The Hewes House on Washington Street across from Milk Street, around 1860. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.
The scene in 2014:
This area sustained some damage during the Great Boston Fire of 1872, but the Hewes House, seen in the first photo, was gone before then. According to the Bostonian Society in a 1902 book, the house was constructed in 1656 and demolished in 1870. If accurate, the 1656 date would put its construction within 26 years of the founding of Boston, making it several decades older than downtown Boston’s current oldest building, the Paul Revere House. It was also 73 years older than its neighbor across the street, Old South Meeting House. Evidently, the house was named after Shubael Hewes, an 18th century Bostonian who lived here for many years. At the time, this section of Washington Street was known as Marlboro Street; the street long predates George Washington, so it wasn’t until 1788 that it was renamed.