Among many houses on Beacon Hill, Asher Benjamin designed and built 7, 9, 11, 23, and 25 West Cedar Street and lived at number 9 in the 1830s. In 1810, Benjamin was the second Bostonian, following Peter Banner, to list himself as an architect in the city directories, although Charles Bulfinch certainly deserved that title before either of these men. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Benjamin apprenticed as a housewright in the Connecticut River valley. In 1797, in Greenfield, Massachusetts, he published The Country Builder's Companion, the first builder's guide written by an American for his compatriots. He moved to Boston in 1803 and continued to produce influential builder's guides, such as The American Builder's Companion (1806). Inspired by Charles Bulfinch, “to whose classical taste we are indebted for many fine buildings,” as Benjamin wrote in The Practice of Architecture (1833), he disseminated the Federal forms of Bulfinch and others, shaping the character of much architecture in New England and beyond in his lifetime. His W. Cedar Street flat-facaded residences were built of brick with stone lintels and ornamented with handsome ironwork balconies (of foliate design at numbers 7 and 9 and anthemions at numbers 23 and 25).
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West Cedar Street Houses
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