshing coolness, and an emptiness there, so different from the noisy, busy streets. There was just one other person there, sitting on a stone bench. The mall, a ‘tree shaded brick square,’ stands on a hill. This hill, originally Fort Hill, contained a fort built by the first European settlers in a spot ideal for protection and inspection over the land and nearby water. There was a wheat-grinding windmill next to the fort, and eventually a church nearby. John Harvard built a home at the bottom of the hill, with an orchard spreading upwards. There were more than 150 other small houses on …
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
We want to hear what you think is most important to know about the town.
Boston.com recently published an article called "Nine Things to Know About Charlestown." Here's the bullets of their list (see the full article for more): Overall, it's not a bad list. But I think we can do better. What do YOU think people should know about Charlestown?
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The USS Constitution will sail into open water under its own power to celebrate Guerriere Day, the day the ship earned its "Old Ironsides" nickname.
Charlestown’s nautical prize, the USS Constitution, will set sail under it own power for the first time in 15 years this weekend. According to a release from the Constitution’s public affairs officer, the event will begin at roughly 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. Once the ship makes it to Presidents Road, the release said, the crew will set up the sails, catch the wind and head toward open water. A crew at Fort Independence on Castle Island will mark the moment with a 21-gun salute. The Constitution is scheduled to return to its pier around 3 p.m. The ship last sailed in 1997 to celebrate its 200th birthday. This year’s open-water sail will commemorate Guerriere Day. On August 19, 1812, the USS Constitution’s crew spotted the HMS Guerriere, …
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The stone house, made from local materials, once served as a dispensary.
The small stone house at 27 Harvard Square, the middle in a trio of early unpretentious nineteenth century houses, was built in 1799. Situated at the end of Harvard Square, at an entrance to the Harvard Mall, 27 Harvard and its adjacent dwellings provide, in the words of Boston Landmarks Commission, a glimpse into ‘semi-rural, village-scale Charlestown.’ The builder, Nathaniel Austin, was a well-known man about town. The ‘white haired builder, one of the most striking and familiar figures' was a legislator in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a brigadier general for the Massachusetts Militia. (For more about the Austin family see Francis B. Austin House). In 1798 Austin bought Outer Brewster Island from David Wood for $400. …
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The church has been around two lifetimes.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, according to the church web-site ‘the oldest existent church’ in Charlestown, may have had its beginnings in 1838, when Reverend Thomas Clark of Boston proposed a Charlestown Episcopal church. On January 5, 1840 the first Episcopal services were held at Fuller Hall in City Square. ‘Seventy-five persons were present in the morning’ and more came in the afternoon. Nathaniel Bent, the Chaplain of the Navy Yard, led that service and became the first rector. A parish began to grow as Rector Bent held mid-week lectures in the Congregational Church on Town Hill, a Ladies’ Circle organized bazaars to raise money and the small ad-hoc congregation started Sunday School classes. A year and a half later, on May 5, 1841, …
Thursday, May 31, 2012
The attached structures have an unusual roof line.
Built around the turn of the nineteenth century, the sage and daffodil double frame house at 19 and 21 Union Street at one time faced the Charlestown Female Seminary. While the seminary is long gone, the house is probably now at its most glorious. #19 recently had major renovations and, while #21 loses some of its sunlight to the brick house on its south side, its arched doorway opens to a brick walkway which leads to an enclosed yard behind a tilted gate. Although the two houses share a common brick dividing wall, they differ in a way that sets them apart from any other attached house in Charlestown: they have two different roofs. While the roof over 19 Union is a straight gable, #21 has a gambrel roof, a style resembling a crooked finger…
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Reader Anne Arbuckle found this gallery recently and forwarded it to us late last week. We attempted to contact its owner, but it seems that he has moved on. Because we couldn't reach the owner, we couldn't determine the copyright on all the images. So, we brought you a few that we know are safe. See the rest at this link.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The home is also the only one dating from that period designed by an architect.
At 30 Union Street, not too far from the site of the Charlestown Female Academy, stands a unique Federal-style house. It’s often referred to as the Devens' House, since one of its most celebrated occupants was Charles Devens, whose storied political career culminated with serving as Attorney General of the United States under Rutherford B. Hayes. The house, built around 1814, was most likely designed by Connecticut-born architect Asher Benjamin. According to Boston Landmarks Commission, 30 Union Street is then the only early nineteenth century house in Charlestown that can be attributed to an architect (as opposed to a carpenter or mason). The house is a ‘brickender,’—wooden with ‘narrow brick end wall gables.’ The house’s greatest …