31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #30

Harrison Gray Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114

Charles Bulfinch, 1795-1796

I was inspired to highlight 31 buildings in Boston in 31 days after the architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture . Not only was I going to highlight 31 buildings, but 31 of Bostonian’s favorite buildings. This is the series.

About the Harrison Gray Otis House:

Designed by Charles Bulfinch for Harrison Gray Otis, a Massachusetts senator and third mayor of Boston, the first Harrison Gray Otis House is one of the finest and grandest Federalist houses in the city. The interior was restored to its original state using computer based paint analysis which revealed bright colors in the Adamesque tradition. The house is owned by Historic New England and is open to the public for viewing.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

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1 Comment

  1. This is truly a fine building for its unusually crisp, moderate form for its Federal period. The stone stringcourses clearly define the floors, the more elaborate Palladian and half-moon windows signify the grand central staircase, and the smaller upper windows denote the lower, less significant spaces, e.g., children’s and servants’ quarters. I must point out that the portico (which was added as part of the 1920s restoration of the building from its decrepit storefront state) was removed in the 1970s because further research indicated the house did not originally have a portico. Of course, Otis insisted on grander, more embellished homes later on — hence his more and more elaborate Second (85 Mt. Vernon St.) and Third (on Beacon Street, now the American Meteorological Society headquarters) houses, but the First is as “modern” as Federal architecture can be for its delineation of interior functions and its relative minimalism.

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