In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, few architects presented with the opportunities of a corner site in the Back Bay seem to have been able to deny themselves, or their clients, a turret. Given its tendency to disengage itself from the street wall, especially when capped with a conical roof, this feature must be carefully handled to ensure an integrated result. Balancing theirs with an improbably tall chimney, Peabody and Stearns met the task admirably at 20 Gloucester Street, amassing a noble pile of red brick, generously but discreetly trimmed in low-contrast brownstone and crowned, in further monochrome, by a red slate roof. At 448 Beacon Street, Andrews and Jaques were less successful. Yellow brick and red Longmeadow stone jar the eye, and despite the shell cornice borrowed from Chambord, their turret is less a natural culmination than a contrived excrescence.
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Charles Francis Adams House and 448 Beacon Street
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