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Oliver Ames Mansion

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1882, Carl Fehmer. 355 Commonwealth Ave.

Although plans by H. H. Richardson survive for a projected house for this client, industrialist, and plutocratic Massachusetts governor, the commission ultimately went to a lesser known architect, German-born Carl Fehmer. The architect's Teutonic origins may explain why this chateau is so notably un-French looking, unlike, for example, the Albert Burrage House (BB67) at 314 Commonwealth Avenue. Despite a wealth of decorative detail ornamenting the Connecticut brownstone (notice the frieze of putti disporting themselves amid delicate rinceaux above the first-floor windows) and the dramatic dormers and chimneys, the exterior attains a remarkable degree of self-possession. Maintained as office space for many years, the Oliver Ames Mansion's palatial interior, including a room decorated by Fehmer's fellow immigrants from Germany, Herter Brothers of New York, is largely intact.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Oliver Ames Mansion", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-BB66.

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