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A. H. Davenport Co. (Irving & Casson)

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Irving & Casson
1866; 1886; 1948; 1953–1968; 1986 rehabilitation, Sutphin Associates. 108–134 Cambridge St. and 25 1st St.
  • A.H.Davenport Co. (Irving & Casson) (Keith Morgan)

The two blocks bounded by 1st, 2nd, Cambridge, and Thorndike streets and bisected by Otis were the heart of the Cambridge furniture industry for over a century. Ferdinand Geldowsky, who in 1857 started a furniture business in Boston, moved east in 1863 to the corner of Otis and 1st streets in East Cambridge and was followed by many other furniture makers. Among the best known were Charles Irving and Robert Casson, partners from 1874 to 1925, who moved here from Boston in 1885 and by the 1890s had consolidated all the factories south of Otis Street. Irving & Casson was known for its fine cabinetwork, mantels, and interior finish. In 1883, Albert H. Davenport moved his company to an 1866 brick factory one block north of Otis Street, and the Davenport complex soon encompassed the entire block. Besides giving its name to a sofa, the company created opulent and sophisticated furnishings for important buildings throughout the country, including the White House. Much of this work is attributable to the company's chief designer, Francis H. Bacon, who worked for Davenport from 1885 to 1908.

Frequent collaborators, the two companies merged in 1914. The factories north of Otis were sold to confectionery firms in 1936, and numerous postwar additions were made to its remaining plant; the company closed its doors in 1972. The original Irving & Casson site south of Otis was redeveloped in 1986 as the Davenport Building, with the former alleyways between the buildings converted to enclosed atria.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


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Keith N. Morgan, "A. H. Davenport Co. (Irving & Casson)", [Cambridge, 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, 285-286.

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