Artemas B. Rogers House

87 Whites Avenue
Watertown, Mass.

Year Built: 1867

Charles Brigham designed a house for Artemas B. Rogers in 1867 and the house was constructed in 1868. The front door overhand retains some architectural integrity. The roof was originally slate.

The commission grossed Sturgis & Brigham $237.50, which means that it cost about $4,700 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.

Artemas Rogers was born in 1817 in Newton and came to Watertown with his family as a boy. He was educated in the old brick schoolhouse on Mt Auburn St. (where St. John’s parking lot is now). Hs father and brother were jewelers but Artemas went into the dry goods business. He specialized in ready-made clothing and his business eventually occupied the whole of the Dana Block of shops on Main St.

Rogers also served as Fire Chief for twenty years “in the days of the hand tubs” − hand pumped tubs that is, that supplied water for the hoses. After retiring from the department he still enjoyed attending the firemen’s musters and kept a large book chronicling local fires.

After the Civil War he closed his clothing business and commuted to Boston where he worked for 23 years as a salesman for Leopold Morse & Co. until the day before his death at the age of 94 in 1911. At that time he was known as “the oldest clothing salesman in the City of Boston.” Yet, according to his obituary, “his appearance and walk were those of a man of 60. . . . active and full of life.”

Married twice and twice widowed, Rogers was survived by a daughter and two sons.


• Letters from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, 11/26/1867, 9/30/1868, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library.

• Watertown Property Tax Records, 1867, 1868 and 1869, Artemas B. Rogers noted.

• Marilynne Roach, biography of Artemas B. Rogers.





2011, Originial Overhang

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