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Huebener Brick Collection no. 40 Rev. John Codman House, Codman Hillk, Washington Street
Huebener Brick no. 40 Rev. John Codman House
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 The Codman Mansion on Codman Hill, built by Seth Thayer, and purchased by John Codman when he became pastor in 1808, stood at the junction of Washington and Ogden Streets and Wilmington Avenue. Codman put on the additions. After Codman's death in 1847, the family later rented the house to a female boarding academy under Miss Dodge and later under Mrs. Cochran. The house was last sold to John M. Forbes who let it fall into ruins.

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 Detail Codman House 1874.
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 Map detail from 1874 Hopkins Atlas. The Codman House is the property in green with the name Mrs. Charlotte Cochrane. Codman Street is now Gallivan Boulevard.

John Codman
John Codman
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 Under Thaddeus Harris? tenure at the First Church it was seen that the congregation had outgrown its accommodations, so the Second Church was set off to be located at Codman Square. The Second Parish was formed by vote of the Town of Dorchester, June 19, 1807, and the Second Church was organized by a Council, January 1, 1808, with sixty-four charter members ?affectionately dismissed? from the First Church. The new church building was dedicated October 30,1806, and Dr. John Codman became its first pastor in December, 1808.

John Codman House
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 It was at this time that the lines were beginning to be drawn distinctly between the rigid and liberal portions of the churches. Unitarianism existed as a faith but not as a denomination. Dr. Harris and the First Parish belonged to the liberal order, and the new or Second Church included those who were in sympathy with him and his views. The new minister of the Second Church possessed strong Orthodox views. Liberal members of the Second Church disagreed with Dr. Codman, because he refused to exchange pulpits with the liberal members of the Boston Ministers? Association. A long and bitter controversy followed and led to a confrontation.

John Codman House
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 Those who were dissatisfied agreed to sell Dr. Codman their pews and to withdraw from the Church membership. The seceders organized the Third Religious Society (called then the New South Parish), a distinct Unitarian parish. Their first meeting was May 6, 1813, when the construction of a meeting house was planned.

Codman House
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 This engraving shows the house in use as a school for young women.

Orcutt describes the house as follows.

The old Codman mansion home has not such a title to antiquity as may be claimed by amny other buildings of the town, for it is only about one hundred years since it was constructed. The original owner, Mr. Seth Thayer, sold it to Rev. Dr. Codman when the latter was called to the pastorate of the Second Church in 1808. At that time it was simply a square building; and it presented somewhat the appearance of a fortification, as it was mounted on the top of a series of terraces that made it difficult of approach. The young minister being then a bachelor, the house was large enough for him; but as he was married soon after, and his family began to increase, corresponding additions were made, and ells were succeeded by ells, until, looking at it from the south, it has the unclerical appearance of a rope-walk or a ten-pin alley.

It is due to the unbounded hospitality of Dr. Codman to say that these enlargements were made rather for the benefit of his brethren than for that of his children. In those days that antedated railroads, it was the custom of country ministers from the interior, who came to Boston, especially on ?anniversary week,? to ?put up? here. Not only did they put themselves up in the house, but they put their horses up in the barn; so that the whole establishment had the air of an eastern caravansary. They were always made welcome, although not unfrequently they abused their privileges. Unfortunately the doctor had the reputation of being a rich man; and he was so for the times, although his property never exceeded a hundred thousand dollars. The brethren were accustomed to calculate the income on this enormous sum, adding to it his salary of eight hundred dollars, which, by the bye, he could never collect in full, becasue his parishioners supposed he did not need it; and then they went in for a division, as far as they could get it, on the early Christian method.

Mary Codman
Mary Codman
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 The children of the family have a realizing memory of being sent to the attic and closets to make room for their ?brethren in the Lord,? and, as the anniversaries came in cherry time, of the big blackbirds that roosted in their favorite trees. Before the total abstinence era the clergy made large demands for liquors and tobacco. They did not care much for wine and cigars; but their tastes ran to rum and pipes, of which an abundant supply was always kept on hand. The result of this constant ministerial debauch was anything but agreeabele to the pastor?s wife. That excellent woman, who was indeed a ?mother in Israel,? was made to be the slave of Israel likewise. When the swarm had passed over, there was a grand cleaning up; carpets were taken up and shaken; the fireplace ?jams? were scrubbed with brick-dust solution to efface the tobacco stains; and the ecclesiastical hotel was put in order for transient visitors.

Probably in no private dwelling of the land have there ever been so many doctrinal discussions as in this old mansion house. Commencing with the great split between Orthodoxy and Unitarianism, down through the eras of ?Hopkinsianism,? ?Taylorism,? and numerous smaller schisms, the clericals had it hot and heavy over the breakfast and dinner tables; and the disputes werer not ended till evening prayers sent the belligerents to bed. If any minister?s children in the country had opportunites for doctrinal study, those of Dr. Codman certainly had it above all of them. They ought to have been ?well grounded in the faith.? In fact most of them were stranded; and when they got off the rocks, they embarked on the smoother seas of Episcopalianism and Unitarianism, one only remaining to maintain allegaiance to the old church.

Related Images: showing 8 of 105 (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 105 images.
John CodmanWashington Street at Bowdoin Street59 Washington Street 190 Normandy StreetHuebener Brick no. 32, Tolman House
Huebener Brick no. 40 Rev. John Codman HouseB. Love Coppenhagen House Huebener Brick paintingIsaac Field House1167 Washington Street
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Created: June 23, 2008   Modified: April 15, 2011