Devereux-Hoffman House, Salem, Massachusetts

The house at 26 Chestnut Street in Salem, probably around 1906-1910. Image courtesy of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Frank Cousins Glass Plate Negatives Collection.

The house in 2023:

These two photos show one of the many historic early 19th century homes that line Chestnut Street in Salem. The street was laid out in 1796, and over the next few decades it was developed with large Federal-style homes for the merchants and other wealthy Salem residents. This particular house was built around 1826-1827 as the home of Humphrey and Eliza Devereux. The architect of the house is unknown, but its design is consistent with the other homes of this period on Chestnut Street, which were heavily influenced by the designs of Samuel McIntire.

Humphrey Devereux was a merchant and ship owner, and early in his career he spent time at sea, including making voyages to Europe and the East Indies. During the War of 1812, his ship was captured by the British, and he spent time as a prisoner in Bermuda. He later retired from life at sea, and instead focused on running his mercantile business from Salem.

He married his wife Eliza Dodge in 1809, and they had two children. Their son, George Humphrey Devereux, was born in 1809, and their daughter Mary Ann Cabot Devereux was born in 1812. They moved into this house around 1827, but Eliza died soon after, in 1828. Humphrey continued to live here for at least another decade, but by the 1840s he was living a few houses down the street from here, at 34 Chestnut Street.

This house was subsequently owned by another merchant, Charles Hoffman. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, he later immigrated to America, where he became one of Salem’s leading merchants in the West African trade during the mid-19th century, and he imported goods such as hides, palm oil, and nuts. He moved into this house a few years after his 1840 marriage to his second wife, Eliza King.

Charles and Eliza did not have any children, and the census records from the late 19th century show that they lived here alone except for two live-in servants. Aside from his business interests, Charles was also an amateur horticulturalist, and his house was well known for its well-maintained gardens and its greenhouses in the back of the house. He lived here until his death in 1878, but Eliza continued to live here into the early 20th century. The 1900 census shows here living here with her sister Harriet and three servants.

Eliza died in 1905, and the house was subsequently sold to Dr. James E. Simpson. He made some alterations to the house, and converted part of it into offices for his medical practice. This included adding a second entryway on the right side of the house, which served as the entrance to his offices. The top photo was taken within a few years after this work was completed.

The 1910 census shows James Simpson living here with his wife Gertrude, her mother Mary Ropes, and two servants. By 1920, the Simpsons had three servants, and the household also included James’s aunt Fannie. James lived here until his death in 1935, and Gertrude died five years later.

Overall, the house has seen few exterior changes since the top photo was taken. Its ivy-covered brick walls are still easily recognizable from the top photo, and the house stands as one of the many well-preserved Federal-style homes in this part of Salem. Along with the other houses in this area, it is now part of the Chestnut Street District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Martindale Farm, Ware, Massachusetts

The Martindale Farm in Ware (formerly Enfield), Massachusetts, on April 6, 1946. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission, Quabbin Reservoir, Photographs of Real Estate Takings collection.

The scene in 2024:

This house, located on Webster Road in the town of Enfield, Massachusetts was built around the year 1800 by Jesse Fobes. Jesse moved to Webster Road in 1796 from Bridgewater, MA into a smaller house just north of this property. Once this home was completed, he would move his family to the much larger farm house. When Enfield became an incorporated town in 1816, Jesse would serve as one of its first Selectmen. Ownership of the farm would be passed onto Jesse’s son, Henry Fobes. Much like his father, Henry would also become a Selectmen of the town. Henry would hold onto ownership of the farm until selling it to Joel and William Martindale in 1870 for $8,000. Included in the sale of the farm was a provision that the Martindale’s would have to house and feed Henry until his death. Considering Henry lived another 15 years until dying at the age of 92 in 1885, it seems like Henry got the better end of the deal.

By the 1880s, the farm had a considerable amount of outbuildings. On the 182 acre property were a large carriage shed, garage, hen house, brooder house, three barns, and an assortment of other smaller chicken coops. Joel Martindale would officially call the farm Maple Terrace, in reference to the three terraces that lead up to the front of the house. A sketch of the farm house with its terraces and some outbuildings was even included in the 1879 book History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. Maple Terrace had become something of a local landmark by this point.

The farm would pass into the hands of Joel’s grandson, Emory Bartlett in 1917. He would drop the Maple Terrace name, and officially incorporate the farm as Martindale Farms Inc. But the glory days of the farm were farm behind at this point. Only a few years later, Emory would sell the farm to Harry Ryther in 1925 as payment for a large debt.

Because of its proximity to the Quabbin Reservoir watershed, the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission purchased the house and the 182 acres it sat on from Harry Ryther in 1934 for the sum of $11,900. Two Martindale sisters were still living in the farm house when the Water Supply Commission purchased the property.

Martha and Mary Martindale were daughters of Joel Martindale, and both had lived in the house almost their entire lives. This led to debate as to whether or not the home should be torn down. The home appears to be right on the line of the watershed, so some thought the house should stay up and be used as employee housing. Others believed the home was still too close to the reservoir, and should be torn down immediately. An agreement was reached with the Water Supply Commission that allowed the Martindale sisters to live in the home until they either died or moved away. During that time, the home would also be used by Quabbin employees.

Mary Martindale would die in 1952 at the age of 77. Her sister, Martha would decide to move out of the large home into a smaller apartment in Springfield in 1955 so she could be closer to her remaining friends and family. Martha Martindale would be the last private resident to live inside the boundaries of the Quabbin Reservoir land. The home was torn down shortly after, and the landscape allowed to go wild. Building materials from the home were reported as being reused in a future home in the area.

The before photo was taken in 1946, much later than many of the Water Supply Commissions photos of old Quabbin homes. At this point, the reservoir was already fully flooded and the home was now located in the town of Ware, following the disincorporation of Enfield in 1938. Today, the terraces to the home are still clearly visible when you visit the farm. The home’s cellar hole is completely filled in, and much of the yard is overgrown with brambles and vines. The foundations for the outbuildings are easily found out of frame to the right of the photo. Walking down the old driveway leads to the foundations of the barns, as well as some stone walls. The tree to the left of the house in the before photo is almost certainly the same tree on the far left of the current photo. Other old trees can be seen today that would have been very young at the time the home was sold to the Water Supply Commission.

The Martindale Farm is one of the best and most easily accessible spots in Quabbin for history lovers. Located near the end of Webster Road through Gate 53, the old farm is located in a large clearing on the west side of the road. In the summertime, Quabbin rangers will sometimes do history programs at this location and go into greater detail on who the people were that owned this farm.

Henry Hunt House, Enfield, Massachusetts

The Henry Hunt House on Webster Road in Enfield, Massachusetts, on October 31, 1928. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission, Quabbin Reservoir, Photographs of Real Estate Takings.

The scene in 2024, in the modern-day town of Ware:

This house, located on Webster Road in the town of Enfield, Massachusetts was the home of Henry H. and Harriet R. Hunt. Based on its architecture, it appears to have been constructed sometime around the late 18th or early 19th centuryies. The Hunts purchased the house from Eugene Tuttle in 1902, and the 35-acre property included the 1 ½ story Cape and a shed, as shown in the top photo. The barn and garage for the farm were located across the street from his home on a separate 38-acre lot.

The home’s location inside what would become the Quabbin Reservoir watershed was soon to be problematic. Hunt farmed the property until selling it to the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission in May of 1938. He would receive $5,130 for the sale of both of his properties. The home and outbuildings were torn down soon after, and cellar holes filled in. Although the home was well above the reservoir’s waterline, it was deemed necessary to tear down because the home and outbuildings were located inside the reservoir’s watershed.

The first photo was taken on October 31, 1928. The garage and barn would have been located just outside the photo on the left. The site today looks much different. Hunt’s backyard fields have been filled in with trees, and the stonewall has collapsed in sections. The home’s foundation and filled in cellar hole is barely visible below the large fallen tree in the center of the photo. Foundations for the garage and barn can still be seen across the street underneath heavy brush.

Quincy Mansion, Quincy, Massachusetts (2)

The Quincy Mansion, sometime around the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Image courtesy of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

The same scene in 2023:

As explained in more detail in the previous post, the house in the top photo was built in 1848 as the summer home of Josiah Quincy IV, who was at the time serving as mayor of Boston. Quincy died in 1882, and the house was subsequently converted into educational use. In 1896, Dr. Horace Mann Willard opened the Quincy Mansion School here in the house. This was a prestigious boarding school for girls, and he served as principal until his death in 1907. His wife Ruth then continued to run the school until 1919, when she closed it in the midst of declining health.

The property was then sold to Eastern Nazarene College, which relocated here from Rhode Island in 1919. The college used the old house as a dormitory and for classroom space, but the house was ultimately demolished in 1969 to make way for Angell Hall, a modern classroom building. This building is still standing here on the Eastern Nazarene campus, as shown in the second photo.

Quincy Mansion, Quincy, Massachusetts

The Quincy Mansion on East Elm Avenue in Quincy, in 1916. Image courtesy of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

The same scene in 2023:

The house on the right side of the top photo was known as the Quincy Mansion, and it stood on the modern-day campus of Eastern Nazarene College in the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy. This area was the home of many different members of the prominent Quincy family, including Josiah Quincy I (1710-1784), whose house still stands a few blocks away from here. He was the first in a long line of Josiah Quincys, which included his grandson Josiah Quincy III (1772-1864), who served as mayor of Boston in the 1820s, and his great grandson Josiah Quincy IV (1802-1882), who likewise served as mayor.

It was this fourth Josiah Quincy who owned the house that is shown in the top photo. Like his father, he was a politician, and he held several different state and local offices. Aside from his time as mayor from 1845 to 1849, he was also the president of the Boston Common Council for many years, and also served in the state legislature. His main residence was in Boston, but in 1848 he built this home adjacent to the family homestead here in Quincy, for use as his summer residence.

Quincy died in 1882, and the house was eventually purchased by Dr. Horace Mann Willard, an educator who opened the Quincy Mansion School her in the house in 1896. It was a boarding school for girls, and he served as its principal until his death in 1907. His wife Ruth continued to run the school for more than a decade, until her own failing health forced her to close it in 1919.

The property was then purchased by Eastern Nazarene College, which relocated from Rhode Island to Quincy in 1919. The old house was used for classroom and dormitory space, but over the years the campus expanded with new buildings around it. The house was ultimately demolished in 1969, and it was replaced by Angell Hall, a classroom building that is partially visible beyond the trees on the right side of the second photo. It is located on roughly the same footprint as the old house, and it was deliberately designed to be similar in size and shape to the old Quincy Mansion.

Josiah Quincy House, Quincy, Massachusetts

The Josiah Quincy House on Muirhead Street in Quincy, around 1880. Image courtesy of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

The house in 2023:

These two photos show the former home of Josiah Quincy I, a member of the prominent Quincy family. The house is located in the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy, and it was once part of a large estate that had been owned by family patriarch Edmund Quincy (1602-1636). His great grandson, Josiah Quincy (1710-1784), eventually inherited 100 acres of this land, and in 1770 he built this home on the property.

Josiah Quincy was a prosperous merchant, and the elaborate design of his house reflected his wealth. It is an excellent example of Georgian architecture, with distinctive exterior features such as the balustrades on the roof and the classically-inspired front portico. However, the most significant design element is the monitor roof. This is the earliest known example of such a roof in colonial America, and it is one of a relatively small number of homes that had this particular style of roof during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Quincy family was prominent and well-connected politically in the years leading up to the American Revolution, and some of the family members married prominent patriot leaders. Among them was Josiah’s niece Dorothy Quincy, who married John Hancock in 1775; and Josiah’s first cousin twice removed Abigail Smith, who married John Adams. Josiah Quincy himself was also active in the patriot cause, including observing British fleet movements from the attic windows of his house. His son, Josiah Quincy Jr., was a prominent leader of the Sons of Liberty, but he died of tuberculosis in 1775, just a week after the start of the American Revolution.

If not for his untimely death, Josiah Quincy Jr. would have inherited this house. Instead, his son Josiah Quincy III (1772-1864) eventually inherited it in 1784, when the eldest Josiah died.  Josiah Quincy III would go on to become probably the most famous of the many residents of this house who bore that name. He was a prominent politician, including serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1805 to 1813 and as mayor of Boston from 1823 to 1829. His tenure as mayor is perhaps best remembered for his role in constructing a large public market, which was named in his honor. He later went on to become president of Harvard, serving from 1829 to 1845.

Josiah Quincy III died in 1864, and he left this house to his three unmarried daughters: Eliza (1798-1884), Abigail (1803-1893), and Sophia (1805-1886). The top photo was taken around 1880, when these three sisters were still living here. Eliza Quincy played a particularly important role in preserving the house and documenting its history during her time here, and it was in part because of her efforts that the house became widely known as an architectural and historical landmark.

After the death of Abigail Quincy in 1893, her nephew Josiah Quincy V inherited the house. By this point, the home that had been a quiet country estate a century earlier was in the midst of a rapidly-developing suburb of Boston. So, in 1895 he sold off most of the surrounding land, which was then subdivided into new streets and house lots. He also sold the old house itself to Frank and Lucy Hall, who lived here until their deaths in 1913 and 1911, respectively.

In 1937, the Hall family sold the house back to the Quincy descendants, who in turn donated it to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Now known as Historic New England, the organization continues to preserve the house as a museum, and it is open periodically for public tours. As shown in the second photo, the house has seen few changes since the first photo was taken, and it stands as an excellent example of Georgian architecture in New England. Because of its architectural and historical significance, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.