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The Architects Building

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1853, Charles E. Parker. 50–52 Broad St.
  • The Architects Building (Keith Morgan)

Broad Street contains one of the largest collections of nineteenth-century warehouse structures in the city. Outstanding among these is the block at 50–52 Broad Street, constructed in 1853 and designed by Charles E. Parker, a rare survivor of the fire of 1872. Parker's design was most directly inspired by the then popular Italian palazzo architecture, with an arcaded, round, arched ground story, quarry-faced ashlar, and heavy window caps. At the same time, the building featured an early use of the mansard roof with dormers having picturesque ogee-shaped gable roofs. In 1988 the Boston Society of Architects renovated it for their use.

On Broad Street, several Federal period warehouses date from the original development of 1803–1807. Charles Bulfinch was an investor in the Broad Street Association and supplied architectural drawings for the earliest four-story warehouses erected along India Street; none, however, are documented Bulfinch designs. The best surviving examples are numbers 72 and 102 (both NRD), the latter recently restored with shutters and multi-pane sash windows for the storefronts.

At the end of the street are two granite warehouses. The Howe and French Building (97–107 Broad Street, NRD), the earlier of the two, is characteristic of what has popularly come to be called the Boston Granite style. Constructed about 1857, this block features a plain trabeated fenestration consisting of ashlar blocks and square-headed windows. Only the cornice brackets suggest a concession to popular stylistic tastes of the period. In contrast, its neighbor, the John Foster Warehouse (109–133 Broad Street NRD), built a few years later, was more fashionable, with its quarry-faced stone, segmental arched lintels, and cast-iron columns.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "The Architects Building", [Boston, 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, 84-85.

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