Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trip to Historic N.E.

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

On Wednesday, I took a field trip to Historic New England, specifically the Otis House on Cambridge Street in Boston.
The house was designed by Charles Bulfinch and was situated in one of Boston's early elite neighborhoods.

The purpose of my visit was to view their collection of H.M. Francis drawings and add them to the inventory of known structures he designed.

Some of the highlights included:

A design for Monadnock National Bank in East Jaffrey, New Hampshire
A design for the Baxter-Whitney Mill in Winchendon, Massachusetts (see image below)
A design for a bank on Miller's River, possibly in Miller's Falls, Massachusetts
A design for a commercial block in Somerville, Massachusetts

A student drawing by Francis as well as a design for a house for Charles Harding made it into the Historic New England book, Drawing Toward Home which was published in 2010.

It was a real treat to talk to the curatorial staff at Historic New England and share in their curiosity for Francis drawings. Although Francis is often thought of as a Fitchburg-centered architect (which is true) it's beneficial and important to understand that his body of work extended past the Nashua River and into other communities.

Fig. 1: Drawing of the Baxter-Whitney Mill in Winchendon, MA. Image from the American Architect and Building News magazine.

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