Elisha T. Loring House, 21 Mill Street

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No. 4474 21 Mill Street, photograph August, 2004.


1978 BLC survey

Est. 1840

High style large scale Greek Revival with shallow ionic entrance porch, second level gallery supported by massive paired consoles, supporting a shallow pediment over gallery, ionic side porch, pedimented ? with fan lights. 

Elisha T. Loring Mss. Collection at Baker Library mss. Archives Mss #766 (Box 1 folder 6)

In 1848 directory

Elisha T Loring 1845-1885

Franklin King 1889

The following is from the National Register form for Harrison Square Historic District

Elisha T. Loring (1804-1889), another key figure in the area’s development was born on Cape Cod. Loring began his career in the Chilean tin and copper trades, returning to Boston in 1839. His house at 21 Mill Street was built in the early 1840s. Loring assembled a house lot originally containing over 70,000 square feet from housewrights Joseph Foster and Rufus Kelton of Dorchester, paying a total of $6900 for the two lots. In addition to builders Foster and Kelton, an architect undoubtedly played a role in the creation of 21 Mill Street (photo 1), and the possibility that the ubiquitous Briggs may have been responsible for its construction, although the house’s design recalls the Boston area work of Isaiah Rogers and Asher Benjamin. Loring made a large fortune in the Lake Superior mines, also known as the Calumet and Hecla mines. By 1862 he was the treasurer to the Pewabic and Franklin Mining Companies, and a decade later is listed as “President, National Dock Company.”  Later owners of Loring’s estate would include his next door neighbor Franklin King (1898), engineer Francis W. Wilson (1910), Agnes Russell (1918), and by the time of the Depression, Loring’s residence had become a boarding house operated by Mary Budinski.

Greek Revival main block, Boston India wharf merchant and horticulturalist Elisha Loring lived here.

The Greek Revival style, America’s “first democratic style,” popularly employed in the design of houses great and small from Maine to Oregon is represented at Clam Point in only a handful of houses built during the 1840s. The most architecturally significant example of this style is the Elisha Loring House at 21 Mill Street (photo 1). Clearly the work of an as-yet-to-be-identified architect, this stately residence is composed of a generously proportioned three bay by three bay main block and a substantial rear ell. The house’s original clapboards were replaced by wood shingles at an undetermined date. The main elevation’s pedimented center pavilion exhibits a small front porch whose Ionic columns support a heavy, cornice-headed entablature. The porch’s roof is set off by an ornate cast iron railing. Both the front door and second floor porch door above are flanked by multi-pane sidelights and enframed by raised moldings. Flanking the center pavilion are fully enframed windows. The side walls are unusually wide, culminating in broad pedimented attics containing elliptical lunette windows. The house’s south and west walls exhibit an encircling verandah with fluted Ionic columns. The Loring property’s numerous granite elements, including the block of the house’s foundation, front steps, fence posts, and curving perimeter walls, represent the full range of granite elements found elsewhere in the district. Undoubtedly these granite materials originated at the famous quarries of nearby Quincy. These granite elements merely hint at the more extensive use of this durable material in the construction of Greek Revival public and commercial buildings during Boston’s so-called “Granite Age” (ca. 1810-1860).

The most prominent landmark in the area is the Elisha Loring House at 21 Mill Street (photo 1). Particularly noteworthy is the siting of the substantial early 1840s Greek Revival main block and extensive rear ell in relation to its deep, curved southwest lawn. Built ca. 1840-1845, the Loring House presides over an ample tract whose Mill and Ashland Streets edges are enclosed by a low, random ashlar granite wall. The Mill Street facade exhibits a projecting and pedimented center pavilion, while the unusually broad southwest side gable retains its Ionic columned portico and large attic lunette window. Two enormous copper beech trees shade the Mill Street edge of this old mansion house estate while a variety of granite elements, including the encircling perimeter wall, complete this remarkable vignette of the suburban domain of an early railroad commuter.


Posted on

March 23, 2020