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American Meterological Society (Third Harrison Gray Otis House)

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Third Harrison Gray Otis House
1805–1806, Charles Bulfinch. 45 Beacon St.
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)

The last and finest of the houses Bulfinch designed for this client, the Third Harrison Gray Otis House marks a high point of the architect's career. Bulfinch here escaped the limits of both his American and English sources, seen in the two previous residences for this leading lawyer-politician. The triple-hung windows of the second level, lighting the principal rooms of the house, command the clean geometry of solid and void in the facade's rectangle of brick above the stone ground floor. Although the interior spaces have been altered, the changing spatial manipulation can still be appreciated on the second floor, especially in the oval drawing room that originally overlooked a garden to the east. Otis sacrificed the garden space luxury in 1831, when he commissioned a house next door (BH12) for his daughter. In this final and grandest residence, Otis entertained liberally, ensuring his continued political dominance of the city and the Federal Party. Notice the surviving stable block visible at the end of the drive on the left side of the house. The American Meterological Society acquired 45 Beacon Street in 1958 and moved into the building in 1960 after completing renovations.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "American Meterological Society (Third Harrison Gray Otis House)", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 107-108.

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