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172 Commonwealth Avenue

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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

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan

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