Boston's most controversial political leader lived here from 1915 until 1958. James Michael Curley served as mayor, congressman, and governor in a long career that witnessed as many election defeats as victories. During Curley's fourth term as mayor, he was sent to prison for corruption, but President Harry S. Truman commuted his sentence after five months. More than any other figure, Curley represented the struggle of a poor first-generation Irish American against the prejudices of Boston's Yankee ruling class. Despite his unconventional career, Curley built a home of middle-class respectability. Overlooking Jamaica Pond, the red brick Georgian Revival–style house typifies suburban design in the early twentieth century, only the shutters with incised shamrocks suggesting its specific owner. Open to the public, the more unusual interior incorporates a stained glass window for the staircase landing, an early work by Charles J. Connick, and much elaborate woodwork, such as the paneled dining room and the central staircase, salvaged from the Henry H. Rogers House in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, designed by Charles Brigham. Curley's architect, Joseph P. McGinnis, trained at MIT but had only a brief career, dying at age thirty-four in the influenza pandemic of 1918.
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James Michael Curley House
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