Samuel Gardner Perkins, a Boston merchant and avid horticulturist, built his West Indies–style country house near Old Green Hill (BR36), then owned by his wife's brother, Stephen Higginson Jr. Of the three local houses of this type, Perkins's house is the least architecturally pretentious. The most famous occupant of the house, architect Henry Hobson Richardson, added the more elaborate interior ornament. Richardson moved here in 1874 after winning the commission to design Trinity Church (BB37). The house, it is said, reminded him of the plantation houses of his native Louisiana. Richardson established his office here, adding a wing for drafting rooms and a library that was demolished after his death in 1886. Richardson's alterations to the house were minor, although they included his own bedroom and the staircase that leads to it. With landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted living close by at 99 Warren Street, for a brief time in the early 1880s, the greatest architect and the greatest landscape architect in the nation were sharing this semi-rural neighborhood, often collaborating on important projects. Instead of a typical office on the upper floors of a commercial building, Richardson's draftsmen worked in an environment surrounded by the architect's family in a bucolic setting, elements of which are still evident today.
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H. H. Richardson House
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