You are here

172 Commonwealth Avenue

-A A +A
1885, J. H. Besarick.

More Romanesque than Richardsonian perhaps, and certainly more riotous, 172 Commonwealth Avenue reflects an affinity for densely swirling, vaguely Celtic foliate ornament that anticipates the work of Chicagoan Louis Sullivan. Indeed, even the deep voussoirs of the round-arched slit window above the narrow recessed entrance suggest those of Sullivan's Carrie Eliza Getty Tomb. Scrolls emanating from the beard of a green man, or grotesque mask, enrich the tall parapet. Immediately below, squat arches raised on dwarf columns, little more than capitals really, define an attic-level open loggia, unique in the Back Bay.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "172 Commonwealth Avenue", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.