Dorchester Atheneum
Saturday, September 21, 2019
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Huebener Brick no. 14, Governor Gardner Mansion, Hancock Street
Governor Gardner Mansion Huebener Brick 14
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 The Greek Revival mansion, home to Governor Gardner, was located on Hancock Street opposite what is now Trull Street.

The Edward A. Huebener collection of over 100 bricks originally collected by Mr. Huebener exhibits brick paintings of the houses from which the bricks came. The bricks have upon them painted scenes of (mostly) old Dorchester houses and landmarks. To see a list of all the bricks, choose the term Architecture in the list at the left of the screen and choose the first subsection -- the Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection and scroll to the bottom of that page to see icons for all the bricks.

Governor Henry Joseph Gardner
Map Detail Gov. Gardner House 1858
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 Gardner?s biographical information comes from the Dictionary of American Biography.

Henry Joseph Gardner (1818-1892), governor of Massachusetts, was born in Dorchester, Mass., the son of Dr. Henry and Clarissa (Holbrook) Gardner. He was a descendant of Richard Gardner, a resident of Woburn, Mass., in 1642, and a grandson of Henry Gardner (1730-1782), the first treasurer and receiver of Massachusetts and a member of the Provincial Congress. Graduating at the Phillips Exeter Academy in 1831, Gardner entered Bowdoin College, but did not remain to secure a degree, preferring to go into business. Starting in the dry-goods firm of Denney, Rice & Gardner, in Boston, he ultimately became the controlling force in the corporation, the name of which was chanted to Henry J. Gardner & Company. He retired from this occupation in 1876 and during the remainder of his life was resident agent of the Massachusetts Life Insurance Company.

Biography, continued
J.W. Trull, Gov. Henry Gardner House
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 In 1850 he entered municipal politics as a member of the Boston Common Council, of which he was president in 1852 and 1853. He was a representative in the General Court, 1851-52, and a delegate to the Massachusetts constitutional convention of 1853. With the sudden rise of the American, or Know-Nothing, party in Massachusetts, Gardner, who had hitherto been a Whig and an anti-slavery man, rapidly became prominent in its councils. Although it held no public meetings and kept out of the newspapers, this party, based on a fear of Roman Catholic domination and of foreign influence in the United States, attracted large numbers of citizens into its ranks. Gardner, who was an astute politician and a shrewd judge of men and motives, organized ?with great skill and success the knave-power and the donkey-power of the Commonwealth? (G.F. Hoar, Autobiography of Seventy Years, 1903, I, 189-91). In the autumn of 1854, he was the Know-Nothing candidate for governor, receiving 81,000 votes to 26,000 for the Whigs and 13,000 for the Democrats. In the same campaign, his party elected all but two members of the legislature and every member of Congress from Masschusetts--the most amazing political landslide in the history of the state. In 1855, running against Julius Rockwell, the Republican nominee, Gardner was again successful; and in 1856, when his candidacy was endorsed by the Republicans, he won a third victory. He was finally defeated in 1857 by Nathaniel P. Banks, a Republican, the Know-Nothing movement having run its course.

Contrary to the expectations of his enemies, Gardner was a rather conservative governor. During his three terms in office, he did little that was sensational, although he fulfilled pledges by having a ?reading and writing clause? inserted in the Naturalization Act, by reforming the election laws, and by supporting alien pauper and homestead acts. He disapproved of the Personal Liberty Bill in 1855, but it was passed by the legislature over his veto. After his defeat, he was never again a factor in Massachusetts affairs, and at the time of his death he had been forgotten by all except a few historians. Gardner was married, on Nov. 231, 1843, to Helen Elizabeth Cobb, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Wood) Cobb, of Portland, Me., by whom he had four sons and three daughters. He died of cancer at his home in Milton, Mass.

Location of property on Hancock Street
Map Detail Gov. Gardner mansion 1874
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 Detail from 1874 Hopkins atlas. The S. Parkman Dexter property on Hancock Street is the Gardner property. In his early years Gov. Gardner lived at his father?s, Dr. Henry Gardiner?s, home at the southwestern corner of the intersection of Pleasant Street and Savin Hill Avenue (now Sawyer west of Pleasant Street), which can be see at the upper right of the map.

Related Images: showing 8 of 23 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 23 images.
Dorchester Awning Co.Niles Gardner HouseDr. Gardiner HouseMap Detail Gov. Gardner mansion 1874
Hancock Street with the Eaton HouseRichard Davenport HousePlaque on World War I Monument Kane SquareLongest Wooden Stairway in Boston from Hancock Street to the top of Jones Hill
Do you know something about this topic? Do you have other pictures or items or knowledge to share? What about a personal story? Are you a collector? Do you have questions? Contact us here.
Created: May 24, 2008   Modified: April 14, 2011