You are here

Charles Sumner House

-A A +A
1805. 20 Hancock St.
  • Charles Sumner House (NHL/NRD) (Keith Morgan)

Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist and champion of the rights of the freed slaves, lived here in an unfashionable section of Beacon Hill, not far from the Hill's black neighborhood. Ebenezer Farley erected this house, the adjoining structure at number 22, and a third that is no longer standing. Purchased by Sumner's father in 1830, the house served as the senator's home until 1867. As originally built the brick house had very minimal Federal treatment, consisting of a stone belt course and splayed lintels. Sumner likely added the Greek Revival Doric portico (continued on number 22). A nineteenth-century description provides documentation that in Sumner's time the brick was painted and there were blinds for the windows.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Charles Sumner 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, 114-114.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.