(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)
Though I've lived in Fitchburg for ten years, I'm still developing a map of it in my head. As with many people, I frequent certain roads for most of my travels and typically do not go exploring off my beaten-path while cruising through town. One of the first big houses I remember seeing often is situated on Bluff Avenue near my old high school. It's a purple house with large windows and multiple porches.
|Fig. 1: Purple house on Bluff Avenue (photo courtesy of bostongringo.com)|
I never knew much about it as a high-schooler, other than it was big, purple and very interesting to look at from the road. When I began researching H.M. Francis at the Fitchburg Historical Society, I was eager to discover it was indeed one of his designs.
The house was built for S.W. Huntley sometime around 1877. Huntley was an agent with the Old Colony Railroad.
A very small write-up in the Fitchburg Sentinel in 1883 described Huntley's sale of his home to F.F. Woodward, also of Fitchburg. At the time of purchasing the home on Bluff Avenue, Woodward was a cashier for the Safety Fund National Bank.
|Fig. 2: F.F. Woodward in uniform. (photo courtesy of the Fitchburg Historical Society)|
Frederick F. Woodward, born in 1842, enlisted in Company A of the 53rd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia on August 23rd, 1862 and was mustered out on September 2nd, 1863. According to an 1892 Fitchburg Sentinel article, Woodward spent most of his military term in Louisiana. Woodward was also a prominent businessman selling wholesale grain. He was a member of the Fitchburg Grain Company and also Washburn & Woodward, Flour and Grain which later became F.F. Woodward Grain.
|Fig. 3: F.F. Woodward from Fitchburg Past and Present.|
In addition to his business pursuits, Woodward was also the President of the Fitchburg Historical Society from January 1907 through December of 1909. The 1910 U.S. Census lists Woodward with four daughters and one son. His daughters were named, Stella, Ruth, Margaret and Helen. His son was named Richard.