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Huebener Brick no. 20, Swan House, Dudley Street
Huebener Brick no. 20, Swan House
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 The house was built about 1796 as a summer home for James and Hepzibah Swan following a design ascribed to Charles Bulfinch.



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.



Location on Dudley Street
Detail 1874 map Swan House
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The Swan House was located on Dudley Street at the corner of Howard across from the Morton-Taylor House.


The House
Swan House
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 A balustrade, as shown on the wings, originally encircled the top as well. The center of the house was round and contained only one room, the colonial dining hall. The dining hall was thirty-two feet in diameter, two stories high, with a huge dome-shaped ceiling. A design that Bulfinch made popular was the one with a projecting saloon, most commonly of oval or circular form. Among the houses he designed was the Swan House in Dorchester with the projecting saloon in the center of the garden front. General Lafayette, General Henry Knox and many other Revolutionary war heroes were entertained here.

Colonel James Swan and Hepzibah Swan
Swan House elevation
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 Colonel James Swan was a native of Scotland, who came to Boston in his boyhood. He was one of the Tea Party in 1773 and fought at Bunker Hill. He was Secretary of War for Massachusetts in 1777 and afterward adjutant-general of the state. Hepzibah Swan was one of the Mt. Vernon Proprietors, a group that developed part of Beacon Hill in Boston.

Swan, continued
Swan House elevation
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 In the late 1780s, oppressed with heavy debts, Colonel Swan went to Paris with letters of introduction to Lafayette and other prominent men and eventually worked his way into a partnership in the firm of Dallarde, Swan et Compagnie, one of the firms that furnished supplies to the new French government after the French Revolution. When a business partner filed suit against him in 1808, Swan chose to go to a high-class debtor?s prison at St. Pelagie instead of settling the claim. He stayed there for 22 years and died in 1831, just one year after his release. Hepzibah had lived in the house in Dorchester until her death in 1825.

Furniture collection
Swan House
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 A collection of 18th century French furniture that had been owned by Thierry de Ville d?Avray, the general administrator of the crown furniture for Louis XVI, was purchased by the Swans after the monarchy was abolished, and this collection was passed down to Swan heirs. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has acquired the pieces and restored them.

Another photograph
Swan House Rear
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 Photograph of the back of the house published in Some Old Dorchester Houses / By Marion A. McBride. May, 1890, New England Magazine.

Related Images: showing 8 of 63 (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 63 images.
Swan HouseSwan House RearHospital for FurnitureHuebener Brick no. 19 Everett-Appleton House
Humphrey HouseHuebener Brick no. 30, Taylor Morton MansionBond House, Huebener Brick paintingCrescent Market
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Created: May 25, 2008   Modified: April 14, 2011