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Chelsea Square Historic District

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Chelsea Square and surrounding area.
  • Chelsea Square Historic District (Keith Morgan)

The Chelsea Square area preserves the architecture and development patterns of the pre1908 fire period. The original business center lay along Winnimisett Street from Chelsea Square to the Chelsea River. Originally three stories tall, built of brick with simple brownstone lintels and sills, the Gerrish Block (1844, 165–167 Winnisimett Street) and the Old Park Hotel (1850, 167–169, 171 Winnisimett Street) symbolize this period of economic boom (and of commercial architecture throughout the Boston area in these years). Intact groups of mid-nineteenth-century brick row houses still stand on Pembroke Street and at 11, 13, and 15 School Street. The three-story red brick with limestone trim Stebbins Blocks (c. 1850, 210–216 Winnisimett, and c. 1860, 218–230 Winnisimett) were both built by Isaac Stebbins, banker and mayor of Chelsea, who left the money in his will to construct the Stebbins Fountain (1898) in Chelsea Square. The fountain was one example of new civic pride and scale, also seen in the Police/Court Building (1898, Wilson and Weber, 17–19 Park Street), a hipped-roof three-story yellow brick building in the Renaissance Revival style. When the great Chelsea fire of 1908 destroyed five hundred acres of the city, most of Chelsea Square escaped destruction, but in the rebuilding that followed, Bellingham Square to the north became the center of institutional and commercial life for the city.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Chelsea Square Historic District", [Chelsea, 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, 361-362.

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