Charles Brigham House

84 Garfield Street
Watertown, Mass.

Year Built: 1889
Year Demolished: partially destroyed 1938

Although this house was severely damaged during the hurricane of 1938, it is significant as the home of the well-known architect, Charles Brigham who designed it and occupied it. Now painted white, its original use of contrasting brick and rough-cut brownstone for lintels and columns flanking the recessed, arched doorway, is an imaginative approach to the Queen Anne style. The house was built in 1889.

Prior to the damage caused by the hurricane, the original house was a compilation of various styles including Queen Anne, Tudor Revival and Swiss Chalet. The roof was of green slate.

In 1905, Brigham added a full bay (including a basement portion) to the left of the front door. The window that used to be there was relocated to the south wall between the conservatory and porch.

The first floor contains a large central hallway. The front room on the left was a music room and the room in the back was a library. Woodwork in the library consisted of white mahogany and the dining room of red mahogany. The original second floor contained five bedrooms and two bathrooms and the third floor contained three bedrooms. Contemporary articles indicate that the house was constructed of “rare woods.”

Brigham lived here from 1889-1923. The second owner was Albert F. Gilmore, who was the President of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston. Perhaps coincidentally, Brigham designed the Christian Science Mother Church Extension some 15 years before.

Taking advantage of natural springs on the site, Brigham created for himself an English garden landscape, complete with walking paths, pergolas, rare shrubs, perennials and many fruit trees.



References

• They year 1889 is written in the bas relief on the south porch.

• "Charles Brigham," MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects, Adolph Placzek, entry written by Margaret Henderson Floyd, 1982, p. 288-9 (Charles Brigham House, 84 Garfield St., Watertown).

• Property Tax Records, Town of Watertown, 1888, house under construction.

• "Atlas of Middlesex County," George Walker, 1889, house present, Charles Brigham noted.

• Watertown Enterprise, December 15, 1887 (Brigham has commenced construction on his new house on Garfield Street . . . H.W. Macurdy is the builder)

• Watertown Enterprise, November 18, 1885 (Brigham commenced excavating a cellar for his house on Garfield Street)

• Massachusetts Cultural Resources Information System, Massachusetts Historical Commission, Inventory No. WAT.156 (Charles Brigham House, 84 Garfield Street).


Images


October 12, 1919, Boston Sunday Herald, Rotogravure Section, p. 3


2008, living room, detail of bookcase and bay


2008, living room, bay on rear


2008, living room, detail of bay overlooking porch


2008, living room, detail of bay overlooking porch


2008, living room, detail of paneling in rear bay


2008, living room, detail of wainscoting


2008, hall, detail of baseboard


2008, living room, crown molding detail


2008, dining room, courtesy of Laura Rice


2008, dining room, fire place and surround


2008, dining room, fire place and surround


2008, dining room, fire place tile detail


2008, dining room, hearth detail


2008, dining room ceiling


2008, dining room, ceiling and molding detail


2008, dining room, ceiling, molding and door detail


2008, dining room, door to pantry and wainscoting detail


2008, dining room, door and wall trim detail


2008, dining room, door to hall


2008, dining room, wainscoting


2008, hall door knob on door to closet (former stairwell)


2008, conservatory


2008, conservatory ceiling


2008, conservatory, detail of faux stained glass windows


2008, conservatory, detail of bookcase


2008, conservatory, detail of floor


2008, conservatory, detail of floor


2008, conservatory vestibule window detail


2008, conservatory window


2008, conservatory vestibule paneling. Looking to music room


2007


2008, music room/bedroom fireplace and surround


2008, music room/bedroom fireplace and surround


2008, music room/bedroom fireplace and surround


2008, music room/bedroom fireplace tile detail


2008, music room/bedroom hearth


Frieze in music room/bedroom, courtesy of the Watertown Historical Society


2008, music room/bedroom detail of fireplace paneling


2008, music room/bedroom detail of fireplace paneling


2008, music room/bedroom detail of door trim to conservatory


2008, music room/bedroom detail of door trim to hall


2007


2008, music room/bedroom door to hall


2008, music room/bedroom detail of panel below window


2008, music room/bedroom doorknob to hall


2008, side hall panorama, looking to main hall with bathroom on right


2008, side hall panorama looking to mail hall with bathroom on right and stairs to basement on left


2008, back bedroom/office, stained glass window detail


2008, back bedroom/office, stained glass window and seat


2008, back bedroom/office, window seat detail


2008, back bedroom/office


2008, back bedroom/office


2007


2008, back bedroom/office, door knob to hall


2008, back bedroom/office, door molding on door to porch


2008, back bedroom/office, door to hall


2008, kitchen, looking toward side hall


2008, kitchen, looking toward side hall


2008, kitchen, looking toward Garfield Street


2008, kitchen, looking toward Garfield Street


2008, kitchen, looking toward driveway


2008, pantry, windows looking toward Garfield Street


2008, pantry


ca. 1895, Brigham is on foot talking with Thomas Gavin in front of Brigham. After this picture was taken, the rounded bay was removed and a conservatory was added and a three-sided bay was added directly behind Gavin.


2008, pantry, door looking into dining room


2008, pantry


2008, pantry, door looking into kitchen


2008, pantry, door molding


Floorplan


1898 O.H. Bailey Bird


ca,1890, courtesy of the Watertown Free Public Library


2008, rear


2008, rear


2008, rear, detail of bay


2008, detail of driveway side (north facade), courtesy of Laura Rice


2008, detail of roof molding on north facade


2008, detail of porch and pediment


2008, detail of porch


2008, detail of porch


2008, detail of porch


2008, detail of porch. The stucco and half-timbering is only remining such materials that once existed on the upper stories.


2008, porch, detail of bay


2008, exterior, detail of bay window off living room


2008, exterior, detail of bay window off living room


2008, detail of door from porch to back bedroom


2008, garage detail


2008, detail of front door


2008, detail of front door handle


2008, detail of front door knocker


2008, detail of brownstone entryway


2008, detail of brownstone entryway


2008, detail of brownstone sill


2008, detail of porch and conservatory


2008, detail of conservatory


2008, detail of conservatory


2008, interior view of front door


2008, doorknob of front door


2008, entry vestibule door molding


2008, entry vestibule wainscoting


2008, entry vestibule ceiling


2008, hall looking toward dining room and entry vestibule


2008, hall looking toward mirror and living room


2008, hall looking toward music room, mirror and living room


2008, hall looking toward back bedroom/office, side hallway and closet (former stairwell)


2008, hall mirror, surround and wainscoting detail


2008 hall mirror detail


2008, hall mirror, surround and molding detail


2008, hall mirror, surround and molding detail. Looking toward living room.


2008, hall looking down side hall to driveway


2008, hall, detail of molding over door to dining room


2008, hall, detail of molding on door to back bedroom/office


2008, door from hall to side hall


2008, detail of doorknob on door from hall to side hall


2008, door from hall to closet (former stairwell)


2008, living room fire place and bookcases


2008, living room bay window with stained glass


2008, living room bay overlooking porch


2008, living room detail of left bookcase


2008, living room detail of right bookcase


2008, living room, detail of mirror over fireplace


2008, living room, detail of fireplace surround


2008, living room, detail of hearth

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