Dorchester Atheneum
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Huebener Brick no. 35, Dr. James Baker House, Washington Street
Huebener Brick no. 35, Dr. James Baker House
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 The Dr. James Baker house was located at what is now Codman Square, the intersection of Washington and Norfolk Streets. In its earlier history the intersection took the name of Baker?s Corner from Dr. Baker?s presence there.

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.

Map, 1831
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 The James Baker House was located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Washington Street and Norfolk Street. The intersection is at the left side of this detail from the 1831 Map of Dorchester

Inset map of Dorchester Center
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 The 1858 Walling Map of Norfolk County shows the house now belonging to the Heirs of W. Baker.

James Baker
James Baker
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 Dr. James Baker was born September 5, 1739, of the fourth generation from Richard who was the pioneer of the Baker family in this country. Richard landed in Boston from the Norsey (North Sea) bark ?Bachelor,? of which he was second in command in November 1635. He settled in Savin Hill. Orcutt says of Dr. James, ?... owing to the gentleness of his disposition, his parents were induced to fit him for the ministry.? With this in view he went through Harvard College, graduating in 1760, and then began to study theology with the Rev. Jonathan Bowman, the minister of Dorchester, whose son-in-law he afterwards became. While fitting for his profession, Mr. Baker taught school, and this delayed him in getting started in the ministry. It soon became apparent that his extreme diffidence would prevent him from performing the duties of a minister; so he voluntarily gave up the idea, and began to study medicine, teaching school at intervals during this period.

Dr. Baker House, Washington Street
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 Dr. James had his home on a large tract of land at the corner of Washington and Norfolk Streets. ?The profession of medicine, however, proved distasteful to him; and he laid in a stock of merchandise, and opened a store [possibly on the opposite corner of the intersection from his house]. In 1780, he saw that there were great possibilities in the chocolate business; so he closed his store, and began to manufacture chocolate. The success of this undertaking was remarkable, and ?Baker?s Chocolate? has been manufactured ever since, now being known in all parts of the world.?6


1 Baker map
2. Walling map
3. Cocoa and Chocolate: a short history of their production and use. Revised edition. Dorchester, Mass. : Walter Baker & Co. Limited, 1917
4. American Series of Popular Biograhies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.
5. Orcutt, William Dana. Good Old Dorchester: A Narrative History of the Town, 1630-1893. Cambridge: The University Press, 1908 [c1891].

Related Images: showing 8 of 149 (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 149 images.
Second Congregational Church, Codman SquareGreetings from Dorchester, Mass.Old Kendall House, Washington StreetOld Davenport House, built 1782
Clap Kendall HouseHuebener Brick no. 62 Capen-Davenport House327-339 Talbot AvenueMap Detail showing Roswell Gleason property
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: June 16, 2008   Modified: April 14, 2011