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Claflin Building

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1883–1884, William Gibbons Preston. 18–20 Beacon St.
  • (Kalman Zabarsky Photographer)
  • (Kalman Zabarsky Photographer)
  • (Kalman Zabarsky Photographer)

Perhaps the best Queen Anne commercial block in Boston, the Claflin Building celebrates that idiom with terra-cotta floral motifs derived from English sources, particularly in the twin pediments that break the cornice line. Atypically mixing historical forms, three large Romanesque arches of quarry-faced stone and windows with Queen Anne sash light the second floor. Medallion portraits of Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer decorate the arch spandrels. Boston University erected the Claflin Building on the site of an old house used by the College of Liberal Arts. Named for Lee Claflin, one of the founders of the university in 1871, the new building contained university offices but also provided income for the school.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Claflin Building", [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, 104-104.

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