Henry Fuller Cottages

23-25 Pearl Street
Newton, Mass.

Year Built: 1867 and 1868

Charles Brigham designed cottages for Henry Fuller in 1867 and it appears from the property tax records that that the first one was built in 1867 and the second in 1868.

The commission grossed Sturgis & Brigham $40.00, which means that it cost about $800 to construct. The firm strongly believed that architects should receive a commission of 5% for their work. In the burgeoning field of architecture, commissions to architects were uncommon and/or low. Sturgis and Brigham and other architects formed trade groups to ensure that architects were properly paid for their work.

Brigham designed this house in a simple vernacular because the cost parameters of the house were so limited, although it is unclear if some of the higher-styled architectural elements present are original.

At the time this cottage was being built, Brigham speculated about the development potential of Newton. He believed that Newton was “a thriving place and would be a profitable field” and explicitly wrote “that I want to get a foothold this year in Newton.”

He had several small projects in Newton, including a cottage for Stephen Holmes and he and Sturgis felt strongly that these small projects were “pot boilers” for later larger ones that would yield greater profit. Both Sturgis and Brigham intentionally devoted as much attention to the design, superintendence and client management of these smaller jobs as to the larger ones so as to generate future business.


• Letters from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, 8/25/1867 and 9/30/1868, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library

• Letter from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, April 20, 1868, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library (wants a foothold in Newton).

• Letters from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, April 20, 1869, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library (smaller jobs are pot boilers for future larger ones).

• Tax records, City of Newton. 1866-1870.






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