One might expect to find a large variety style of homes in any neighborhood in a New England town. After all the area was settled in the 1600s. At one time Christian Hill had a couple of early federal style homes. The land that was bought to develop this neighborhood was Elijah Bullard and Moses Guild’s farms. Bullard’s house was moved to another part of the village, but was torn down in the early 1900s. Moses Guild’s house was located near where the First Church of Norwood is today. That house was razed a long time ago. With a clean slate, Joseph Day, Joel Baker, Lyman Smith and George Talbot were able to build a neighborhood with out any obstacles.
Small Greek Revival style cottages were the first homes built on Nahatan, Vernon and Cottage Streets in the late 1840s. Larger style mansions were built in the early 1850s on (today’s) Washington Street, by some of South Dedham’s industrialists, some having Greek Revival elements. There is nothing “cookie-cutter” about this neighborhood. Each house built here is unique and reflects the popular house style of the day, even the in-fill homes built in the early to middle parts of the 20th Century reflect what was popular for house style at the time of its construction. Today, people want their homes to have the most popular design and up-to-date features – it was the same, for those who built their homes here in the Christian Hill neighborhood.
The existing housing stock in the Christian Hill neighborhood primarily dates between 1850 and 1950 with those of most significance falling between 1850 and 1920. During this seventy-year period we see the influence of several architectural and building styles. The earliest are the “romantic” styles: Greek Revival and Italianate. These are followed by the “Victorian” styles: Second Empire, Stick Style, and Queen Anne. And wrapping up with the “revival” styles: Colonial Revival.
Romantic House Styles:
Prevalent from 1820 to 1880. At a time when the United States was seeking define itself as distinctly not British, they turned to ancient cultures. It is not surprising that the young nation would draw inspiration for the ancient democracy of Greece and that, in turn, the Greek Revival style would be applied across building types. A few short decades later the Italianate style would emerge influenced by Renaissance Italian farmhouses.
Victorian House Styles:
Prevalent from 1860 to 1900. Developments in balloon framing and industrialization led to more complex house forms in the Victorian era. Pattern books became increasingly popular and the first architectural program in the United States was formed at MIT. Victorian styles more often adapted or drew inspiration from historic precedent, encouraging innovation in the midst of new information, knowledge, and materials. As such, the lines between the various Victorian styles are often blurred.
Prevalent from 1890 to 1955. This vastly popular is one of the “revival” styles which became popular at the turn of the century. These styles emphasized academic replication of historical styles, most often European in origin.
James A. Hartshorn house circa 1990 (Source: MACRIS database.) This house Italianate style with stick style elements was built by merchant, James A. Hartshorn around…
The Joseph Day house, circa 1990 (Source: MACRIS database) Joseph Day had Tyler Thayer build this Italianate style house in 1855 for him and his…