The home of Tory Lieutenant Governor Thomas Oliver until he was forced to flee in 1774, this house was used as a hospital during the Revolution. The handsome three-story clap-boarded block is still surrounded by substantial grounds, suggesting its colonial grandeur. In 1787 Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later vice president of the United States—the man who inspired the term “gerrymander”—purchased the Oliver house. The Reverend Charles Lowell acquired the property in 1818 and his son, poet James Russell Lowell, lived here most of his life. Elmwood was left to Harvard University in 1962 and now serves as the residence of the president. Across the street, the Watson House (c. 1750) at 30 Elmwood Avenue (NRD/LHD, moved here in 1965) represents the more modest colonial architecture built by comfortable but less wealthy individuals in the eighteenth century.
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