Prescott House Boston Reviews
Prescott House - Federal Style on Boston Common Jul 14, 2012
Never one to pass up a historic house tour, I recently visited the Prescott House overlooking Boston Common. Although the house was originally built in 1808 for James Smith Colburn, a Boston merchant, it’s named for William Hickling Prescott who lived there from 1845-1859.
Prescott was a prominent 19th-century historian who wrote extensively on the Spanish Empire. His books were some of the best sellers of the time and, although his name is perhaps not as well-known today, back then he was just as popular a figure as his contemporary Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Interesting facts about Prescott:
• He was almost blind having lost vision in one eye due to an infection suffered after being hit with a biscuit while at Harvard. A second infection took the sight in his other eye.
• He is a direct descendant of the revolutionary American officer William Prescott – he of the “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” fame.
Prescott House is a 5-1/2 story brick townhouse in the Federal style with an unusual bow-front/round room. It was designed by American architect Asher Benjamin. The house includes several large windows and multiple doors to the same room – a sign of wealth at the time as those items were often subjected to an extra tax. While few original items remain, the furnishings are largely from the appropriate time period.
The tour covers 3 of the floors – those that were used primarily for entertaining as well as 1 bedroom and Prescott’s study. Tours are given as requested with the last tour starting no later than 3:30PM and are $7 per person.
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