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Brick Collection
Edward A. Huebener
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 Dorchester Historical Society

Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection

In 1999, the Dorchester Historical Society installed "The James Blake Museum of Early American Construction at the Blake House." The Huebener bricks were displayed there but have since been moved to the Society's William Clapp House. 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. Some of the paintings are quite accomplished and date from the early 20th century, making the bricks significant as pieces of American folk art, in addition to being useful tools to study Dorchester history and architecture.

Edward A. Huebener, a former Board member of the Dorchester Historical Society, was a collector of materials relating to Dorchester history including a very large collection of graphic materials, including prints and photographs, now owned by the Society. His very own contribution to this group of materials was the idea of taking a brick from a house that had been demolished and asking a local illustrator to paint a picture of the house upon the brick.

The description of the bricks owned by the Dorchester Historical Society that appears in A Guide to the Blake House1 says that "this collection is important not only as a record of the architectural history of Dorchester but also as an intriguing example of folk art." In fact, extensive searching on the internet and among colleagues has revealed only a few other examples of painted bricks. There is a brick in the archives of Kraft Foods of which Baker Chocolate is a subsidiary. According to the archivist, it is a "painting" of the 1813 Baker's stone mill that burned in 1848 (brick was taken from the fireplace in the original mill), circa 1925. An illustration provided in an e-mail message seemed to show a brick with something applied to the face such as a photograph or a piece of fabric that was then painted. Similar examples occur in the Huebener collection, and it is possible that the Baker brick originally belonged to the Huebener collection. The only other instance of painted bricks are two in Albany of houses that existed in that city. The idea of painting the face of bricks with pictures of buildings seems very unusual indeed.

Edward A. Huebener
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 Edward Huebener was an interesting character as well as a collector of Dorchester historical artifacts. He was born in 1851 and died of arteriosclerosis, senility and pneumonia on December 1, 1936.3

Hospital for Furniture
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 The text of his biography given in A Guide to the Blake House follows.

Edward A. Huebener

Huebener was born just prior to the time of the annexation, and he was understandably affected by the issues involved. Undoubtedly, he saw many of the old Dorchester estates being demolished for subdivisions. The story of his mother asking for a brick to stop the door from slamming is a charming answer to his obvious fetish for brick collecting, but the collection is remarkable in its scope and its diversity.

Huebener was apprenticed as an upholsterer and a woodcarver to an F. Schlotterback, and by 1890 had a "hospital" for antiques in his shop on Adams Street, King Square, Dorchester. He was born in the Old Danforth House near Meeting House Hill on Bowdoin Street, securing a brick from this house at the time of its demolition. His life was one of constant pursuit of local history, and "EAH" is a trademark that marks many of the photographs and antiques in the collection of the Dorchester Historical Society.

Dorchester Carpet Cleaning Co.
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 Huebener was the son of John and Mary Alhit Huebener. His parents were from Holland and France, respectively, so his love of local history has greater meaning than one of a native born family. Born in the former "Turks Head Tavern" near Meeting House Hill, his interest may have been nurtured by the charms afforded by an old house. The Rev. John Danforth built the tavern in 1680, and the noted author of The Lamplighter, Miss Maria Cummins, lived here with her father Judge Cummins in the nineteenth century.

Later, the Huebeners moved to Freeport Street at Glover's Corner. It was in this house that the now famous request of Mrs. Huebener was heard again... ?Bring some bricks to keep the doors from slamming!? This story has now become history for this unique collection.

As a young man, Huebener courted and then married Miss Amanda A. Chrismas of Brighton. Their wedding took place on September 4, 1884 at All Saints Episcopal Church, Ashmont. They had one child, Miss Elizabeth A. Huebener, who shared her father's obvious love of local history.

In 1890, Huebener established his own shop at 315 Adams Street, Dorchester. He was well known for his steam cleaning techniques on carpets, and for the production of reproduction tabernacle mirrors.4 He was a "lover of old things". His interest was sincere, and his collection of hand-painted bricks increased in both size and scope through the words "Madam, may I have a brick from the chimney of this house?"

Map Detail Huebener Store
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 In his later years, Huebener's eccentric personality intensified. According to one well-respected lady of this venerable town, he not only made his own coffin of well-seasoned hardwood, but also occasionally slept in it. It seemed interesting, though unusual, to sleep in a coffin, especially since his family opted after his death to cremate his remains at the Forest Hills Crematorium.

Huebener will forever remain a well-respected antiquarian and historian. He was a Vice President of the Bay State Historical League, a Director of the Dorchester Historical Society and contributing member of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA). His death marked the passing of an era, as many of our details and facts of Dorchester went with him. We revere his contributions to the preservation and dissemination of Dorchester historHuebener was an authority on the history and the architectural design of each individual house depicted on the bricks. "Many times, it is related, he would produce a spiel of interesting facts that made these lumps of baked clay come to life."

 1 A Guide to the Blake House. Dorchester: Dorchester Historical Society, ca. 1987, p. 6.

2 There is a typescript of 3 pages and a typewritten list of the bricks. The typescript gives more information about Huebener. A copy of the typescript and list of bricks is included.

3 Death record for Edward Albert Huebener in Death Records Boston 1936 v. 25 p. 60. Huebener lived at 80 Parkman Street, was married to Amanda A. Chrismas, and was aged 82 years and 8 months at his death. He had been born in Dorchester to parents John George Huebener who was born in Holland and Mary Alhit who was born in France. Causes of death were arteriosclerosis, senility, and hypostatic pneumonia. He was taken to the Forest Hills Crematorium by undertaker W.C. Crane of 375 Washington Street, Dorchester. has a message board entry from Lori Jones dated 7 Apr 2000 that seems to have misinformation -- Looking for information about Huebener family of MA, settleed in Boston area, primarily Dorchester, in early 1800s. John George (?George?) Huebener (sometimes spelled Hubener) born in Germany married Mary A. Albert born in France on July 8, 1844. They had 6 children: Mary Albert Huebener (m. George Connor), George Albert Huebener (m. Matilda Martin), Ellen Albert Huebener (m. Charles Simpson), William Albert Huebener, Edward Albert Hubener (m. Amanda Chrismas), and Albert William ("Allie") Huebener (m. Jennie Louise Childs). Allie is my gg gf. He and Jennie had 7 children, but only one married and he had only one son, my gf. Http:// as seen on 12/29/2004

4 Huebener had a furniture hospital at 76 Parkman Street and lived at 80 Parkman Street.

5 A Guide to the Blake House. Dorchester: Dorchester Historical Society, ca. 1999?, p. 10-11.

6 A Guide to the Blake House. Dorchester: Dorchester Historical Society, ca. 1999?, p. 6.

Huebener Brick no. 1 Barnard Capen HouseHuebener Brick no. 2 Deacon Ebenezer Clap HouseHuebener Brick no. 3 MissingHuebener Brick no. 4 Minot HouseHuebener Brick no. 5 James Blake House
Huebener Brick no. 6A Ebenezer WithingtonHuebener Brick no. 6B Ebenezer WithingtonHuebener Brick no. 7 Jonathan Bridgham HouseHuebener Brick no. 8 Royall-Dolbeare HouseHuebener Brick no. 9 Davis Harrod House
Huebener Brick no. 10 House at Tileston Grist MillHuebener Brick no. 11 Rev. John Danforth HouseHuebener Brick no. 12, John Lothrop Motley HouseHuebener Brick no. 13, Sarah Baker HouseHuebener Brick no. 14, Governor Gardner Mansion
Huebener Brick no. 15, Captain Baker HouseHuebener Brick no. 16, Thaddeus Mason Harris MansonHuebener Brick no. 17 missingHuebener Brick no. 18 missingHuebener Brick no. 64 Payson House
Huebener Brick no. 65 Isaac Davenport HouseHuebener Brick no. 65b Isaac Davenport HouseHuebener Brick no. 66 Samuel Tolman HouseHuebener Brick no. 67 Oliver Davenport HouseHuebener Brick no. 68 Richard Davenport House
Huebener Brick no. 69 unidentified houseHuebener Brick no. 70 MissingHuebener Brick no. 71 Bird Sawyer HouseHuebener Brick no. 72 Bird Sawyer House Huebener Brick no. 78 Thompson House
Huebener Brick no. 79 James Boies HouseHuebener Brick no. 39 Tiger Engine CompanyHuebener Brick no. 80 Dunmore HouseHuebener Brick no. 62 Capen Davenport HouseHuebener Brick no. 77 Benjamin Clapp House
Huebener Brick no. 76 Toll House on Brush Hill TurnpikeHuebener Brick no. 74 Dorchester AtheneumHuebener Brick no. 73 UnidentifiedHuebener Brick no. 75 First Dorchester High SchoolHuebener Brick no. 63 Bond House
Huebener Brick no. 81Huebener Brick no. 82 David Clapp HouseHuebener Brick no. 94 Samuel Humphreys HouseHuebener Brick no. 95 William Clap or Joseph Humphreys HouseHuebener Brick no. 96 Obadiah Hawes or Swift House
Huebener Brick no. 97 House on the west sideHuebener Brick no. 98 House on the north sideHuebener Brick no. 99 Ebenezer Bird HouseHuebener Brick no. 100 James HumphreysHuebener Brick no. 101 Isaac Field House
Huebener Brick no. 93 Hopestill Humphreys HouseHuebener Brick no. 92 First Humphreys HouseHuebener Brick no. 91 Rev. John Wilson HouseHuebener Brick no. 83 B. Love Coppenhagen HouseHuebener Brick no. 84 Unknown subject
Huebener Brick no. 85 Henry Noyce HouseHuebener Brick no. 86 Farrington StoreHuebener Brick no. 87 Friendship HallHuebener Brick no. 88 Holden HouseHuebener Brick no. 89
Huebener Brick no. 19, Everett-Appleton HouseHuebener Brick no. 90 Humphreys HouseHuebener Brick no. 101 Lemuel Robinson TavernHuebener Brick no. 31 Holbrook TavernHuebener Brick no. 32, Tolman House
Huebener Brick no. 33, Eaton TavernHuebener Brick no. 34, Bispham HouseHuebener Brick no. 35, Dr. James Baker HouseHuebener Brick no. 36 Captain Percival Eaton HouseHuebener Brick no. 37 Howe House
Huebener Brick no. 38 Clap Kendall HouseHuebener Brick no. 30, Morton Taylor HouseHuebener Brick no. 29 Samuel Tolman HouseHuebener Brick No. 28 John Robinson HouseHuebener Brick no. 20, Swan House
Huebener Brick no. 21 Everett HouseHuebener Brick no. 22 Ward Macondray King HouseHuebener Brick no. 23 MissingHuebener Brick no. 24 Holmes HouseHuebener Brick no. 25 Knox Webster House
Huebener Brick no. 26 Lewis HouseHuebener Brick no. 27 Aunt Deborah Field HouseHuebener Brick no. 40 Rev. John Codman HouseHuebener Brick no. 41, Upham StoreHuebener Brick no. 53A and 53B Thomas Tolman House
Huebener Brick no. 54 Unknown HouseHuebener Brick no. 55 Leadbetter HouseHuebener Brick no. 56 Old SchoolhouseHuebener Brick no. 57 Stephen Tolman HouseHuebener Brick no. 58 Revolutionary War Barracks
Huebener Brick no. 59 Unknown HouseHuebener Brick no. 60 Old Brick SchoolhouseHuebener Brick no. 52 Rev. Jonathan Bowman HouseHuebener Brick no. 51 First Parish ChurchHuebener Brick no. 50 Mandell School
Huebener Brick no. 42 Town HallHuebener Brick no. 43, Town HallHuebener Brick no. 44 First Baptist ChurchHuebener Brick no. 45 Lyceum HallHuebener Brick no. 46 Mattapan Bank
Huebener Brick no. 47 St. Mary's Episcopal ChurchHuebener Brick no. 48 Granary BuildingHuebener Brick no. 49 Dalrymple Junction Weigh StationHuebener Brick no. 61 Hawthorne Grove
Related Images: showing 8 of 40 (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 40 images.
Map Detail Huebener StoreHuebener Brick no. 2 Deacon Ebenezer Clap HouseHuebener Brick no. 59 Unknown HouseUnidentified House, Huebener Brick Collection no. 69
Bird Sawyer HouseBird Sawyer HouseHuebener brick no 73 UnidentifiedHuebener brick no. 84 Unknown Subject
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Created: June 24, 2005   Modified: January 7, 2016