As the nation's oldest major city, Boston, along with its surrounding cities and towns, has evoked many images in the national consciousness over the past four centuries: “A Paradise of All Those Parts,” “A City Upon a Hill,” “The Cradle of Liberty,” “The Hub of the Solar System,” “The Athens of America,” “The Home of the Bean and the Cod,” “The Cradle of Modern Architecture in this Country,” “America's Technology Highway,” “The Big Dig.” Similarly, the architecture of Metropolitan Boston projects consistency and diversity, from various English settlement patterns to regional landscape planning, from the early timber-frame houses of Massachusetts Bay to the middle- and working-class vernacular housing of the three-decker, from Colonial Revival suburbia to the most massive development project of the turn of the millennium. All these and more come together to demonstrate the evolution of the architecture of the region and the character of the metropolis now.
What and Where Is Metropolitan Boston?
Defining the Hub
Defining where and how to delimit Metropolitan Boston is a challenge. From the original, narrow landmass of the Shawmut Peninsula projecting into Boston Harbor, municipal Boston grew through centuries of landfill and annexation. From the earliest European settlement, however, the Boston Basin was host to a group of politically, economically, and religiously interlocking communities that would over time meld into a larger whole. Today, “Bostonians” may even live or work in adjacent areas of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, commuting into and out of the Hub to find employment and shelter throughout an increasingly larger area, with approximately seven million inhabitants. At the center of the Hub, two systems have organized this expansion—nature and transportation.
The Boston Basin is a geological bowl rimmed by a line of hills or drumlins beginning in Quincy to the south and looping around to Lynn in the north. This topographical semicircle embraces the Atlantic Ocean to the east, enclosing Boston Harbor and its islands. More than six hundred million years ago, the land area of Metropolitan Boston emerged slowly as part of what is now known as the Avalon Belt of island volcanoes, stretching from New-foundland in Canada south to North Carolina. Over hundreds of millions of years, these islands were pushed against the North American continent. Later and more rapidly, advancing and retreating glaciers shaped the region's current rocky mix of granite and Roxbury puddingstone (a sedimentary conglomerate), both much admired for building. Earthquakes, to which the Boston area is still susceptible, further shaped the hills and valleys.1
The basin is segmented by three principal rivers—the Mystic, the Charles, and the Neponset moving from north to south—that empty into Boston Harbor. These tidal estuaries were the natural early routes of transportation and communication and the location of salt marshes and rich meadows that were the logical magnets for early settlement. Beyond the rim of hills, the fall lines of these rivers divided the Boston Basin from the upland that slides into wilderness. The colonial post roads followed these river valleys, providing the radial framework for the hub metaphor so often applied to Greater Boston. The railroads repeated these wheel-spoke patterns, connecting Boston to Providence to the south; to Worcester, Albany, and New York to the west; and to Portsmouth and Portland to the north. In the early twentieth century, expansion of the automobile routes between cities and towns began to fill in effectively the communication network between the spokes of the wheel.
In the mid-twentieth century, circumferential highways reinforced and connected the concentric circles of suburban and rural areas to each other and the urban center. The construction of Route 128 in the 1950s provided a beltway that divided the inner and outer suburbs and focused new technology-based industrial development at the expanding edge of the metropolitan region. In the 1970s, Route 495 created the next interstate ring, fifteen or more miles beyond Route 128, allowing metropolitan growth to edge closer to the boundaries of adjoining states. These expanding circles of hard landscape were anticipated by circuits of parkland. Beginning in 1878, the Boston Municipal Park Commission constructed the Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks and parkways extending from the Fenway through to Franklin Park. The Metropolitan Park System, established in 1893, acquired a series of islands, beaches, tidal estuaries, and forest reservations—often connected by parkways—throughout the Greater Boston area, producing a carefully selected green armature for continued development. Finally, the Green Belt, begun in the 1930s beyond what would become the Route 128 corridor, procured a linked chain of open spaces in advance of the march of outer suburban development.2
Within these natural and man-made networks, the boundaries for this volume—one of two that will focus on the architecture, engineering, and designed landscapes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—have been established. Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston seeks to catalogue and interpret the publicly accessible sites and buildings of the central city and of forty-one surrounding cities and towns. The district includes a major part, but not all, of the area settled by the Massachusetts Bay Company beginning in 1629.Sections of Middlesex, Suffolk, and Norfolk counties are addressed. Rather than historical or political boundaries, however, the ring of hills, the radiating rivers, and the modern highway of Route 128 provide an armature. Resources in communities located within an approximately twelve-mile radius of the statehouse on Beacon Hill have been included. Roughly, the boundary follows the line of towns along the Route 128 corridor with certain strategic exceptions. From Quincy on the south, the line moves west and north to Needham, Wellesley, and Lincoln. Only Concord, the first community incorporated (in 1635) beyond the fall line, does not physically touch or lie within the Route 128 corridor. Concord, however, is so politically attached to Lexington and to Boston in the Revolutionary period and its authors were so important to the central city's literary prominence in the nineteenth century that in the case of this volume it has been annexed to the core. Farther north, Route 128 begins to stray from its concentric arclike course, projecting north and east to the end of Cape Anne. Here the boundary between this and the planned companion volume veers east to Lynn and Nahant, completing the line that natural topography established.
Although their attitude toward land was totally the opposite of the colonists, the native populations established some of the patterns of land use that the Europeans inherited and developed. The Massachusetts Indians of the region practiced seasonal migration, moving to capitalize on the most abundant sources of food. Their villages varied in size and location and were easily established and disassembled. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, the first European to describe Atlantic coast Indian villages, visited Narragansett Bay. He wrote to King Francis I of France, his patron, that the Indian houses were “of circular form about 10 to 12 paces in circumference” and “covered with mats of straw ingeniously worked, which protect them from rain and wind.”3 In the 1630s, Masssachusetts Bay colonists began to use the Algonquin Indian term “wigwam” to describe these and all Indian dwellings. Built of saplings gathered together at the center top but with a hole for smoke to escape, the wigwams were covered with bark or mats. From an English perspective, these natural and movable houses and the migratory pattern of Indian life were clear signs of the primitive conditions and irresponsible habits of the Indian inhabitants.
When European settlers began to invade New England in the early seventeenth century, they found a varied landscape, shaped by evolving nature and the habits of the natives. In 1624, John Smith of Plymouth, comparatively reviewing the landscape of the New England coast, selected Massachusetts Bay as “A Paradise of All Those Parts.” Here, impressive stands of oak and chestnut whetted the appetite of timber-poor Englishmen. The Indians had especially modified these mature woodlands near the coast. In New Englands Plantations (1630), Francis Higginson, standing on a hill near Boston, saw “thousands of acres” without “a Tree in the same,” indicating the repetitive native occupation of the Shawmut Peninsula and the depletion of its timber. Turning to the quality of the soil, Higginson noted: “It is a Land of diverse and sundry sorts all about Masathulets Bay and at Charles River is as fat blacke Earth as can be seene anywhere.”4
Following the typical colonial attack on Indian habits, Higginson complained that “the Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth part of the Land, neither have they any settled places, as Townes to dwell in, nor any ground as they challenge for their owne possession, but change their habitation from place to place.”5 Ideologically, the Indians' seasonal and communal use of the land provided a justification for the colonists to seize and presumeably improve it. As historian William Cronon has demonstrated in Changes in the Land, the Indians believed in group sovereignty over the open landscape, while the colonists sought individual ownership and domination: “The Crown derived its own claim over the region from several sources: Cabot's ‘discovery’ of New England in 1497–98; the failure of the Indians adequately to subdue the soil as Genesis 1.28 required; and from the King's status … as the first Christian monarch to establish colonies there.” More precisely, the Charter of 1630 granted the Massachusetts Bay Company rights to 40° through 48° latitude north, from sea to sea. Within four years of its founding, the colony was requiring that all land transactions with the Indians be controlled by the General Court. Rapidly, the centuries-long native habits were declared invalid and the colonists began their conquest. A second tool aided the colonists—the importation of European diseases. Even before the arrival of the Puritans, the epidemic of 1616–1617 had decimated the coastal villages with mortality rates of 80 to 90 percent. Seeing the epidemics as “divine providence,” the Puritans watched the rapid decline of nearby native populations throughout the 1620s, and especially in the smallpox plague of 1633.
The Peopling of Massachusetts Bay
The Puritan migration to Massachusetts Bay represented a powerful and rapid subjugation of the natives and the land. Of course, explorers and fishermen had been visiting these shores for more than a century before the arrival of Governor John Winthrop and his followers in 1629. Following the successful establishment of the Pilgrims farther south at Plymouth in 1620, Winthrop's Puritans inaugurated a decade of intense settlement, known as the Great Migration. By 1643, Edward Johnson reported that more than 21,000 individuals had arrived in this region, which extended from the southern edge of the Boston Basin onto the North Shore and Cape Anne.6 In general, New England's population would continue to double every thirty years. Governor Winthrop's troupe and those who quickly followed sought religious freedom and economic development. They hoped to create, in Winthrop's words, a shining “City Upon a Hill,” a reformed Christian model for subjugating the wilderness. They were also hungry for land. The seventeenth-century immigrants were primarily English, with 55 percent coming from London and the counties of East Anglia and 37 percent from the western counties, especially Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. Yeoman farmers and husbandmen (their slightly lesser brothers) dominated the influx, although the majority of immigrants had not been farmers in England.
The settling of Massachusetts Bay towns created a religious, political, and economic matrix of ideas and ideals. Winthrop's religious covenant was established under the regulations of the Massachusetts Bay Company, a chartered trading company. Administered through the General Court, Massachusetts Bay was controlled by a joint stock company based in Boston. The Puritan theocracy expected that each community would adhere to a religious/political ideal. The anonymous “Essay on the Ordering of Towns” (1635) stipulated nucleated settlements, centered on a meetinghouse ideally sited within a half mile of all inhabitants, and encouraged an enclosed agricultural landscape. Sudbury and Dedham attempted to fit this model, although Sudbury chose an open-field system. The assumption of nucleated villages around the village meetinghouse and common, designed for safety and mutual support, however, is an American myth. As Joseph S. Wood argues in The New England Village, that rarely existed in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. Most communities adopted their own economic variant. The General Court granted land to the towns. The towns distributed the land to households, determined the organization of fields, and raised a meetinghouse. The English background of the New England settler could be in open- or common-field farming or enclosed farmsteads. Most settlers brought a prejudice in favor of “freehold farms, which they located in relationship to grasslands to support cattle.”7 When a community grew too large, it might split or spin off a new community farther into the interior. Sumner Chilton Powell's Pulitzer Prize–winning Puritan Village brilliantly explicates the process of settlement and land distribution for Sudbury, Massachusetts.8 He traces the English backgrounds and New England accommodations of the first settlers of Sudbury, providing a case study for the process of settling a new town that would meet the expectations and needs of the new citizens.
The Houses of Massachusetts Bay
The houses of the First Period, as the century between 1625 and 1725 has come to be called, similarly reflected the English backgrounds of the settlers as they adapted to the resources and conditions of New England, as Abbott Lowell Cummings has thoroughly documented in The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay.9 England had enjoyed a period of economic prosperity under the Tudors that culminated in a housing revolution during the reign of Elizabeth I. At all levels of society, these postmedieval house forms became more substantial and comfortable. The early houses of Massachusetts Bay were a continuation of this pattern, showing the transferal of specific regional habits to New England and their adaptation in the new environment. The joined, heavy timber frame of the First Period house provides the clearest indication of this process. Certain features in the framing of walls and roofs were derived from East Anglia or the western counties, the major sources of the early settlers. For example, the Jonathan Fairbanks house in Dedham (DH2), the oldest wood frame building in the study area and perhaps in the entire country, shows the East Anglian origins of most elements of its framing—two-story studs trenched for thin bearers and the principal rafter and common purlin roof. However, New England carpenters began to experiment with accepted models in this new environment, such as the reduction of the scale of members of the rafter and purlin roof. Subvariants began to develop as well, such as the popularity of stone chimneys and of roofs built entirely of principal rafters in Middlesex County. Within the house, the attitude toward decoration shows that First Period houses were more affected by contemporary English standards than by the sober dictates of Puritan theology. Ornamentation in the form of decorative chamfers on posts and beams, molding profiles on panels, or painted decoration showed a worldliness that could be at odds with the dissenter religious faith.
Two common house forms emigrated with the colonists—a single-room or half-house plan with chimney at one end and a two-room plan with the chimney between. In the sixteenth century in England, chimneys had replaced open hearths, providing greater security and comfort and allowing for second levels to be built above. Of the seventy dwellings in Massachusetts Bay for which room dimensions were recorded in documents between 1637 and 1706, thirty-nine were single-room houses. The Deane Winthrop House (c. 1638–1650; WP2) in Winthrop, for example, began as a single-room dwelling. Many of these buildings were later extended into a two-room or larger format.
The two-room plan was a standard small farmhouse model in East Anglia by the late sixteenth century. The house incorporated a larger hall, used for meal preparation/consumption and work, and a parlor, the location of the householders' bed. The central chimney stack was usually fronted by the entrance and a winding staircase when a second level was built. Although later expanded, the aforementioned Fairbanks House in Dedham began as a characteristic hall-and-parlor formula. In both single-room and hall-and-parlor plan houses, a second story could have been built originally or added later. These upper rooms, generally used for sleeping and storage, were commonly called chambers. Of the scores of surviving First Period dwellings that have been recorded in Massachusetts Bay, all but a handful were originally a two-story, two-room, hall-and-parlor house or were eventually extended to this form from a single-room dwelling. However, these were the more substantial houses, typical of areas established earlier and closer to the major cities, and the ones more likely to survive. Outside of the older, coastal towns and cities, the single-story house with a maximum of two hearths remained dominant.10
The other important type of building central to the Puritan experiment was the meetinghouse. The earliest settlers generally worshipped in the house of the governor or a minister until a separate building for religious meetings could be constructed.11 Four-square or rectangular in plan, the exposed timber auditoria were a new building type developed to meet the needs and ideals of religious dissenters. One to three stories in height, the meetinghouse denied the processional axis of an Anglican church. If rectangular in plan, the entrance and the pulpit were located on the long sides of the building. No examples from the seventeenth century survive in the area covered by this volume, although nearby Hingham retains the earliest example of Puritan religious architecture, twice remodeled and expanded. The oldest religious building discussed herein is the 1715 meetinghouse in Lynnfield (see LF1), a rectangular structure sited in its meetinghouse grounds. Clapboarded, the two-story box contains the open frame structure of its first construction (although a floor was later inserted at the balcony level). The later parson's house, burial ground, and the replacement Congregational church are all abutters.
Beyond the meetinghouse, two other distinct institutional building types emerged in the First Period. Boston's first Town House and Market (1658, destroyed by fire in 1711), a form typical of English market towns, was transformed here into a three-story frame structure with open ground floor for trading in the largest city of the colonies. Up the Charles River at Newtowne (Cambridge), briefly the colonial capital (1630–1638), Harvard College was founded in 1636. Its first purpose-built structure, Old College or Harvard Hall I (1636–1642), was a frame, two-and-a-half-story building on an E-plan that resembled a large residence. When this structure proved inadequate, it was replaced by a three-and-a-half-story brick building, Harvard Hall II (1672–1682), the most ambitious structure constructed in seventeenth-century Massachusetts. Subsequently flanked by Old Stoughton Hall (1699; HY4.3) and the surviving Massachusetts Hall (1718–1720; HY2), Harvard Hall dominated a quadrangle that remains the heart of the modern institution.
These domestically scaled building forms were replicated and modified as Puritan settlers and others who came to join them moved farther into the territory surrounding Boston and beyond. The aggressive pace of acquiring and improving the countryside was interrupted by King Philip's War (1675), the principal effort of the Indians to halt the march of English settlement.12 None of the communities in the area of Greater Boston experienced the massacres or house burning of this campaign, although the political and religious authorities in Boston were quick to condemn and to smash this revolt.
More significant for the future of the region and its architecture were the economic changes of the late seventeenth century. Massachusetts never established a dominant cash crop, its farming remaining local and subsistence-based. By the 1640s, however, trading with the West Indies began and led to a pattern of exporting timber and importing sugar, turning Boston and Charlestown into important maritime communities. As the coastal, trading economy flourished, the colony became more attractive to the Crown and mercantile interests in England, dramatically catching their attention. The Restoration government dissolved the Puritan Commonwealth in 1684 and issued a new charter in 1691, making Massachusetts a Royal colony. New immigrants with economic motivations further challenged the religious ideals on which Massachusetts Bay had been founded.
Arrival of the Merchant Class
Not surprisingly, the prolific port of Boston was central to this shift. The challenge to religion began with the establishment of the first Anglican church, King's Chapel, in 1688. Even in advance of religion, the urbane tastes of prominent merchants and newly arrived craftsmen from London introduced new building forms that challenged the First Period paradigms.13 More substantial and complex dwellings began to be built in the second half of the seventeenth century. Here houses with three hearths—the third in a kitchen that became the site for food preparation—indicated a high level of economic achievement. By the 1690s, a small group of wealthy merchants were building much larger residences, commonly including at least three ground-floor rooms with hearths. The creation of a separate room for dining and the elevation of the best bed from the ground-floor parlor to a second-level chamber were further indications of elite Boston's imitation of upper-level urban patterns in England. Even houses with two chimney stacks and with a central hall or passage, more typical of dwellings for the gentry in the eighteenth century, appeared by the 1690s.
In 1690–1692, the Foster-Hutchison house rose near North Square in the North End of Boston. Giant order pilasters, segmental-arched window pediments, a central balcony, and a rooftop cupola ornamented the two-story masonry structure, announcing the arrival of Renaissance-influenced classicism. Though long gone—as are the other earliest examples of this new architecture—this structure and its kind did more to unsettle the status quo than to quickly influence new buildings. Furthermore, fires were frequent levelers of early Boston, and the oldest houses in the central city to reflect these new patterns are buildings erected following a major fire in 1711. In 1795, local historian Jeremy Belknap wrote: “The [houses] which were built after the fire of 1711, were of brick, three stories high, with a garret, a flat roof and balustrade. They are on both sides of Cornhill, and of the State-House.”14 The new urban vernacular housing for the middle and lower classes are represented by the Ebenezer Clough House (NE11) and the Moses Pierce–Hichborn House (NE2), both in the North End. They embody Belknap's description in which sash windows were as important as red brick, two stories, and symmetrical organization in defining this new architecture. Because of the frequent fires and the pressures of development, however, relatively few of these new building forms survive in central Boston.
The core city does, however, retain three religious structures that demonstrate the arrival of new demographic forces and the accommodation of older communities to new ideas. Christ Church in the North End (otherwise known as Old North Church; NE12), the second Anglican parish in the city, built itself a new home in 1722–1724 to the designs of print-dealer William Price. Radically different from the Puritan meetinghouses whose bell cupolas dominated the city skyline, Christ Church translated the new typical London church erected to the designs of English architect Sir Christopher Wren following the cataclysmic fire of 1666. Here a multistage brick tower and wooden steeple fronted a gabled rectangular church with processional axis and projecting semi-circular apse. The Puritans' worst fears had now been realized, as their “City Upon a Hill” began to crumble. When the Old South Meetinghouse raised a new building on Cornhill (Washington Street) in 1728 (BD12), the design followed Christ Church's lead on the exterior, although the pulpit remained on one side wall with the main entrance on the opposite side wall, as well as a secondary entrance under the tower. Both of these buildings were dependent on the arrival of new immigrants familiar with contemporary architecture in London and elsewhere in England and the importation of builder's guides and architectural prints to document the nature of the new architectural order.
A new class of individuals now invaded the province of architecture. Although carpenters, masons, housewrights, and other craftsmen continued to dominate the building trades, a few men of education, wealth, and travel began to add their talents to the design of buildings. Peter Harrison, a sea captain and merchant who lived in Newport, Rhode Island, in the mid-eighteenth century, represented this breed. He collected the largest architectural library of his generation in New England and possessed firsthand knowledge of English buildings. He designed at least two major buildings in the Boston area and may have determined the form of others. For a new King's Chapel in 1749 (BD7), he provided a design influenced by more recent English prototypes than the Wren-inspired forms of Old North and Old South. Built of granite (used here for the first time in a church in the United States), King's Chapel is a hipped-roofed rectangle fronted by a tower. Paired monumental Corinthian columns support the interior, which culminates with a Palladian window over the altar. Harrison proposed a monumental portico (ultimately built in wood in 1784–1789) to encase the tower (on which he proposed to mount a steeple that was never built). His designs were heavily influenced by the work of English architect James Gibbs and his A Book of Architecture (1728). Similarly, Harrison provided the design for Christ Church (1760–1761; RA3) on Cambridge Common, a simpler frame building with an interior closely modeled on its Boston contemporary.
Since so little of colonial Boston survives, one must turn to the other towns and cities of the region to observe the character and evolution of architecture before the Revolution. Just as the London town house inspired a Boston variant in the earlier eighteenth century, the detached English house also found its colonial extension in examples throughout the Boston region. In Medford, the rum merchant Isaac Royall created one of the finest surviving early-eighteenth-century houses (MD2) nearby. He expanded a late-seventeenth-century, brick-ended, one-room-deep, two-story house through two campaigns of remodeling. In 1730–1737, he doubled the size of the house and raised the eastern facade to three stories. The clap-boarded facade is bracketed by quoins (rusticated blocks at the corners) and apron panels below the windows. Further prosperity led to the raising of the western facade in 1747–1750 by Isaac Royall Jr. to three stories, which was now covered with simulated rustication and marked by monumental pilasters at the corners (a characteristic of the larger Boston-area houses of the mid-eighteenth century). This estate is also noteworthy for the only surviving slave quarter of a colonial house in New England. The gentry also raised fine mansions along Brattle Street in Cambridge, which became known as Tory Row. The John Vassall house (1759; BS7), later used by George Washington as his headquarters during the seige of Boston, was one of two Cambridge mansions that have sometimes been attributed to Harrison. Monumental pilasters flanking a central pedimented pavilion announce the stylish intention of this country seat for a Jamaican planter who spent his summers in the Boston area. Finally, the country seat that colonial governor William Shirley built in Dorchester in 1747–1751 (RX22) is the extreme statement of wealthy colonial Bostonians seeking to emulate the scale and luxury of their English contemporaries. Expanded in 1817 by Massachusetts governor William Eustis, the house displays two eras of architectural ambition and presents architects and historians with a restoration puzzle.
For the middling sort, more modest residences displayed an evolution from the earlier patterns of postmedieval housing. Hall-and-parlor plans with a central chimney block remained popular. Gradually, double-pile plans of two rooms front and rear with paired internal chimneys and central stair hall provided another alternative for those who could afford the additional space. Two-story structures became the norm in these older towns as the maritime economy came to benefit the entire region. Gable, gambrel, and saltbox roof forms were adopted with rear lean-tos that were incorporated initially or added later. Interior forms were refined with fielded panel walls and handsome moldings outlining doors, windows, and fireplaces. Lexington Road in Concord retains an instructive group of buildings from the mid-eighteenth century, many the homes of artisan craftsmen who often maintained a workspace in the residence or in an adjacent building. Yet the rural areas remained fiercely conservative in their slow adoption of new forms. At the time of the Revolution, the majority of houses in the countryside were still modest structures, commonly only one story in height and unlikely to possess more than two ground-floor rooms with hearths. It was not until the period of new building and rebuilding that followed the Revolution that the pattern of three hearths at the ground level became the common pattern in the entire region.
Congregational meetinghouses outside of Boston continued to demonstrate a more churchlike appearance, as the fashion of urban religious architecture influenced the vernacular traditions of the building type. Due to constant expansion and replacement of meetinghouses, none from the mid-eighteenth century survives in the outlying towns. With the exception of Cambridge, Anglican churches did not penetrate into the Congregational landscape of the countryside before the Revolution.
Boston at WarThe Bay Colony participated in the colonial wars against France, sending soldiers and supplies to King George's War (1744–1748) and the French and Indian War (1754–1763). But these conflicts brought high taxes that produced five decades of economic stagnation as the colonies moved toward Revolution. Central Boston and the surrounding towns were divided camps as the fires of rebellion grew. Certainly, the public protests against the Stamp Act and the Non-Importation Act in the 1760s were most visible in central Boston. Yet it was the farmers of the surrounding countryside who more fervently embraced revolt and rose to fight the taxation policies and the British occupation. “The shot heard round the world” echoed from the fields of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, as General Thomas Gage and his redcoats attempted to seize the stores and munitions held by the patriots in the surrounding area. As the British army occupied Boston proper, the trading and smuggling activities of the port were taken up by smaller centers along the New England coast. When the redcoats finally left the Boston peninsula in 1778, three thousand Tories sailed away with them. The buildings that held the political debates and were the focus of the military actions remain in great number, having been lovingly preserved through three centuries. Merchants from coastal cities, especially from the North Shore, came to fill the vacuum of leadership and capital created by the departure of the Tories. New names—such as Cabot, Higginson, and Saltonstall—soon dominated the maritime life of the central port. Revolution did not immediately answer the economic problems of the region, but the ever-resilient maritime economy soon responded to unregulated trade and the potential for new trade with the products and merchants of China. Architecture was enlivened by this new economic engine. A great rebuilding of the countryside followed in the wake of renewed prosperity, just as the central city sought to reshape itself in a more contemporary image.
The Age of Charles Bulfinch
No figure had a greater impact on the architectural development of the region in the post-Revolutionary period than Charles Bulfinch.15 He shaped the new ideas on architecture and urban form that remade Boston and its satellite towns in the decades following the war. A Boston native who was educated at Harvard, trained in the counting houses of the port, and refined by a period of travel to England and the Continent, Bulfinch set new standards for the Federal era. At the same time, the emergence of a market economy at the turn of the century provided the background for major shifts in the traditional roles of the producers and consumers of buildings.
Returning from a year abroad in 1787, Bulfinch began a lifelong campaign to recast his native town in more cosmopolitan terms. Among the earliest and most important of these efforts was the real estate development of the Tontine Crescent, a group of twelve houses overlooking a crescent-shaped fenced park and centered on a pavilion containing space for a public library collection and the first home of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The red brick line of town houses was distinguished by monumental pilasters on the end buildings and elegant door and window enframements throughout. Even more significant than the ornamental forms derived from the work of British architect Robert Adam was the commitment to ennobling the city through the grouping of private residences into a powerful urban complex. Although demolished in the mid-nineteenth century, the Tontine Crescent cast a powerful shadow on new development in real estate speculation throughout the expanding Beacon Hill district and around the Common at this time, and on later developments in the South End of Boston. Aside from Beacon Hill, Bulfinch's urbanistic innovations have been obliterated, but many of his fine individual buildings survive in the city and beyond. The Massachusetts Statehouse (1795–1797; BH2), the original building for the Massachusetts General Hospital (1818–1823; WE3), and three houses on Beacon Hill for the politician Harrison Gray Otis ( WE2, BH22, BH13) remain the best known of Bulfinch's legacy. As a member of the Mount Vernon Proprietors, developers of much of the southern slope of Beacon Hill from 1799 on, Bulfinch designed for his fellow proprietors and for others who purchased land here the houses that set the model for restrained brick residences—structures originally surrounded by gardens or fronting on a uniform landscape setback that contributed to the overall coherence of the district, still evident today.
Beyond these specific designs, Bulfinch introduced a new scale and proportional system that were quickly and widely emulated by his colleagues, those who called themselves architects as well as the larger community of housewrights. Indeed, Bulfinch's career raises the question of what was meant by the term “architect” in early-nineteenth-century Boston. By 1830, there were only twelve men who listed themselves as architects in the Boston directories.16 Although Bulfinch certainly began his career as a gentleman who provided designs to certain of his contemporaries, the financial failure of the Tontine Crescent project forced him to seek payment for his designs and gradually moved him closer to the modern role of the professional architect.
Bulfinch was a product of and worked for the financial and political establishment, but his ideas were disseminated to a larger population through the emergence of architectural publications and the work of the larger community of housewrights, carpenters, and masons in the central city and beyond. The first architectural book published in the United States was Asher Benjamin's The Country Builder's Assistant (1797), which signaled an American accommodation to international patterns. As Benjamin moved from Greenfield, Massachusetts, to Boston, he became a promoter of the ideas of Charles Bulfinch and other designers/craftsmen in the capital area. Yet the creation of new buildings remained firmly in the hands of housewrights and their fellow craftsmen, who often financed and designed the structures they raised.17 Beyond the central city, other communities participated in this new urban image. Cambridge, which was linked to Boston by a new bridge between the West End and Cambridgeport in 1787, saw rapid economic growth and new brick town houses and institutional buildings in its eastern districts. Charlestown, heavily damaged by bombardment and fire during the Revolution, emerged as the new paradigm of a successful port city. Farther from the coast, villages expanded along the new turnpikes and canals. Both farmhouses and the country places of the gentry displayed a larger scale and often the impact of the builder's guides.
Federal and Civic Architecture
The United States Navy and Army both developed major complexes in the Boston area at the start of the nineteenth century. The secretary of the navy established the Boston Naval Shipyard (CH15), located in Charlestown, as one of six new facilities for the building and repair of warships. The expansion of the 130–acre site throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries paralleled the growth and professionalization of the navy. Architect and engineer Alexander Parris oversaw the first period of expansion in the 1830s and 1840s, designing functional granite buildings and the yard's first drydock.18 His protégé Joseph Billings served as the resident architect from 1842 to 1865, continuing the severe classical forms that Parris built in either granite or brick.
Along the north shore of the Charles River at Watertown, the army created an arsenal in 1816 (WA1) for the storage of munitions and for research and development of new armaments. Once again, Alexander Parris set the stage for this facility, using a more restrained brickwork and a clean geometric organization of the complex. As at the naval shipyard, later expansion of the arsenal brought a more industrial scale to the facility while still relying on a functional vocabulary in brick. In the past three decades, both the Boston Naval Shipyard and the Watertown Arsenal have passed from military use and been redeveloped for both historic and commercial purposes. The National Park Service now holds a small portion of the naval shipyard site as a maritime museum and the berth for the USS Constitution, the oldest surviving ship in the United States Navy. The arsenal no longer serves as a laboratory for munitions research. Its former buildings host shopping, housing, and commercial facilities, all developed with a respect for the initial integrity of the site and its structures.
Radical change in central Boston followed the creation of a new political structure with the election of the city's second mayor, Josiah Quincy, in 1823. A descendant of the powerful Quincy family for whom nearby Quincy, Massachusetts, was named, the new mayor began an aggressive campaign of commercial development and urban renewal. The highpoint of his administration was the development of a new central market district, which was named for him and built with granite from his hometown. Quincy Market (1824–1826; GC5), with a temple-ended, central-domed granite head house and flanking granite-faced, four-story brick warehouses, was built on new land created by demolishing older buildings, filling space between old piers to project out into the harbor, and the laying out of new streets. Granite, treated simply with minimal ornament, became a popular new material for many Boston buildings in this decade and remained the standard for commercial architecture until after the Civil War. In 1830, architect Gridley J. F. Bryant devised a primitive railway of granite, wood, and iron members to move heavy granite blocks from Solomon Willard's West Quincy quarry to the Neponset River for shipping. The red brick city of Charles Bulfinch now became larger and heavier, reflecting the growing industrial economy of the Boston region.
Farther up the Charles River, Waltham had been the site of the emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts. In 1813, Francis Cabot Lowell and other investors founded the Boston Manufacturing Company, importing British inventions and technologies for textile manufacture.19 Unlike the earlier experiments in textile production in the Blackstone River Valley of Rhode Island, the Boston Manufacturing Company's complex at Waltham (WT5) gathered all of the stages in the production of cloth into a single complex. Nearby workers' housing established a pattern of paternalism that would be continued in larger developments at Lowell, Massachusetts, and elsewhere.
If the Boston area did not have the greatest natural advantages in water power, the area nonetheless soon became the transportation hub of New England industries, with canals and railroads bringing cotton, wool, and other fabrics to the harbor for transport. The nineteenth century gradually witnessed the shift from maritime trades to textile and shoe manufacturing and other industries as the financial backbone for the area. Cambridge produced a range of products from rubber to confections; breweries came to dominate the Neponset River Valley in Jamaica Plain; and Lynn became “The City of Shoes.” Overall, however, the regional economy serviced industrial developments as much as hosting them, and the Industrial Revolution forced a rapid reshaping of the physical and built landscape of the Boston region.
Industrial workers came first from the faltering agricultural economy of New England and then from distant lands where political and economic conditions encouraged emigration. The most dramatic change in the workforce began in the 1840s, when the Irish potato famine delivered a large, peasant, Roman Catholic population into the port of Boston. The previous hegemony of English (with some Canadian, French, and German) immigrants was challenged by a new cheaper labor pool and ethnic and religious diversity. The new arrivals were not warmly welcomed. Anti-Catholic sentiment was already common in Boston, as evident in the burning of a convent in Charlestown in 1834. But the wave of new citizens was irresistible; sixty thousand Irish-born residents inhabited Boston alone by 1875. These new arrivals would add up to more than 30 percent of the central city's population by the end of the century. Most of the surrounding towns soon found their demographic scale tipped from protestant Anglo unity to diversity in ethnic and religious cultures.
Expanding the Landmass
The pressure of new immigrants on the older neighborhoods of the central city encouraged the filling of new land around the Shawmut Peninsula and the expansion of suburban towns and cities across the bridges and along the railroad corridors.20 Beginning in the first decade of the nineteenth century, the land on either side of the Boston Neck—the narrow connection of the peninsula to the mainland along the line of Washington Street—was widened to provide new land for development. The “Bulfinch Triangle” (1808) rose in the West End from the regularized street plan designed by Charles Bulfinch to build on the in-fill of a former tidal mill area. Between 1818 and 1821 a causeway was built from Beacon Hill to Brookline across the Back Bay along the line of Beacon Street to allow industrial production in the tidal marshes. In 1804 South Boston was annexed, although intense development did not begin until the 1830s. The South Cove area was gradually filled in beginning in 1833. Nancy S. Seasholes's Gaining Ground (2003) documents this complicated and fascinating story of landmaking in rich detail.
The most dramatic expansions of the landmass occurred at midcentury. First the City of Boston and various real estate speculators developed the South End through a series of campaigns in the 1840s. Filling outward from the Washington Street spine, new streets or squares were created in the South End following no comprehensive plan. Here the nation's first Second Empire–style building, the Edward Deacon House of 1848 on Massachusetts Avenue, introduced Boston to the high-pitched mansard roof and pavilion forms of Parisian architecture that would continue for decades to influence institutional and private buildings. The forms of this freestanding mansion were adopted for bowfront brick row houses capped by mansard roofs and entered from high stoops flanked by wrought-iron railings. The middle-class expectations of both city and private real estate speculators were short-lived, however, as the South End row houses quickly changed from single-family residences into boardinghouses and tenements.
From 1858 on, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the holders of industrial rights to tidal milling below the Beacon Street causeway filled the Back Bay, following a hierarchical orthogonal master plan. The Back Bay sapped the upper-income interest in the South End and quickly became the premier neighborhood for the moneyed classes. Along the broad central boulevard of Commonwealth Avenue, with its tree-lined corridor, those who made their fortunes in shipping, railroads, or in industries stimulated by the Civil War erected impressive mansions that were symbols of individual success even though controlled by deed restrictions in terms of scale and materials. Many churches and institutions moved to the Back Bay from the central city, especially after a massive fire in 1872 burned much of the core city. Copley Square arose as Boston's new cultural center, with the first home of the Museum of Fine Arts (1876, Sturgis and Brigham, demolished 1909) and the current home of the Boston Public Library (1888–1895, McKim, Mead and White; BB42) joining Trinity Church (1872–1877, H. H. Richardson; BB37) and the New Old South Church (1874, Cummings and Sears; BB43). The Ruskinian polychromy of H. H. Richardson and his contemporaries gradually evolved into more staid historical images for public institutions and private individuals. At the western end of the Back Bay, landmaking continued with the creation of the Back Bay Fens (1878–1879, Frederick Law Olmsted; FL1)—an artificial saltwater corridor along the Muddy Brook—as the first stage in the Boston Municipal Park System, commonly known as the Emerald Necklace.
South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown, Cambridge, and other areas participated in the race to make new land. Ultimately, Boston today has grown to four times the land area John Winthrop and his Puritan colonists “discovered” in 1630. And pressure to expand the landmass at the center of the metropolitan district only flamed the fires of expansion in the surrounding suburban communities.
Housing New Bostonians
The explosion in immigration to the Boston area that began with the Irish potato famine in the 1840s upset the Yankee hegemony on many levels. From the pier of the Cunard Steamship Line at the North End of Boston, Irish and other newcomers flooded the city at midcentury. By 1846, the Committee on the Expediency of Providing Better Tenements for the Poor reported that “more than one third of the families in Boston [were] living in company with three, four, five or more families in small houses, generally not built for the purpose.”21 The arrival of new residents from abroad forced the relocation and re-accommodation of both old and new Bostonians.
With the pressure of increasing population and demographic dispersion, new forms of housing emerged in the Boston area in the second half of the nineteenth century. The middle class explored multiple alternatives to the housing crisis. As early as the 1820s, side-entrance town houses with a bowed front built of brick and later brownstone became a popular urban answer to middle-class housing. Much of Beacon Hill, as well as the Training Field section of Charlestown, small sections of East Boston, and other districts retain fine examples of this type of housing. Detached wooden houses with a similar plan proliferated in the surrounding cities and towns.
A new alternative to the town house or single-family residence arose with the introduction of the “French flat” or apartment building in 1857. The Hotel Pelham on the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets offered horizontal spaces in a building designed for multiple occupants. As the name implies, Parisian models inspired this Boston experiment that initiated the American popularization of apartment living, initially for the middle and upper classes. The idea caught hold slowly in Boston, with the second French flat constructed more than a decade later. The South End and the Back Bay retain the finest surviving nineteenth-century examples of this novel—later pervasive—housing experiment.
The poorest immigrants first crowded into the former single-family houses of the North End, West End, Beacon Hill, and elsewhere. Dividing former single-family residences, they packed into small quarters without adequate illumination, ventilation, or plumbing. The nation's earliest efforts to reform and improve the living conditions of the poor occurred in Boston from the 1840s on. The surviving Boston Model Tenements (1858) on West Canton Street in the South End symbolize the early efforts that local charities made to improve the living conditions of the “worthy poor,” those individuals who could afford a modest rent and demonstrated high moral qualities. Other philanthropic organizations emerged to improve the living conditions of the poor in the 1870s and 1880s, but their efforts were so modest, especially during a time of economic depression, that they had little impact on the city. Legislation to control the conditions in new tenements was passed in 1868 and reinforced by the city's 1871 building codes, which stipulated that tenements had to be built of brick or stone in the central city in order to prevent the spread of disease and fire.
As the immigrant populations gained some economic stability, they began to build more substantial, albeit still modest, quarters in the immigrant neighborhoods. The Boston brick tenement building became a common form from the North End to the West End to the North Slope of Beacon Hill to the South End to Roxbury. Varying shades of brick were used in combination with cast-stone ornament and pressed-metal oriels on buildings of three to four stories. One common pattern was for first- and second-generation immigrants to sponsor tenement construction; Eastern European Jews were especially involved in this practice, though other immigrant and native-born architects and builders seized on this market, too. As the resources of the developers, builders, and architects grew in the 1890s, the formula segued from brick tenements in older neighborhoods to brick apartment buildings along the avenues of the Fenway, Brookline, and Brighton. Mixed with modest town houses and single-story commercial buildings (known as tax-payers), these units still define the character of many areas annexed to Boston, as well as that of the adjacent suburban communities.
For the lower-middle- and upper-working classes, another paradigm emerged in the late 1870s. Wood-frame three-story structures accommodating three families were first built by real estate speculators and builders/architects in South Boston and Roxbury, where Boston's prohibitions against wooden residences did not apply.22 Organized with a side entrance and projecting parlor bay, these multiple dwellings imitated the organizational schemes of middle-class French flats, arranging all of the spaces of a town house on a single level. Both front and rear porches expanded the living areas into the semipublic domain. From Mattapan to Lynn and beyond, these housing solutions still predominate. Approximately fifteen thousand examples were built between 1880 and 1930, with Dorchester alone boasting more than five thousand examples. More than 65 percent of the builders (who often served as their own architects/developers) were foreign born, especially from the Maritime Provinces of Canada, followed by Ireland and Germany; the rest were often migrants from elsewhere in New England. About 5 percent of the builders were responsible for the majority of the three-deckers, although many individuals built a single structure for themselves and their tenants. The three-deckers were products of streetcar separation of the work/residence nexus in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, but the largest percentage were built between 1900 and 1918. Part urban, part suburban, they housed and continue to house a substantial percentage of the population of Greater Boston.
Although the three-decker came to dominate, they represented one step on a sliding scale of housing possibilities from the urban tenement to the suburban detached residence. Two-family houses provided a more transitional alternative, resembling a single-family residence but providing rental income from a second unit to finance construction or mortgages. Those designed as side-by-side vertical units preserved greater privacy for the owner and renter. More commonly, horizontal stacking produced a downscaled variant of the ubiquitous three-decker. Neighborhoods from Revere to Somerville to Waltham to Ashmont document this economic and social alternative.By the 1920s, the three-decker was declining as a popular building solution in Boston and its suburbs. Housing reformers attacked the building design as a fire hazard and social problem. In 1912 and 1913, the Massachusetts legislature passed a tenement house law for towns and cities, respectively, that allowed communities to prohibit the spread of three-deckers, now labeled tenements. Automobile ownership and improved highways made cheaper land for single-family houses in outlying suburbs more accessible to the upper-working and middle classes. Three-deckers were seen as a symbol of urban blight and encroaching immigrant populations, and many of the towns around Boston used the new laws to prevent their further construction. The last building permit for a three-decker was issued in 1928. Even though many housing advocates agreed that three-deckers offered light, ventilation, privacy, and affordability, the reputations of these units was so impugned that the housing form was not revived following the Great Depression.
The Rise of the SuburbThe growth of Boston after the Civil War occurred not only through new housing options but also through political and physical changes in the outward moving tide of “Bostonians.” The city of Boston exploded through a series of annexations—of Roxbury (1867–1868); Dorchester (1869–1870); Charlestown, Brighton, and Jamaica Plain (1873); Roslindale and West Roxbury (1874); and Hyde Park (1912). Connections between the Shawmut Peninsula and the surrounding communities had grown closer with the construction of bridges, canals, and turnpikes, beginning in the 1780s. The rapid growth of Cambridge, for example, emphasizes the economic control of the capital city, as bridges across the Charles opened the closest sections to Cambridge for industrial and residential expansion beginning in the late eighteenth century.23 Omnibuses, similar to stagecoaches for inter- and intra-city travel, began in 1826. The railroads followed, from the mid-1830s on. For the most part, however, the first decade and a half of railroad development benefited the industrial expansion of the Boston region rather than facilitating new residential neighborhoods. Brookline, which resisted being annexed by Boston, emerged tentatively as a railroad commuter suburb, with such planned developments as Longwood (1849; BR1) and Cottage Farm (1850; BR7) among the earliest of their type in the country. Brookline was also the site of the most important concentration of country estates in the southern section of the community, ultimately grouped near the Country Club, which was founded in 1882 as one of the first such institutions in the nation and added the country's first golf course (six holes) in 1892. More distant new suburban communities were established along the railroad lines passing through older towns, such as the newly created village of Winchester (1835), set off from Woburn or Belmont (1859), which was carved from Cambridge and Watertown. The building of a suburban loop of the Boston and Albany rail line through Brookline, Newton, and Wellesley helped to define their identities as middle- or upper-class residential enclaves.
The Streetcar and Public Transportation
By the 1850s, the streetcar railway system also began operation, providing a more dramatic change in transportation and in urban growth, as detailed in Sam Bass Warner Jr.'s classic study, Streetcar Suburbs.24 Laying tracks down principal thoroughfares, and often replacing the omnibus lines, this system grew out from the core and made connections between adjacent communities. Unlike the limited initial railway lines, the streetcars provided multiple routes spreading outward in spider webs of motion. By the time of the 1873 depression, the streetcar network extended north, west, and south for two-and-a-half miles from the Massachusetts Statehouse. By 1887, the system had pushed out four miles from the Hub, reaching six miles by the turn of the century. The streetcars opened farmland to residential development and prompted the extension of municipal and private services, including water and sewers, gas, electricity, and telephone.25
The coordination of the streetcar lines became more pronounced in 1887, when Henry Whitney, president of the West End Street Railway Company, began to acquire financial interests in the competing lines. Charging a uniform five-cent fare across his system, he rapidly expanded the lines. He oversaw the electrification of the streetcar lines beginning in 1888–1889, a process that allowed for doubling the speed of travel. By the 1890s, nearly 80 percent of Boston's commuters were traveling by streetcar. The principal challenge for these lines was not their extension out into new suburban areas but their coordination in the central city. Efforts to construct elevated streetcar lines in the central city, popular in New York and Chicago, were repeatedly defeated in Boston.
In 1894, the Massachusetts legislature authorized the creation of the nation's first subway in Boston. By 1898, a mile-and-a-half-long tunnel had been constructed under Tremont Street in the heart of the mercantile district. The West End Company, which had opposed the project, leased the tunnel and initially operated the subway. In 1904, a tunnel was dug under Boston Harbor to East Boston, and in 1908 a third tunnel opened under Washington Street. The rise of the automobile would soon challenge the dominance of the streetcar/subway system and further explode the limits of the metropolitan complex in the opening decades of the new century. By the 1920s, the popularity of public transit had begun to decline, and by the 1930s more than fifty thousand private automobiles flooded Boston each day.The expanding networks of public transit arose partially in response to pressures from immigration, as the established population sought to flee from the new immigrants and to emulate the pattern of wealthy families. Collapsing a town house in the city and an estate in the country into a single middle- or working-class residence in the suburbs, facilitated by the new streetcar and subway lines and then the automobile, allowed a broader swath of the population to achieve the mythic advantages of a more rural existence. In reality, the scale of lots for residences in many suburban communities remained modest, and single-family houses mingled with two-family residences and three-deckers in the new neighborhoods. Achieving this rapid and dramatic expansion of building stock required the complex interaction of architects, builders, contractors, real estate investors, banks, and other interested parties.
The Architecture Profession
Boston and its environs have played a leadership role in the history of the profession of architecture in the United States.26 As a result, the region has benefited from substantial architectural talent from the mid-nineteenth century on. Connected closely to Europe intellectually, the city has mediated a debate between inheritance from abroad and the creation of new architectural discourses. The nation's first school of architecture and first architectural journal were founded here, and the subsequent presence of several schools of architecture has produced an architectural environment in which the theories of the academy have infused the practice of the profession. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did not license architects until 1941, and thus the profession was fluid and self-defining through the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries. The majority of the architects working in Boston before 1941 were former carpenters or builders who chose to add the label of “architect” to their construction activities.
Although a modest number of individuals began to list themselves as architects in the town and city directories of the region starting in the opening decade of the nineteenth century, the architectural profession remained marginal and disorganized until after the Civil War. Architects learned their craft through apprenticeship in the firms of older practitioners. In 1867, however, the newly organized Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) inaugurated the nation's first academic program in architecture, inspired by the teaching methods of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, yet inflected with a continuing interest in contemporary English architectural ideals. Led by Boston architect William Robert Ware, the MIT program became the model for the other American institutions that established schools of architecture in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. The influence of the MIT program and of the Boston profession on architecture throughout the nation increased when the American Architect and Building News began publication in Boston in 1876, the nation's first professional journal.
In 1893, Harvard followed MIT's lead, creating a new school of architecture under the direction of Englishman H. Langford Warren. Founded in the same year as the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Harvard's architecture program embraced the contemporary celebration of the Renaissance as an architectural language for the nation's emerging international presence. Warren also played a founding role in the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, which was established in 1897 as the first such organization in the country and was modeled directly on the English Arts and Crafts movement. Boston architects initially dominated this association and employed its members to execute commissions for their buildings.
Beyond the academy, architects continued to learn their profession through apprenticeships in Boston-area offices. Until the later nineteenth century, this apprenticeship usually emphasized the engineering and structural elements of design. The rise of schools of architecture fostered architectural offices in which the artistic questions of design were emphasized. Perhaps the most important of these was the atelier led by Henry Hobson Richardson in his Brookline office from 1874 until his death in 1886. The Paris-trained Richardson exerted a significant influence on the popularity of the Ecole system and the combination of French and English architectural traditions. His reputation took on an international stature, and many of the leading architects of the next generation in Boston served as members of his staff.
In 1867, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) was founded as the first local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Boston Architectural Club was established in 1889, providing a focus and forum for both professionals and the larger community interested in architecture. The Boston Architectural College (BAC) fulfilled the professional, educational, and social needs of its membership, offering rooms for meetings, lectures, and classes, as well as a library. Training for architects became part of its mission from the beginning; BAC, the country's only accredited architectural program not associated with an educational institution, is the outgrowth of the club's teaching mission.
Landscape architects, engineers, and planners similarly found educational opportunities in Boston and surrounding communities. In 1900, MIT established a short-lived program (through 1908) to train landscape architects under the direction of architect Guy Lowell and in cooperation with Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum; this program also admitted women, thus affording them a new professional opportunity. In the same year, Harvard's School of Architecture added a professional program in landscape architecture under the direction of John Charles Olmsted and Arthur Shurcliff, members of Frederick Law Olmsted's firm. This program grew from the internships sponsored by Olmsted at his office in Brookline from 1883 on. In 1913, the Boston Society of Landscape Architects founded the first local chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Training in engineering was offered at MIT from its inception, and professional programs in urban planning emerged at both Harvard and MIT in the first decade of the twentieth century. Local figures, such as Arthur Shurcliff and John Nolen, became national leaders in the new field of urban and regional planning.
Despite the initially inclusive attitude toward women in the landscape architecture program at MIT, they nonetheless had to fight to get an education and pursue careers in architecture and landscape design. In nearby Groton, Massachusetts, the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Gardening and Horticulture for Women began to offer training in 1901. As early as 1915, women petitioned unsuccessfully to be admitted to the School of Architecture at Harvard. In response, Henry Frost, a Harvard faculty member, began private tutoring; this soon became an independent program, the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, which by the 1930s was affiliated with Smith College for the granting of degrees. During World War II, Harvard finally admitted women to its architecture and landscape architecture programs, reinforcing the central role that Boston-area institutions played in expanding their professional opportunities.
The Colonial Revival
An important element of the architectural training at MIT and later at Harvard, and an interest for BSA members, were the local architectural traditions of the colonial and early Federal periods in New England. As early as the 1840s, Boston architect Arthur Gilman began to sing the praises of these earlier buildings in his architectural criticism. From the 1870s on, Boston-area architects started to tour the countryside to record the surviving examples of colonial buildings throughout New England, publishing sketches and photographs of historic examples and new designs for modern structures informed by these traditions. As such, Boston led New England and the nation in establishing a Colonial Revival vocabulary as one of the dominant and enduring images of American architecture.
The regional embrace of the colonial as a revitalized architectural paradigm was part of the cultural inversion that the Boston area and New England at large experienced in the closing decades of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Arthur Little was among the earliest of the Boston architects to record the colonial past and to design new and remodeled buildings inspired by its forms. William Ralph Emerson was perhaps the most creative of the architects who merged such forms with the colonial material of wooden shingles in organic and seductive designs. Building-product manufacturers joined architects in promoting a regional architectural style. The expanding suburbs and the vacation houses of the shoreline and countryside were especially fertile ground for Colonial Revivalism. But public buildings, town halls, churches, and academic architecture embraced the colonial as well. The image of Harvard College was recast in a colonial guise from the 1880s on, and other educational institutions followed suit. Although each decade brought new ways through which the past could serve the present, the 1920s and 1930s were a particularly rich period for these developments, despite (or perhaps due to) the challenge of modernism from Europe. The expansive scale of suburban and country house architecture that typified the 1920s was reduced to a more modest level in the period of the Great Depression. In some ways, the Colonial Revival was the perfect vehicle for these modest circumstances. In 1932, local architect Royal Barry Wills won the national Small House Architectural Competition with his design for an updated Cape Cod cottage, a new Colonial Revival paradigm that he continued to promote with great success. The Boston suburbs embraced this image from the centennial of the country until after World War II. But other competing ideals proliferated from the 1880s through the 1930s. The Shingle Style suburban house, a fellow traveler of the Colonial Revival, was a ubiquitous choice throughout the Boston suburbs in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. The half-timbered forms of Tudor-inspired architecture continued the picturesque massing of the Shingle Style into a more historically derived house type. The bungalow, with its low massing and spreading eaves, was a relatively infrequent addition to the Boston-area menu of house styles. And the other revival choices seen throughout the country in the opening decades of the twentieth century were certainly popular as well. In many ways, however, the Colonial Revival still persists as a viable architectural solution and symbol for the character of the metropolitan region.
The Emergence of Historic Preservation
The development of a Colonial Revival movement in regional architecture also parallels the emergence of the preservation ethic in Boston and its suburbs.27 Boston learned early on to value its past. The Massachusetts Historical Society, the first such organization in the nation, was founded in 1791 to celebrate and record the accomplishments of the colony and commonwealth. Erection of physical symbols to commemorate the past began with a modest obelisk that was raised on Lexington Green in 1799 (LX9) to memorialize farmers killed in the first battle of the American Revolution, and the much larger granite obelisk (1825–1842; see CH6) dedicated in Charlestown to mark the battle of Bunker Hill. The fight to preserve architectural monuments began in earnest at the time of the Civil War, when the granite mansion of John Hancock, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was demolished on Beacon Hill in 1863. The unsuccessful campaign to save the Hancock House fueled the fire of those who wished to preserve the symbols of the past. Architect John Hubbard Sturgis made the first architectural measured drawings of an American building to record the plan of the Hancock House before demolition and salvaged key pieces of the mansion to be reused or copied in later buildings. The Hancock fight inspired successes, such as the 1877 campaign to save the Count Rumford House in Woburn (WO6), the country's first historic house museum preserved by a local historical society.
The failure of the Hancock campaign prompted a very different outcome when the Old South Meetinghouse (BD12) was threatened in 1876. Having narrowly survived the Great Boston Fire of 1872, Old South seemed redundant at a time when church congregations were leaving the historic core of Boston for new sites in the Back Bay and South End. With the backing of the intellectual and literary establishment of the region, and through private initiative, Old South was preserved against daunting financial odds as a historic shrine, and the site where Revolutionary speeches were delivered became a place of patriotic veneration. Within the public sector, efforts to ensure the survival of the Old Statehouse ended happily in 1889 with its restoration and partial use as a museum for the Bostonian Society (chartered in 1881 as a city historical organization).
As other groups in Boston and the surrounding towns organized to guarantee the future of specific buildings, networks developed that sought a more global approach to the challenge of securing the past for the future. Boston soon became a proving ground for lobbying and legislation in the emerging field of historic preservation. The most important of these developments was the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England, Inc.), organized by William Sumner Appleton in 1910. From its headquarters in the First Harrison Gray Otis House on Cambridge Street (WE2), the society now manages a regional network of historic houses and museums. Appleton redirected the local and national preservation movement away from antiquarian interest in buildings for their associative value to a professional preservation philosophy that judges buildings as example of architectural and cultural patterns.
These historic house museums were augmented by other efforts in the 1920s and 1930s. In the Boston suburb of Sudbury, automobile magnate Henry Ford purchased and restored the Wayside Inn in 1923 and assembled a small village of re-created and relocated early buildings to expand the inn's romantic environs (SD3). In the 1930s, John D. Rockefeller Jr. chose Boston architects Perry, Shaw and Hepburn and Boston landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff to oversee the restoration and re-creation of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Thus historic preservation and the Colonial Revival in New England influenced American culture far more broadly.
The Origins of Planning and Zoning
Marching to a similar drummer were efforts to control the character and scale of new buildings in the central city. As early as the seventeenth century, deed restrictions had been placed on Boston building projects to restrict size, material, and use. By the early nineteenth century, uniform city ordinances stipulated the use of brick or stone as a building material for structures higher than one story to avert the perpetual problem of fire. New comprehensive development schemes such as Mount Vernon Street (1801) and Louisburg Square (1826), both on Beacon Hill, sought consistency through easements controlling new construction. When the City of Boston began the filling and development of the South End, deed restrictions were included with the sale of lots. Even more restrictive were the controls exercised by the commonwealth's Back Bay Commissioners from 1859 on. These projects helped to instill a Bostonian sense of urban identity, something that was dramatically evident when a massive fire consumed sixty-five acres in the heart of the city on November 9 and 10, 1872, and the replacement buildings, which rose surprisingly quickly, maintained a similar scale and character to those that had been destroyed.
The problems of consistency and permanence arose as the original properties were sold and new uses or structures were introduced into uniform environments. At the request of the Boston delegation, the Massachusetts legislature enacted the nation's first height limitations in 1891, restricting buildings in all cities of the commonwealth to 125 feet. The following year, this limit was formally incorporated into Boston's new building code. The control of the majority of the central city's commercial property by conservative real estate trusts ensured that these moves aroused little opposition. Throughout the 1890s, public outcry over the construction of tall apartment buildings near the statehouse (BH10) and along Commonwealth Avenue (BB19) in the Back Bay prompted legislation to restrict building height adjacent to parklands (the Boston Common, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, and Copley Square). The first case contesting height limitation that was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court involved the efforts by the City of Boston to force the developers of the Hotel Brunswick at the corner of Copley Square to abide by a 125-foot-high zoning limitation in the central city. The Court found in favor of the city, which forced the removal of the part of the top floor of the building.In 1904, Boston created two zoning height zones—one measuring 125 feet for the commercial core and a second at 80 feet for residential areas. The limitation on the commercial zone was raised to 155 feet in 1922. Following New York's lead, a new zoning ordinance was passed in 1928 that allowed buildings to exceed the height restriction if they were set back one foot for every two-and-a-half they rose. Three buildings were constructed following this formula before the Great Depression curtailed new construction. Only after World War II did Boston dramatically break with the decades-old horizontal pattern. Even today, the charm of much of the older sections of Boston derives from the conservative attitude toward tall buildings.
The Cradle of Modern Architecture in This Country
Strangely, Boston presented the extremes of traditional architectural forms and radical design departures at the same moment, in the second quarter of the twentieth century. From the late 1920s forward, Boston architects experimented with the forms and theories of European modernism. Beginning with small wooden houses built in the Boston suburbs, these early experiments offered a powerful alternative to the traditional wooden architecture of colonial inspiration. One undersung heroine of this story was Boston architect Eleanor Raymond, who traveled in Europe in 1930 to inspect the work of the most advanced designers. Her project for her sister, the Rachel Raymond House in Belmont of 1931, demolished by the Belmont Hill School to build tennis courts in 2006, was one of the earliest in the Boston area to engage and modify the work of German and French avant-garde designers, in the so-called International Style. After a year of study in Sweden, another major figure, Carl Koch, produced a more textural and natural form of modernism that is evident in the Cambridge house (BS10) he designed for his parents in 1937.28 And even Royal Barry Wills, the driving force behind the Cape Cod cottage and the Colonial Revival, worked with a young assistant, Hugh Stubbins, to produce popular American variants of the International Style formula.
With the arrival in 1937 of Walter Gropius from Germany as a new professor at Harvard's School of Architecture, the stage was set for a more organized revolution. Gropius's educational impact firmly established the most advanced European ideals, supplanting the earlier Beaux-Arts philosophy first at Harvard and then at MIT. Gropius had directed the Bauhaus, the state-sponsored school of architecture and design in Germany, before the rise of Fascism forced him to flee, first to England and then to the United States. Dean Joseph Hudnut appointed Gropius design professor at Harvard, and the immigrant rapidly came to dominate the school. Despite this prestigious backing, modernism took root in New England rather slowly. Gropius and his former Bauhaus colleague Marcel Breuer formed The Architects Collaborative (TAC) in 1939, hiring young graduates of Harvard to fill the office. The lingering effects of the Great Depression and the American entrance into World War II afforded few opportunities for new architectural commissions, so members of TAC became their own clients. Gropius and Breuer built houses for themselves in Lincoln (see LN4), while the younger members of the firm banded together to create a community of modest modern houses at Six Moon Hill in Lexington (LX3). These experiments inspired similar developments, especially in the northwest suburbs from Belmont to Concord, leading New York architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable to call the Boston area “the cradle of modern architecture in this country.”29
Not until after the war, however, did TAC receive its first important institutional commission, to create a graduate student complex (NY6) for Harvard in 1949–1950. MIT also used modern architecture to herald its new postwar expansion with designs by visiting architects. Alvar Aalto's Baker House dormitory (1946–1949; MT17) rippled along the Charles River in a nubby brickwork, and the MIT Chapel and Kresge Auditorium (both 1955; MT14 and MT15) by Eero Saarinen provided new geometric volumes that definitely broke the white-box image of earlier modernism. And Harvard's invitation to French architect Le Corbusier to design the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (1961–1963; HY17) resulted in concrete swirls of forms and ramps, the only American project from this dominant international figure at midcentury. The reinvigorated postwar economy soon turned to modernism as a vehicle to express new regional and American might. The creation of industries along the Route 128 corridor—often businesses that emerged from research conducted at MIT or Harvard during the war—spawned commercial structures in the modernist image.
The delayed acceptance of modern architecture in Boston was primarily a product of a stagnant economic environment in which very few new buildings were constructed. By 1930, the oldest city in the nation had fallen to ninth place in population, and worse was yet to come. For the central city, the political and social climate depressed new construction and polarized the populace into warring camps. Although the first Irish Catholic mayor of Boston, John O'Brien, was elected in 1884, a new level of antagonism between the Protestant and Catholic population emerged with the election of Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald in 1905. William Henry Cardinal O'Connell became the leader of Boston's Catholics the following year and inaugurated policies of Catholic pride and power. John Walsh became the first Irish Catholic governor of the commonwealth in 1914. The key figure in the political life of the city during the first half of the twentieth century, however, was Mayor John Michael Curley, who served four terms between 1914 and 1949. His power base was the wards of ethnic workers who opposed the Yankee financial establishment of downtown, Beacon Hill, and the Back Bay. Curley committed city funds, derived from one of the nation's highest tax bases, to improvements in the sections of the city where his constituents lived, creating parks, beaches, roads, branch libraries, and health centers in the outer neighborhoods while ignoring the infrastructure of the central city. His legendary corruption led to opposition from the city's financial power brokers in the Republican-controlled state legislature, and even from the Democratic powers in Washington, D.C. Boston received proportionally fewer federal dollars during the Great Depression and immediate postwar period because of the distrust of the Curley machine.
The weak economic picture also exacerbated the Boston area's waning vitality. Beginning in the early 1920s, the textile industry, from which much of the region's nineteenth-century wealth was derived, began to abandon New England for cheaper wages, nonunionized workers, and lower taxes in southern states. The boot and shoe factories soon followed, especially after World War II. The port of Boston, which was among the most active at the start of the century, and its substantial network of railroads gradually lost business. Although the wartime industries and the United States Army Base in South Boston offered some relief, that hiatus did not lead to new investment, and the postwar economy continued the downward slide, symbolized by the closing of the shipyards in East Boston and Quincy. The lack of investment in the central city and the loss of jobs in core industries created urban blight and encouraged flight from the older neighborhoods. The remaining signs of life came from the new electronic industries that emerged along the peripheral Route 128 in the late 1940s and 1950s. New industrial plants built for Raytheon, General Electric, AVCO, and other similar companies provided new jobs and incentives to move to the edge city of the outer suburbs, where new houses rose to accommodate the migrating workforce. The population of Boston, which was only slightly more than 800,000 in 1950, slipped to less than 700,000 a decade later.
The New Boston
The turning point in this downward spiral was the defeat of Mayor Curley by John B. Hynes in the election of 1949.30 A career bureaucrat who had served as the interim mayor while Curley spent part of his final term in federal prison for mail fraud, Hynes ran on a platform that called for restoring Boston's good name and ending the divisive politics of the Curley regime. His task of rebuilding confidence in the city was daunting. Winning second and third terms by defeating Curley two more times, Hynes began to launch aggressive plans for the city's future. He promised new housing, improved transportation, and a spirit of inclusion. Confidence in Boston remained so low after the Curley years, however, that Hynes spent much of his administration merely demonstrating good will and noble intentions. The urban renewal funds provided by the federal government were used to demolish the New York streets area of the South End and to level nearly the entire West End. The former became the domain of industrial garages, while the latter proved the most egregious disaster characterizing renewal efforts in Boston. Hynes did start the revitalization of the railroad yards between the Back Bay and the South End, primarily due to the private managerial talent of the Prudential Corporation. When he left office in 1959, Hynes had laid the foundation for more substantial change.
His successor, John F. Collins, possessed the vision and administrative skills that Hynes had lacked. Collins hired Edward J. Logue, an urban planner from New Haven, Connecticut, to run a substantively more powerful Boston Redevelopment Authority, and together they worked in harness to jump-start an aggressive redevelopment strategy. Logue and Collins completed the Prudential Center (BB79) and the Boston Common Garage projects initiated by Hynes, and went on to articulate a comprehensive scheme for the new Boston. With the financial backing of the federal government during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Collins and Logue had the funding that their predecessors lacked, and the infusion of federal funds attracted substantial private investment for the first time in decades. Not all of the efforts met with critical acclaim. The Collins administration did carry out the obliteration of the West End's ethnic neighborhood, replacing it with institutional expansion and Charles River Park (WE9), a suburban vision of town houses and apartment towers in manicured grounds that only the middle and upper classes could afford. But they provided a potent symbol for the new Boston with the completion of a modern City Hall and surrounding Government Center district (GC15), replacing the bars and vaudeville houses of the former Scollay Square. Banks and insurance companies began to build office towers, and the Christian Science Church (BB87) became the focus of another urban renewal megaplex at the western end of the Back Bay. When City Hall attempted to bring its urban renewal efforts to Boston's outer neighborhoods, however, it met opposition and antagonism. And the suburbs remained distrustful of the central city.
During the 1960s, the Boston economy tilted dramatically from blue- to white-collar industries. The former trade, commerce, shipping, and fishing economy became one devoted to services—financial management, health care, technology, education, and tourism. A new breed of young Bostonian was attracted to these professional jobs, living briefly in the city until the greener pastures of the suburbs beckoned. These young professionals began to revitalize neighborhoods such as the Back Bay and the South End, raising the price of housing, encouraging conversions of older buildings to condominiums, and creating a new cultural division in the city. The old antagonisms between Protestants and Catholics and between Yankees and immigrants became fault lines where income, education, and race divisions dominated. The Collins/Logue formula saved a city in dire straits, but it also fundamentally changed Boston in physical and social terms.
Following Collins in 1968, Mayor Kevin White inherited a development engine running at full steam. He sought to bring the human element into this new city of steel and glass and to launch Boston as a world-class destination. White was clearly not cut from the same cloth as Collins, and left development issues to his professional staff, making the Boston Redevelopment Authority a controlling agent rather than a leader of urban renewal. During Mayor White's second term, the busing crisis of school desegregation highlighted the violent racial and social divisions that had grown under urban renewal. Black, Puerto Rican, and older ethnic white neighborhoods began to claim more of a piece of the city's redevelopment budget.
One of the positive legacies of the White years was the emergence of a new generation of preservation activists. In 1955, the Massachusetts legislature had authorized the creation of the Beacon Hill Historic District, forging the first legal tools in the Boston area for the preservation of historic architecture. Cambridge, its sister city across the Charles River, followed suit in 1963 and created the Cambridge Historical Commission, one of the leading preservation planning agencies in the country. In the late 1960s, the Boston area emerged as a national center for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, exemplified by the 1969–1970 rehabilitation of the surplus Old City Hall (BD8) according to a design by Anderson Notter Associates. The White administration began to capitalize on this new development solution in the mid-1970s. When the mayor chose the development team headed by James Rouse of Baltimore to adaptively repurpose the derelict Quincy Market (GC5) complex as the new Faneuil Hall Festival Marketplace, redesigned by Benjamin Thompson, he capitalized on Boston's history as a centerpiece for the nation's bicentennial. And when the Boston Naval Shipyard (CH15) in Charlestown was declared surplus in 1974, the Boston Redevelopment Authority creatively combined the reuse of old buildings with new construction to revive this prime section of the waterfront. The creation of the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1976 and Congress's passage of the Tax Reform Act that same year provided the local resources and the financial incentives to bring older buildings and neighborhoods back to life.
After a brief hiatus caused by the oil embargo of 1973, the real estate development market of the Boston region remained white hot until roughly 1990.31 During the 1970s through the 1990s, the skyline of the city was utterly changed. The horizontal, genteel Boston that had survived until the mid-twentieth century now had a hubristic spine and a new social order. The 1928 zoning law was finally amended in 1964, substituting floor-area ratios and new zoning districts for the setback height limitations of the Art Deco era. And the surrounding towns and cities boomed as well. Cambridge saw significant new initiatives in Kendall Square, along the East Cambridge waterfront, and in Harvard Square, as educational institutions and the new technology industries they fostered reshaped the city. The edge city along Route 128 remained vibrant, with adjacent suburban communities witnessing the explosion of continued new housing and related services. The larger circumferential ring of Route 495 drew more energy and inhabitants to a geography that required a larger definition of Metropolitan Boston.
Metropolitan Boston Now
Despite a brief dip in the economy at the start of the 1990s, Metropolitan Boston has remained an active center of new construction, both at the core and in the rings that ripple out from the center. Most dramatically, the suppression of the Central Artery, an elevated highway opened in 1959 to “cure” Boston's automobile gridlock, created the nation's largest public works project, as well as chaos for Boston commuters. From 1991 through 2004, the city was a maze of derricks and dump trucks as an eight-lane highway was constructed beneath the old elevated roadway and a third tunnel was dug below Boston Harbor to Logan Airport. At the same time, the old highway was incrementally demolished, to be replaced by new construction and parkland. The ability of the city and the state to develop a realistic and appropriate master plan for this broad corridor of development through the center of the city remains a challenge, especially with statewide and national criticism focused on the lengthy timetable and excessive cost of the project known as the Big Dig. The organizations devoted to creating new museums of Boston history and of contemporary art and culture have made proposals for structures within the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway (WF25). Surveying the void left by the demolition of the Central Artery gave contemporary Bostonians some sense of the scorched-earth appearance that typified the urban renewal districts of the mid-twentieth century.The Big Dig also generated enthusiasm for development in the South Boston Seaport district, the presumed next focal point for business, residential, and institutional expansion. The enormous new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (SB10), the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse and Harbor Park (SB5), and the Institute of Contemporary Art (SB6) highlight the district of new office towers and hotels that have already risen on the parking lots of this former industrial area. The Silver Line, the newest component of the city's public transit system, brings low-emission, high-speed buses from Dorchester, Roxbury, and the South End to the new frontier of the seaport district. At the start of the twenty-first century, Boston seems poised for another period of growth, both at the center and at the periphery, as the metropolitan region redefines itself and expands while remaining unique within American urban centers.
Sam Bass Warner Jr., “Today's Boston: A History,” The Massachusetts Historical Review 1 (1999): 2–5.
Cynthia Zaitzevsky, Frederick Law Olmsted and the Boston Park System (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982); [Charles W. Eliot], Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1902; new edition, with introduction by Keith N. Morgan, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press for the Library of American Landscape History, 1999); and Alex Krieger and David Cobb, eds., Mapping Boston (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999).
Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton, Native American Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 52.
Quoted in William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983), 26–28.
J. Franklin Johnson, ed., Johnson's Wonder-Working Providence, 1628–1651 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 58.
Joseph S. Wood, The New England Village (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 2.
Sumner Chilton Powell, Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1963).
Abbott Lowell Cummings, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979).
Abbott Lowell Cummings, “The Three Hearths: A Socioarchitectural Study of Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts Bay Probate Inventories,” Old-Time New England (1997): 5–49.
Marian Card Donnelly, The New England Meeting Houses of the Seventeenth Century (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1968).
Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (New York: Knopf, 1998).
Abbott Lowell Cummings, “The Beginnings of Provincial Renaissance Architecture in Boston, 1690–1725,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 42 (March 1983): 43–53.
“Letters from the Reverend Dr. Belknap to the Hon. Judge Minot . . .,” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society for the year 1795 (repr., Boston, 1835), IV, as quoted in Cummings, “Beginnings of Provincial Renaissance Architecture,” 51.
Harold Kirker, The Architecture of Charles Bulfinch (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969).
Jack Quinan, “Some Aspects of the Development of the Architectural Profession in Boston between 1800 and 1830,” Old-Time New England (July–December 1977): 34.
Tobin Tracey, “Thomas M. Howard and James Hunt, Nineteenth-Century Housewrights: An Examination of Their Work on Beacon Hill, Boston” (master's thesis, Goucher College, 1997).
Edward Zimmer, “The Architectural Career of Alexander Parris (1780–1852)” (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1984).
Robert F. Dalzell, Enterprising Elite: The Boston Associates and the World They Made (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).
Nancy S. Seasholes, Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003).
Report of the Committee on the Expediency of Providing Better Tenements for the Poor (Boston: Eastburn's Press, 1846), 5.
Arthur J. Krim, Three-Deckers of Dorchester: An Historical Survey (Boston: Boston Redevelopment Authority, 1977); and Diane Jacobsohn, “Boston's ‘Three-Decker Menace’: The Buildings, the Builders, and the Dwellers, 1870s–1930” (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 2004).
Henry C. Binford, The First Suburbs: Residential Communities on the Boston Periphery, 1815–1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985).
Sam Bass Warner Jr. Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston (1870–1900) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962).
Alexander von Hoffman, Local Attachments: The Making of an American Urban Neighborhood, 1850 to 1920 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).
Margaret Henderson Floyd, Architectural Education and Boston: Centennial Publication of the Boston Architectural Center, 1889–1989 (Boston: Boston Architectural Center, 1989).
Michael Holleran, Boston's “Changeful Times”: Origins of Preservation and Planning in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).
Boston-area architects and writers took a lead in proselytizing the value of modern domestic architecture; see James Ford and Katherine Morrow Ford, The Modern House in America (New York: Architectural Book Publishing Co., 1940) and Carl Koch, At Home with Tomorrow (New York: Rinehart and Co., 1958).
Ada Louise Huxtable, “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” New York Times, September 28, 1980, D37.
Thomas H. O'Connor, Building a New Boston: Politics and Urban Renewal, 1950 to 1970 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993).
Naomi Miller and Keith N. Morgan, Boston Architecture, 1975–1990 (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 1990).