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W. S. Dexter House

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1885, Snell and Gregerson. 18 Exeter St.

Leaving the gratuitous novelties of the Queen Anne to his native-born colleagues, London-bred George Snell here takes a leaf from local tradition, borrowing the cubic massing and symmetrical fenestration of New England's Federal period for this unassertive but unmistakably masculine house. The architect dresses the familiar volume with brownstone rustication, accented by the prominent splayed keystones that were his virtual signature. Above the James Gibbs–inspired surround of the round arched entrance, a partially recessed oriel relieves the planarity of the facade, while vertical recessed panels at the attic level reduce that story's apparent scale. Though unusual for a Back Bay house of its time, the louvered window shutters are evidently original, no doubt reflecting this conscious, if uncharacteristically early, intention to evoke the Federal style.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "W. S. Dexter House", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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