Bellevue / Glendale neighborhood

Bellevue / Glendale

The following is from the AREA FORM from Boston Landmarks Commission prepared as part of 1994 Survey of Dorchester. Dated March, 1995 and recorded by Edward W. Gordon.

[Note: this reproduction of the information in the Boston Landmarks Area Form may have typographical errors, and for technical matters, the reader may want to consult a copy of the original, which is available at the Boston Landmarks Commission or the Dorchester Historical Society]

Architectural Description

The Bellevue /Glendale Area is located to the west of Jones Hill and south west of the major Uphams Corner cross roads. For the purposes of this survey, it is bounded by Hancock Street on the east, the back lot lines of houses on the south sides of Rill and Bellevue Streets on the south and on the west by the back lot lines of houses bordering the west sides of Ware and Quincy Streets. The northern boundary follows the back lot lines of houses on the north side of Stanley and Glendale streets as well as both sides of Payson Avenue. Architecturally, this area encompasses Greek Revival and Italianate wood frame single – family houses bordering Payson Avenue, the Stick/Queen Anne wood frame housing bordering Ware and Rill, the substantial Queen Anne and Colonial Revival residences bordering Bellevue Street, as well as Queen Anne 2-family housing along the eastern side of Quincy Street.

The earliest houses in this area are located on Payson Ave., a narrow, winding way, which has a strong sense of place owing to tall fir trees and houses situated close to the street. Noteworthy mid 19th century residences include the Greek Revival / Italianate house at #37 Payson Avenue (c. 1857). Here, its gable fronted side passage facade is accented by narrow comer boards. The entry is sheltered beneath a front porch supported by heavy Doric columns and slat work railings. This clapboard house’s south wall exhibits (two bay windows with apron panels beneath its windows. Surmounting the far bay is an oriel with Stick Style x-shapes in apron panels. Across the street at 38 Payson Avenue is another gable fronted, side passage Greek Revival clapboard house with narrow corner boards, cornice returns and side porch. Glendale Street, in the heart of this area, is an east-west street bordered by houses that have sustained considerable alterations over time, ranging from Italianate/Mansard housing at 23 and 41, through the Queen Anne H-shaped two-family houses at 12/14 and 16/18 Glendale Street as well as three deckers exhibiting Queen Anne and Colonial Revival characteristics. Perhaps the most charming Italianate/Mansard cottage in this area is 28 Glendale Street. A much more substantial Italianate/Mansard residence is situated at 14 Bellevue Street with its central pavilion form, double doors set within a well molded segmental arch, architectonic window surrounds, and deep, modillion-block accented eaves surmounted by a low, straight- sided mansard roof. The Y -shaped mansard house at 10 Trull Street, although altered by asbestos shingle covering, is of interest as a mansard that was evidently updated at a later date to Queen Anne dormers and window sash.

One of this area’s major strengths is its collection of ornate Stick Style residences . Ware Street constitutes a mini-development of c. l880 houses representative of this relatively rare Boston area stylistic type; well preserved examples include 3, 5 and 7 Ware Street. Providing a “gateway” to this Stick development is the house at 22 Ware Street, which exhibits a more rambling, irregular form than that of its more compact Ware Street neighbors. Perhaps the best preserved Stick Style house in this area is 19/21 Trull Street with its bold horizontal and vertical board accents overlaying scalloped shingles. Although most of its housing stock has been altered by the application of vinyl siding, Rill Street’s south side (#’s 16-42) still constitutes a memorable streetscape of Stick and Queen Anne houses via siting (houses situated fairly close together with small front lawns and Jones Hill rising in the background), form (assymetrica1 massing, small open front porches, clipped gables, gambrels and gable roofs all facing the street). Several houses have two story polygonal bays on the main facades and #40 Rill Street has a corner tower. Stick Style ornament was incorporated into Queen Anne houses in this area, particularly in the vicinity of roof gables as is the case at 31 Trull Street.

In the Bellevue/Glendale area, the Queen Anne Style appears in a variety of manifestations including as a well-preserved, modestly scaled double house at 10/12 Payson Avenue, near the eastern edge of the area. This double house is characterized by a 6-bay main façade, narrow corner board accents, deep eaves with small brackets and projecting, gable roofed center pavilion. Forming the western boundary of the area along Quincy Street is a quartet of two-family Queen Anne houses numbered 362, 364, 366, 370 Quincy Street. These houses are rectangular in form and rise 2.5 stories to broad street-facing gables. By far the most substantial and ornate examples of the Queen Anne Style are to be found on Bellevue Street. Particularly memorable is the sprawling, Queen Anne house at 30 Bellevue Street (corner of Ronan) with its encircling verandah, well turned elements, weathered but intact clapboards and complicated roof configuration. Several substantial residences on Bellevue Street deftly blend handsome Queen Anne form with colonial Revival porch elements and window treatments. #27 Bellevue exhibits a handsome front porch composed of paired Tuscan columns, and well turned, Georgian Revival balusters. The second floor of the center pavilion exhibits a door set within a swans neck scroll enframement. Similarly, at 29 Bellevue Street, a Palladian window has been somewhat awkwardly set within a fully enframed and overhanging attic gable.

The Bellevue/Glendale area was substantially built up by World War I. Further research may reveal that the c. mid 1910s, hip roofed, 2-family Colonial Revival houses at 7, 9 and 15 Stanley Street were the last buildings erected in this area.

Historical Narrative

The Bellevue / Glendale Area begins to get subdivided for the purposes of residential housing during the late 1850s. The Payson farm was carved up into house lots bordering Payson Avenue, a winding narrow way linking Glendale Street with Hancock Street. A plan by T.M. Mosely dated May 7, 1857, identifies this “avenue” as Payson Avenue Place. It deserves further study as an interesting, very early Dorchester suburban subdivision of Greek Revival / Italianate houses. Real estate-rich Parkman Dexter is said to have set out Payson Avenue. Good examples of these early houses include 37 Payson Avenue. Its lot was purchased at auction from the Henry Payson estate on November 8, 1860 by Charles N. Conant “gentleman” for $865.50. (see Norfolk County deed 293: 132). Presumably, 37 Payson Avenue was built in 1861. Conant owned # 37 until at least the mid 1890s and was followed in ownership of this house by an Annie F. Booth (1910s) and by the 1930s, John Crisafi, barber, lived here.

Norfolk deeds provide a less clear picture of a construction date for 32 Payson A venue. It was evidently built durimg the 1850s. According to Anthony Sammarco, this house was the residence of the American artist David Claypool Johnston. He was a cartoonist who is sometimes referred to as the American Cruikshank after the great late 18th/early 19th century English caricaturist. Born in New York c.1809 he and was a painter of portraits and capes; although he was best known as an American political cartoonist. He died here in 1865 and his daughter, Sarah E. Johnston inherited this house and owned it well into the 1920s. John J. Donovan, taxi agent, owned this house in the 1930s and 40s. The northeastern “arm” of Payson Ave. was built up with housing around c. 1890, with 10/12 Payson Ave. being a prime example of this late development.

In 1884, 10/12 Payson Avenue’s lot was part of a larger two lot tract containg the Payson house and barn. This house was owned by a W.K. Lewis in 1894.By the early 1930s. Maurice Dobnner, creamery employee rented #10 from #12’s Hyman Silberman, painter.

Here and there, Mansard cottages were built in this area during the late 1860s, early 1870s. Samuel Downer or Jones Hill, the Kerosene magnate and horticulturalist owned 28 Glendale Street by 1869. In the Taxable valuation listing for that year, Samuel Downer is listed as owning a “small house” on Cross (Glendale Street) which was valued at $500.00 and undoubtedly refers to the cottage scale 28 Glendale Street.

The first real “building boom” in this area dates between 1884-1894, with streets like Ware and Rill set out during this period. The enclave of Stick Style houses at 3, 5 and 7 Ware Street were developed by Dorchester real estate magnate Franklin King around 1880. (Note: 9 Ware Street was part of this gro but is no longer extant). King owned these houses wel1 into the 1890s. By 1910, King’s heirs owned #3 while an Annie Brigham owned the other two houses. By 1930, Frederick G. Perinee, clerk., owned #3, James F. Cooper, custodian at the Phillips Brooks School owned # 5 and William T. Coleran, clerk lived at #7.

Rill Street’s housing was also mostly a prodcut of the mid 1880-mid 90s. Rill Street was named for a brook or “rill” which crossed this street near Hancock Street. King also developed properties on Tru1l Street, including #10 Trull Street which was owned by Hosea E. Bowern and later by his heirs from c.1915-1945. By 1945, this building contained the Upham’s Corner Registry for Nurses. King’s real estate on Trull extended from Bellevue to Glenn Street. Another King- developed house is 19 / 21 Trull Street which was built c.11880 and remained in the King family until c.1920. By 1930, Frank J. Armstrong, carpenter, lived at #19 Trull Street, and Ruth A. Irwin, nurse, and Benjamin A. Tyler, “helper” lived in #21.

Trull Street slopes climbs a steep rise, feeding into Belvedere Street and the site of the former Elizabeth A. and Henry J. Nazro estate. Containing 84,802 Square feet, this estate encompassed a significant part of the area between Bellevue and Quincy streets. The Nazro house (demolished) was orienred towards the intersection of Trull and Bellevue Streets and its grounds included a 1arge stable and hot house. Just to the north of this house at what is now the northeast corner of Quincy and Stanley Street was a City of Boston Public School, now a playground. 27 Bellevue Street’s, for example, was carved from the Nazro estate c. 1895-1900 and was originally owned by an Annie B. James. By 1930, William A. Sampson, a druggist with Parker’s pharmacy on Columbia Road lived here. Warners and Hoits owned 28 Bellevue Street until c.1925 when it became the residence of Dr. James J. Lynch. A survivor from the Nazro years and probably approaching the scale of the Nazro house is 14 Bellevue Street. Built by 1874, 14 Belvedere’s first owner was J. Homer Pierce, One of the civic-minded members of Dorchester’s Pickwick Club. Pierce was on the club’s committee “to solicit subscriptions, to select a design for a (Civil War) soldiers’ monument on Meeting House Hill and to take the general charge of its erection.

During the 1890s, the electric trolley was introduced along Dorchester’s major thoroughfares, ushering in a new “street car suburb” era of less costly. multi – family housing in the form of 2-family and three-decker residences.

During the late 1890s, the 104,861 square foot tract on the south side of Bellevue Street was surveyed for the laying out of the cul-de-sac called Ronan Street (originally called Cornell Street). 9 Ronan Street represents an upscale Queen Anne two-family house whose early 1900s residents included Thomas W. Eaton and Charles A. Webber. By 1935, this house was occupied by Albert J. Connor, painter and Thomas F. Flaherty, mail carrier based at the Upham’s Corner Post Office. By 1945, Gaspar Lakan, floor layer and Harry Stride, pipe fitter lived here.

Slightly less ornate and substantial than 9 Ronan Street are the turn -of -the- century, Queen Anne two-family houses, # 362, 366, 368 and 370 Quincy Street. The occupations of the early 20th-century residents of these houses illustrate the transformation from upper middle class enclave to an area with a substantial middle class representation. Built on the grounds of the former Nazro estate, the residents of these houses in 1910 included: M. L Butters at 362, Mary A. Ryerson at 366; Antoinette Brigham at 368 and Margaret A. Williams at 370. By 1930, this house’s residents included Delia Coffey and Marie J. Dupont, nurse at 362; William Marks, musican and Lawrence J. O’Connor, paver at 366; Timothy J. Collins and William F. Murphy at 368 ; and Bernard J. Donaher , clerk and Clifford W. Green, machinist at 370 Quincy Street.

Bibliography and/or References

Boston and Dorchester Maps/Atlascs – 1794, 1830, 1850, 1874, 1884, 1894, 1898, 1910, 1918, 1933

Boston Directories: 1870-1945

Suffolk Deeds-293: 132; 388: 123, 263:90, 256:277

Orcutt, William Dana. Good Old Dorchester, 1893

Interview with Anthony M. Sammarco, Dorchester Historian re: Payson Avenue development and background on David Claypool Johnson.


Posted on

June 13, 2022

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