Happy Friday readers, it’s time again for another Friday Fantasy home. This week’s house is a bit of a bonus because it’s three houses in one. What could I mean by this? Well, today’s house is the First Harrison Gray Otis house. “First?”, you might ask. “How many Harrison Gray Otis houses are there?” Well, my friends, the answer to that is three! There are three Harrison Gray Otis houses (Ah, ha,ha ha), all designed for prominent Boston Mayor, Harrison Gray Otis, by his good friend Charles Bulfinch. While today’s house is (technically) the First Harrison Gray Otis house (now owned by Historic New England, though they’ll always be SPNEA (Society for the Protection of New England Antiquities) to me), I’m throwing in a couple bits of information and pictures of the other two Harrison Gray Otis houses because, quite frankly, the Second Harrison Gray Otis house is actually my favorite. Of course, I’m more able to provide you with links and visiting information on the First Harrison Gray Otis house, since the other two houses are privately-owned. I’ll discuss the First house, just in case you find yourself in Boston and want to take a house tour (which is what Ash and I do when we travel…. so if you are as nerdy as we are, you’ll appreciate this).
Wow, that was a long intro… okay, on with the blurb and pictures. The First Harrison Gray Otis House is located on Cambridge Street in Boston right next to Old West Church. It was designed by the first great American-born architect (in the opinion of many historians), Charles Bulfinch. Constructed in 1796, it is perhaps most known for its third-story lunette.
Historic New England moved the house in the 1920’s when Cambridge Street was widened. It is now connected to several brick row houses, and HNE has some office space there. The first Harrison Gray Otis house is open year-round for tours, every day except Monday and Tuesday. For more information, see Historic New England’s Website on the house here.
The Second Harrison Gray Otis house (again, my favorite) was built between 1800 and 1802. It is a grander home, situated in the elite and notoriously unnavigable Beacon Hill area of Boston, sited at 85 Mount Vernon street, to be exact. It is said to be the only free standing, single-family home still found on the hill. So, if you happen to be driving around Beacon Hill (I don’t recommended it, walking is so much easier) you should take a look at it.
Finally, the 3rd Harrison Gray Otis House is located at 45 Beacon Street and is now the home of the American Meteorological Society. It is the largest of the 3 houses and the last one that Harrison Gray Otis lived in. It is close to the Boston Common.