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New Meetup: House Moving in New England, Turn of the 20th Century techniques @ Otis House

From: T.J. M.
Sent on: Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:19 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Nerd Fun - Boston!

What: House Moving in New England, Turn of the 20th Century techniques @ Otis House

When: Tuesday, June 15,[masked]:00 PM

Otis House Museum
141 Cambridge St
Boston, MA 02129
(617)[masked] ext. 256

House Moving in New England
Tuesday, June 15 6:00p to 7:00p
at Otis House Museum, Boston, MA

"In June of 1925, the Otis House was moved 40 feet to preserve the building during the widening of Cambridge St. Eighty-five years later, Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, examines the history of house moving in New England. Moving a house was often more cost effective than building a new one, , although today, preservationists choose to move houses only as a last resort. Learn about this unique aspect of architectural history and the techniques involved in moving houses.

" Registration is recommended. Please call[masked] for additional information.

"Price: $10

... This is the Otis House on 141 Cambridge St., Boston, MA. There are MANY Otis Houses in and around Boston.

Where to Meet:

T.J. Maher will be in front of wherever the main entrance is by 5:30 pm. We can grab seats for the lecture by 5:40 pm. T.J. is 5 foot 7, wish short brown hair, blue eyes, a "Hello My Name is T.J." nametag, and a red MEETUP sign attached to his black messenger bag.

About the Otis House, from Historic New England:

"The Otis House is the last surviving mansion in what was Boston?s most elite eighteenth-century neighborhood. Charles Bulfinch designed the house for Harrison Gray Otis. Otis was a lawyer who made a fortune developing nearby Beacon Hill, served in Congress, and was a mayor of Boston.

"The Otis House is the first of three houses Bulfinch designed for Harrison Gray Otis and his wife Sally Foster Otis. The house?s design reflects the classical proportions and delicate detail of the Federal style".

About Harrison Gray Otis, Charles Bullfinch, and Bowdoin Square:

"Harrison Gray Otis [masked]), a wealthy young lawyer who grew up during the American Revolution, built the Otis house in 1796. Otis was only thirty years old when he hired his friend, architect Charles Bulfinch, to design this elegant townhouse for himself, his wife Sally Foster Otis [masked]), and their four young children. Otis was elected to the United States House of Representatives when the family was living here. He went on to become a United States Senator in 1817, and then the third mayor of Boston in 1829. Mrs. Otis was a popular hostess: she, like her husband, loved city life and enjoyed entertaining their many friends and political acquaintances.

"As a prominent citizen of Boston, Otis wanted to live in the most stylish neighborhood. In 1796, Bowdoin Square was a very respectable address. Surrounded by quiet hills and the Charles River, it was a peaceful, almost rural alternative to busy downtown Boston, but the commercial growth of the area happened quickly. Only four years after the Otises built their first house, they decided to move to Beacon Hill, which was fast becoming a very elegant place to live. Otis had a special interest in Beacon Hill. He was one of the ?Mount Vernon Proprietors,? a group of real estate developers who owned the south slope of Beacon Hill, where the Massachusetts State House was located, and successfully transformed it from undeveloped pasture land into the grandest residential area in Boston. The Otises chose Bulfinch as the architect for their second house as well. The Otis family spent only five years in this house on Mount Vernon Street before having Bulfinch design them a third and final house. This one, on Beacon Street just down the hill from the State House, had a full view of the Boston Common and was two and a half times larger than the first Otis House.

"Charles Bulfinch [masked]) was one of the most important architects working in post-Revolutionary Boston. In addition to the three houses he designed for the Otis family, Bulfinch designed many houses, schools, and public buildings in New England, including the new Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill. Later, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work on the design of the Capitol building.

"Bulfinch?s design of the Otis House shows typical characteristics of the Federal style, including a heavy emphasis on symmetry, classical window shapes like fanlight windows, and the very fashionable Palladian windows on the second floor. The Otis House is an excellent example of a high-style home in the Federal era. Most houses built in Boston at this time were not nearly as large and grand as the Otis House".


"The Otis House is at the foot of Beacon Hill, next to the Old West Church. The entrance is on Lynde Street.

"Parking: There is limited street parking. Nearby parking lots include Charles River Plaza, Boston Common Garage, and Government Center Garage.

"Public transportation: Short walk from MBTA stations: Charles Street/MGH, Bowdoin Square (closed weekends), Government Center, and North Station".

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