Friday, December 6, 2013

Gorham Silver, Part 7: It's a Wrap

As mentioned in Part 6 of this series, Gorham reached its zenith of accomplishment in the years when Edward Holbrook served as president and William C. Codman as chief designer.  Codman retired in 1914, and Holbrook died in 1919, bringing this Golden Age to a conclusion.

Interestingly enough, both of their sons took over their roles--John Holbrook as president and William Codman as chief designer.  John had been a VP for 13 years when his father died, but he was a disaster as president, and the company went through five presidents between 1919-1923 before Edmund Mayo took over the reins.

William Codman was well-trained in academic styles, but was not a fan of "modern" design, which was being demanded by the public. Codman's opinion of modern design an be summed up in his 1929 book on the History of Silverware Design:
Recently, a style so called "Modern" has been introduced to the public, but it does not appear to have made much headway. . . . If we see elements of the Greek, the Gothic, or more of the Italian Renaissance in our silverware, let us be thankful our designers have the good sense to value the best in the past.
Codman stayed on at Gorham as chief designer into the 1930s, but Mayo took some steps to reduce his influence. One of the things he did was to bring in Erik Magnussen, a Danish modernist silversmith, who worked as a designer at Gorham, independent of Codman, from 1925-1929. His official title was "Designer (Special Work)".

Erik Magnusson coffee service, 1929; in the RISD Museum.
Erik Magnusson coffee service, 1929.
Here is a beautiful coffee service called "Cubic," designed by Magnusson in the style of Cubist painting, and meant to evoke skyscrapers, radio, motorcars, and jazz. The form consists of a series of irregular triangles, and flat, shiny silver areas contrast with triangles of gilt and oxidized brown.

This set was radical, even for Magnusson. It was exhibited a number of times, and was pictured in the New York Times where it was named "The Lights and Shadows of Manhattan." It is currently on permanent display at the RISD Museum.

When the depression hit, production slowed significantly, though Gorham kept their artisans working--they meticulously produced hundreds of examples of 19th century hollowware from original designs and dies. Today these pieces are the only known examples of certain Gorham patterns.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the company stopped making bronze and brass goods, all plated wares, and most church goods. Hollowware production was cut by 70%, and sterling flatware was limited to six-piece place settings in 13 patterns.

More than 30 kinds of war materiel were manufactured at the Gorham plant during the war, including millions of 40mm shell casings, small arms parts, tank bearings, and torpedo components.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Gorham embarked on an acquisition program to expand their lines and diversify. They acquired silver and bronze companies, as well as companies in other industries. By the middle 1960s they were cash rich, with 2,400 employees and $40 million in sales. They were a prime candidate for a takeover, so in 1967 they merged with Providence company Textron, whom they'd approached as a "safe haven."

By 1985, due to a variety of causes such as rising silver prices and reduced demand, and possibly a lack of focus due to their wide product lines, Gorham had shrunk significantly in size. Textron therefore relocated manufacturing from the Providence plant to a Smithfield, RI facility, where it remained until 1992, when it moved out of state.

Textron sold Gorham in 1988. Since 2007, the sterling silver patterns have been made by Lifetime Brands, who also own the Wallace and Towle Silversmiths names. They still produce 19 patterns of flatware, including Chantilly, which has been made continually since 1885! Gorham stainless steel flatware is manufactured by Lenox Brands.

The site on which the Gorham plant stood was acquired by the City of Providence in 1990. Serious concerns were raised about the site's environmental safety, and it was named a "superfund" brownfields site in 1995.

Providence was unable to interest developers in the Gorham plant buildings, so all (except the Carriage House) were demolished in 1997. The City built Alvarez High School on part of this site; it opened in 2008.
Location of Alvarez High School, on former site of Gorham plant.
The last remaining building, the Carriage House, was being restored by local firefighters to become the Providence Fire Museum, but was destroyed by a fire "of suspicious origin" in 2009, bringing to a sad end the long and colorful history of Gorham Silver in Rhode Island.

Illustration Credits and References

Photo of Magnusson coffee service by the author.

Providence Journal, "Fire destroys carriage house that was to become fire museum," by Maria Armental, April 15, 2009.

An exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published 1997 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.)

Gorham Silver, Part 6: The New Plant and the Apogee of Accomplishment

The rise of Edward Holbrook discussed in Part 4, and the creation of the bronze business discussed in Part 5, coincided with a need for expansion, since Gorham had filled the Steeple Street block to capacity. Holbrook had not yet taken on the presidency of Gorham, but he certainly heavily influenced the 1888 board decision to build a brand new plant on a multi-acre site off Adelaide Avenue in the Elmwood section of Providence.

Architect's drawing for Gorham Manufacturing plant, about 1890.
Architect's drawing of the new Gorham plant, about 1890.
When the plant opened in 1890, it was the most modern in the world for making silver and bronze. It consisted of 33 acres and 25 buildings, and had its own water supply (Mashapaug Pond, the largest body of fresh water in the city). It also had its own fire department, electric light plant, and photo studio, and a building for making the wood cases for the silver. It also included a library and a museum, and a dining room and recreation center for the workers (which was very forward-thinking at the time!)

After the move, Gorham hired a new chief designer, William C. Codman, a 52-year-old Englishman. Codman was the chief designer for the pieces Gorham made for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where Gorham won 55 medals! He also designed the Chantilly flatware pattern in 1895, which has always been Gorham's best seller. Codman would go on to design over 50 flatware patterns during his 23 years at Gorham, but this was clearly the winner and is still made today. It was the most popular sterling flatware pattern made in the 20th century, by any company.

Lady's writing table and chair, Gorham Silver, 1903; at RISD Museum.
Lady's writing table and chair, Gorham, 1903.
In 1894, Holbrook officially took over the reins of the company; the years from the completion of he new plant to 1914, when Codman retired, are considered to be some of the greatest of Gorham's achievement. Holbrook and Codman had a great partnership and vision; Burr Sebring, who was the director of design at Gorham in the 1970s, called it a "perfect matrix of leadership and artistry."

Among the many beautiful pieces designed by Codman was a lady's writing table and chair made in 1903 to exhibit at the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. (That was the "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie" fair.) There was also a 16-piece silver desk set that went with it.

It's a real tour de force and was intended to showcase the incredible talent of the Gorham artisans. Click here to examine the desk in more detail.

William Codman signature on lady's writing table, Gorham Silver, 1903.
William Codman signed the piece.
It was designed by Codman, but the work was executed by many, many craftsmen. There were silversmiths, chasers, modelers, inlayers, leather carvers, and cabinetmakers. However, Codman, as the chief designer, got to sign the piece in the right top drawer.

The desk is particularly remarkable in its use of silver, ivory, and mother of pearl inlay in the challenging surface of ebony and rosewood.  The form of the desk is 18th century French rococo, the women on the drawers and legs very Art Nouveau, and the arabesques on the top are traditional Hispano-Moorish.
Costing slip for Gorham Silver lady' writing desk, 1903.
Costing slip for the desk.

The back border on the top includes morning glories for morning and poppies for evening, as well as an owl to represent wisdom, and perhaps inspire the writer?

There are about 50 pounds of silver in the desk and chair, and over 12,000 hours went into the creation of this work. The cost was almost $13,000; the costing slip for the desk alone is shown here. The price was set by Gorham at $18,000 for the desk and chair, plus another $2,000 for the desk set.

The pieces were awarded the Grand Prix for silversmithing in St. Louis, and they were also exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where they won the gold medal.

Antoinette Heckscher, Lady Esher, who owned the Gorham lady's writing desk.
Lady Esher and daughter, 1932.
Sometime after that, the set was purchased on behalf of a young American socialite, Antoinette Heckscher, who had married the British Viscount Esher, and had become Lady Esher in 1912. Antoinette had gotten a lot of society attention for announcing her engagement in the New York Times on 11/11/11, breaking it in January (also in the paper), and then remaking it, to marry later in 1912. The Times said of her that she was "highly cultivated, had traveled much, and is interested in the woman suffrage movement. She marched last May in the big suffrage parade."

Antoinette died in 1965, but had unloaded the desk and chair prior to that, since the pieces turned up at a Christie's auction in London in 1954. It was purchased for $3,500 by Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Thurber of Providence, descendants of Gorham Thurber, a former business partner of John Gorham, and they donated it to the RISD Museum--bringing it full circle back to its place of origin.

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

Photo of the writing table from the RISD Museum website.

Photo of the signature and the costing slip from the Brown Digital Repository.

Photo of Lady Esher from

New York Times, "Miss Hecksher to wed O.S.B. Brett," August 29, 1912.

Architect's drawing of the new Gorham plant, plus an exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published 1997 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.)

Gorham Silver, Part 5: The Bronzes

George Washington bronze at U.S. Capitol Rotunda; manufactured in 1909 by Gorham Silver.
George Washington bronze, 1909.
Gorham had started making small bronze pieces in 1860, and in the 1880s they opened an ecclesiastical department, making silver chalices, patens, cups, and crosses for churches. It was a logical next step to make bronze items for churches--lecterns, altar rails, doors, crucifixes, and sculptures.

In 1885, they made their first large non-ecclesiastical bronze sculpture for a Civil War memorial at Gettysburg, a statue called The Skirmisher. The sculptor, Frederick Kohlhagen, had approached Gorham to see if they were interested in casting it. Prior to that point, most large scale bronze casting had been done in Europe, but Gorham's completion of the project was the beginning of a hugely successful large scale bronze casting business.

Today there are over 700 Gorham bronze items listed in the Smithsonian Archives inventory of American sculpture. One of the best-known pieces is a 1909 bronze of George Washington that has a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Independent Man atop the RI State House; cast by Gorham Silver in 1899.
The Independent Man, 1899.
There are many Gorham bronzes in New England, included the Shaw Memorial by St.-Gaudens opposite the Boston Statehouse, the Gloucester MA Fisherman, the Brown Bear "Bruno" on the Brown University Quad, the Carrie Brown Bajnotti memorial fountain in Burnside Park in Providence, the Independent Man atop the Rhode Island Statehouse, and half a dozen statues at Roger Williams Park in Providence.

Some of the finest work done by Gorham in bronze were the doors, railings, etc. that enhanced many American public buildings in the first years of the 20th century. In Providence, the company carried out bronze commissions at the Union Trust Building, the First Baptist Church, the Fleet Library at RISD, the Mathewson Street Methodist Church, and the Old Stone Bank.

The Old Stone Bank had started out as the Providence Institution for Savings, but earned its moniker after its flagship stone building was constructed in 1854. In 1896-1898 a major expansion was done on the bank, doubling its size and adding an impressive dome.

Old Stone Bank door, Providence RI; cast by Gorham Silver 1898.
Closeup of Old Stone door with RI anchor, 1898.
As part of this project, beautiful bronze doors by Gorham were installed. They weighed over 1,000 pounds apiece, and, according to a Providence Journal article from the opening 1898, are "so easily poised that they swing on their ball bearing pintles and hinges as easily as an ordinary house door made of wood."

The doors would stay open during banking hours, and entrance to the bank was through a marble vestibule with mahogany doors.

Besides its new dome and new doors, the bank was also equipped with the latest technology. The same Providence Journal article states: "The bank is equipped with a telephone closet with its long distance telephone, and also has an internal system by which the Treasurer, sitting at his desk, can talk not only through the telephone exchange to persons outside, but also to clerks within the bank and to the Providence National Bank."

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

Photo of George Washington bronze by CharmaineZoe found on FlickRiver.

Photo of Independent Man by Trent Maynard, found on the State Capitols website.

Photo of Old Stone Bank door by the author.

Providence Sunday Journal, March 6, 1898.

An exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published 1997 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.)

Gorham Silver, Part 4: Edward's Rise and John's Fall

Gorham continued to grow rapidly in the period during and after the Civil War. In 1863, the company was incorporated as the Gorham Manufacturing Company, with John Gorham owning 3/8 of the stock, and his cousin and business partner, Gorham Thurber, also owning 3/8. Their silver lines expanded in the post-Civil War period; during this time Gorham became the dominant U.S. manufacturer of solid silver flatware. They would go on to produce silver in 313 different patterns!

In 1870, a young man named Edward Holbrook, just 21 years old, joined the company as a salesman, and was very successful at it. By 1878, Holbrook was the highest-paid man in the company, and he borrowed additional money from the company to start buying Gorham shares.

Neptune Epergne by Gorham Silver, 1876; at RISD Museum.
Neptune Epergne, 1876.
Meanwhile, while Holbrook's career was on the rise, John Gorham's star was falling. He had become involved in business operations outside of Gorham in about 1870 and spent a significant amount of his personal capital and his time on those businesses, which appeared to have failed (probably due to the Panic of 1873).  By the end of 1875, he had lost all his shares in the company, and had to declare personal bankruptcy. He was relieved of his duties with the company and dropped from the board in 1878.

This action appears to have hurt him deeply; in a letter to the stockholders dated February 13, 1878, he wrote:
I am conscious during the whole period of 36 years that I have been connected with this business . . . I have hesitated at no personal sacrifice whereby I felt the property of the business could be advanced. . . . I feel that the course pursued by the present action of the company to be an injustice to me, unwarranted in consideration of the years of service given. . . . leaving me at this period of a life's work with nothing to show of its results.
While the 1873 Panic had caused Gorham's sales to drop precipitously, they were fortunate that year to receive a commission from Col. Henry Jewett Furber of Chicago for 740 pieces of silver (service for 24) for his wife Elvira Irwin Furber. This incredible set included a piece called the Neptune Epergne which was designed by Thomas Pairpoint and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.

The pieces in the so-called Furber Service were produced between 1873 and 1879, and the complete set is now owned by the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. The pieces were estimated to have a value of $500,000 in 1987; not sure what the value would be today!

By the time the Furber Service was finished, young Edward Holbrook was well on his way to acquiring the majority of Gorham shares. By the end of 1882, he owned 341 shares, and was elected a director of the company. By 1888 he had absolute control of the company, and was elected treasurer.

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

Photo of Neptune Epergne from RISD Museum website.

An exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published 1997 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gorham Silver, Part 3: Growing and Going Public

We left off in Part 2 with John Gorham's strategies for growing the silver company. John knew that further mechanization was the key to growth, and in 1852 he spent three months in England with several objectives: visit shops and museums for pattern and product ideas, hire skilled workers, and, most importantly, order a steam-operated drop press. 

John knew that James Nasmyth, a Scottish engineer, had invented a steam hammer in 1840, and he thought Nasmyth might also be able to design a steam drop press. Hand-operated drop presses had been used in England for several years, but they were very labor-intensive. Nasmyth was surprised at what the American was proposing, since he himself had been pitching the idea of a steam drop press to English silver manufacturers with no success. He agreed to build the machine and not charge Gorham for the patents, and the new machine was delivered across the pond to Providence in 1853.

Gorham Silver, "Josephine" pattern; designed 1855.
Gorham "Josephine", 1855.
With the new steam press they were able to produce flatware with patterns on the handles. Previous handles had been very plain since it was just not economically feasible to add pattern. They introduced three new patterns in 1855, and by 1859, Gorham had grown to 200 employees and almost $400,000 in sales.

Shortly thereafter, about 1860, Gorham expanded its product line once again when it started making small bronzes. It is said that, technically, bronze casting isn't much different from silver casting, except for the scale of large pieces (statues, doors, etc.). Gorham's first bronze casters came from France (just as they'd hired skilled silver workers from England).

Etching of Gorham complex on Steeple St., Providence RI, 1885.
Etching of Gorham complex on Steeple Street, ca. 1885.
Photo of Gorham complex on Steeple St., Providence RI, 1885.
Gorham complex on Steeple Street, ca. 1885.

New product lines and increased customer demand required new space, and the etching above shows a series of buildings in the foreground which were added to the original #12 Steeple (at the left end of the illustration) and the 1849 manufacturing building (which I believe is the one just to the right of it). Eventually they filled up the Steeple Street side of the block, and then built the large plant in the background.

The view in both of these illustrations is from the corner of Canal Street and Steeple Street, looking towards the First Baptist Church (whose steeple gave its name to Steeple Street) in the background.

NOTE: All the buildings at this site were razed sometime after Gorham moved to a new location in 1890. The Steeple St. block was filled in 1949 with a new building for the Providence Washington Insurance Company. Today that building is the Administration Building for the Rhode Island School of Design.

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

"Josephine" photo from

Etching of Gorham complex from First: The First Baptist Church in America by J. Stanley Lemons (The First Baptist Church in America, Providence, 2001).

The photo of the Gorham complex, as well as an exhaustive history of Gorham, can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1997.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gorham Silver, Part 2: The Strategist

Gorham and Webster had generated a lot of business since its formation in 1831 and by late 1840/early 1841 the 49-year-old Jabez Gorham was comfortably well-off and ready to take an early retirement. The firm was split into two--a silver company and a jewelry company. Jabez's former partner, Henry Webster, acquired the silver half under the name H.L. Webster & Co., and the jewelry business was taken over by the partnership of Church & Metcalf.

But the retirement was short-lived. Later in 1841 Henry Webster was made a Boston offer he couldn't refuse, and he wanted to sell his Providence business. Jabez agreed to buy it back only if his son would go into business with him.

Photo of John Gorham, ca. 1865.
John Gorham ca. 1865.
John Gorham was the third child of Jabez and Amey Gorham, and his mother had died shortly after his birth. He was not quite 21 when he agreed to go into business with his father. (He'd spent the previous few years working on a farm and as a retail clerk.) He did not know much about the silver business, but he was ready to take on the challenge, and it turned out that he was eminently suited to it.

J. Gorham & Son prospered during the 1840s, and by 1847 they had outgrown their space at 12 Steeple St.  There they occupied the first floor, the basement, and half the attic, while Church & Metcalf (who'd acquired the jewelry business in 1841) worked on the second floor. Power when needed was provided by a horse-driven shaft in the basement; when they wanted extra horsepower on the first floor, they called through a speaking tube to the basement: "Get up, Dick!" They needed a steam engine but the building wasn't big enough to support it.

So John suggested they buy the lot next door, and build a four-story brick building, equipped with a 50-horsepower steam engine, to house manufacturing.

By 1848, Jabez had become nervous about the debt burden they were undertaking for the expansion, and so John (at the age of 28) bought him out, and became sole owner of the company, and Jabez retired for the second time.

The new building was completed in 1849, and by 1850 John was running a company with 14 employees that had nearly tripled its sales (to $30,000) since 1841.

But John did not want to rest on his laurels--he had a plan for expanding the company and four strategies for achieving his expansion goals. These strategies would seem obvious today, but in 1850 they were revolutionary:
  • Make all kinds of silver wares, not just spoons
  • Make only the best wares in the latest fashions
  • Mechanize operations
  • Hire a dedicated sales force and support it with a vigorous marketing campaign

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

Photo of John Gorham from rootsweb, an community.

An exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published 1997 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gorham Silver, Part 1: The Entrepreneur

Seril Dodge House, Thomas St., Providence RI.
Seril Dodge House, Thomas St., Providence.
Gorham was a name I always knew. I picked out my silver pattern when I was 12; "Celeste" was a brand-new pattern that year, and I think I saw the ad for it in American Girl magazine. My folks would give me a few pieces in my stocking every year, and wedding gifts finished the set for me. (I'd never pick out this pattern today--it looks very Disney/early space adventure to me now!!)

My Mom's silver was Gorham too. The "Lyric" pattern was introduced in 1940, so it was still a new pattern when she was married during the war in 1944.

This all came rushing back to me during the past month while I researched the history of Gorham for a special walking tour I conducted (along with two other guides) last Saturday. It was cosponsored by the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, and we visited both locations plus a number of stops in between.

To tell the story of Gorham, we need to go back to 1784 when two men named Seril and Nehemiah Dodge moved from Connecticut to Providence. They were either half-brothers, or uncle and nephew, and they are credited with developing the process of electroplating--depositing a thin layer of gold or silver on copper. Keeping in mind that only the well-to-do could afford jewelry made of pure silver and gold, the Dodges were able to make jewelry that could be sold to a wider audience.

Seril built two houses on Thomas Street in Providence in the late 1780s and early 1790s; both are still standing and now part of the Providence Art Club. He returned to Connecticut in 1796, but Nehemiah stayed in Providence. He opened a shop on Main Street, and he advertised his business in 1798 as selling "gold necklaces, knobs and twists, gold rings, miniature cases, and fine jewelry."

Jabez Goham House, Benefit St., Providence RI.
Jabez Gorham House, 56 Benefit Street, Providence.
Nehemiah lived at 65 Benefit Street, a few blocks from his shop. (The house is no longer there; a different house was moved to that location some years ago.) Across the street, at 56 Benefit, lived the Gorham family.

Jabez and Caty Gorham had eight children--their fifth child, born in 1792, was called Jabez like his father, grandfather, and great-great-grandfather before him. When young Jabez was 10 years old, his father died. This must have created financial pressure on the family, and at 14 Jabez was indentured as an apprentice to his neighbor, Nehemiah Dodge, to learn jewelry making.

3 Steeple St., Providence RI.
3 Steeple Street, Providence.
In 1813, when Jabez completed the seven years of his apprenticeship, he opened a partnership with four other young men to make jewelry. Their firm (called "The Firm") was located in a building that no longer exists--the location is a parking lot at the corner of North Main and Steeple Streets. But the building must have looked much like the 1793 building that sits at the other end of Steeple Street (#3).

The Firm prospered for a few years, but hit a snag in 1818 and the partnership dissolved. However, Jabez Gorham stayed in business at the same location, operating under the name Jabez Gorham, Jeweler.

In the 1820s, with his business expanding, Jabez moved across the street to #12 Steeple. He was one of the first to manufacture what was called "French Filigree" jewelry, competing successfully with imported goods. He also designed a special kind of gold chain which became known as "The Gorham Chain." He sold goods from his shop on Steeple Street, and through peddlers--the manufacturer's reps of the day. He also traveled throughout New England and New York on sales trips himself. So he was a manufacturer, a retailer, a traveling salesman, and a sales manager--all at the same time!

Gorham coin silver spoon, ca. 1845.
Gorham coin silver spoon, ca. 1845.
In 1831, Jabez took on Henry Webster (a Boston silversmith) and the new Gorham & Webster operation started making coin silver spoons. These spoons had begun to replace pewter spoons in households throughout the eastern U.S. The spoons were very thin in order to keep costs down and make them affordable. (To give you a feeling for how thin, the average Gorham sterling spoon in the modern era weighs about two and a half times a coin silver spoon.)

1831 is considered to be the year that Gorham Silver was founded.

(to be continued)

Illustration Credits and References

Jabez Gorham house photo by the author.

3 Steeple Street photo from the Carlisle Wide Plank Floors website.

Gorham coin silver photo by Replacement Sterling 925 on eBay.

An exhaustive history of Gorham can be found in the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. (Revised edition published by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1997.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Broadway, Postscript

Barnaby Carriage House
Barnaby Carriage House, 159 Sutton Street
On a walk this week down Sutton Street I came across this amazing structure in the middle of a street of frame houses. I jotted down the address and went exploring in my Providence volumes when I got home.

Barnaby Castle
Barnaby Castle, 299 Broadway
Turns out that this is the Barnaby Carriage House, built in 1875. It was originally part of the Barnaby Castle Estate at 299 Broadway, which was featured in my recent series on great Victorian houses on Broadway.  Part 2, A Castle and a Murder, describes the home, and the Colorado murder that helped to make it famous.

The carriage house is large and elaborate, and made of brick, unlike the home it accompanies which is wood frame. My reference book says it has a "Moorish-inspired facade" and that the top center part of the facade used to have a spire and a clock which have since been removed.

According to Zillow, it consists of a single-family residence of 3,480 sq. ft., with parking for six vehicles in the old carriage space. It was on the market for $799,000 for a year (serious wishful thinking!) but with no buyers it was taken off the market nearly two years ago.

You never know what you'll find in the neighborhood!

Illustration Credits and References

Photos by author.

Information about the property from the work Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, by William McKenzie Woodward and Edward F. Sanderson, published by the RI Historical Preservation Commission in 1986.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Before Marriage Equality, This: The Union of Elizabeth Drexel and Harry Lehr

Boldini Portrait of Elizabeth Drexel Lehr
1905 portrait of Elizabeth Lehr. 
This 1905 portrait by Giovanni Boldini, which hangs at The Elms in Newport, RI, caught my eye yesterday and I wanted to know more about the beautiful woman in the glorious orange dress. She is Elizabeth "Bessie" Wharton Drexel, and her second husband was Henry Symes Lehr; this is their story.

Elizabeth was a well-to-do Manhattan socialite from the Drexel banking family. At 21, she had married John Vinton Dahlgren. Ten years later, John was dead and Elizabeth was left a young widow with a seven-year-old son. But one of her friends introduced her to the dashing Harry Lehr--an extremely popular (but distinctly unmoneyed) man about town. He was from "a good family" in Baltimore which had seen a reversal of fortune; like many young men and women of the time he saw his opportunity for redemption in marrying up. 

Lehr was handsome and fun, told a good story, and was a great friend of many women socialites in Manhattan and Newport (including Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, Caroline Astor, and Mamie Fish), who found him amusing. He helped them to choose their dresses, plan their parties, and lure their wayward husbands back. He loved to perform--telling jokes, playing the piano, and often dressing as a woman in various living tableaux.

Photograph of Harry Lehr
Harry Lehr.
He swept Bessie Drexel Dahlgren off her feet, and they married on June 1, 1901. The New York Times wedding announcement noted that Elizabeth was "sweetly gowned in white, instead of grey or heliotrope, the customary selection of widows." Harry was referred to as the "Beau Nash of today" and the "dictator of form and fashion and leader in the '400'."

After their wedding they traveled to a Baltimore hotel to spend the night. Bessie recalled later that she had arranged for a lovely wedding night supper to be set up in the dining room of their suite: "Caviar, quails in aspic, his favorite brand of champagne, the cabinet of cigars I had bought for him, along with the gold and enamel watch set beside his plate." But Harry sent word, via the servants, that he would dine in his room, and she would have to dine alone. Shortly thereafter he showed up to tell the horrified new bride in person that he did not intend to consummate the marriage, that he did not love her, and that he had only married her for her money. 

"I married you because the only person on earth I love is my mother. I want above everything else to keep her in comfort. Your father's fortune will enable me to do so. But there is a limit to sacrifice. I cannot condemn myself to the misery of playing the role of adoring lover for the rest of my life." Harry did promise to treat her well in public and to give her the freedom to do whatever she wanted.

Photograph of Elizabeth Drexel Lehr, dressed for presentation to Kaiser Wilhelm
Dressed for presentation to the Kaiser.
Today we would ask why Elizabeth Drexel Lehr did not simply exit the marriage. But she came from a Catholic family and Elizabeth's mother had actively banned from her company the few divorced women who traveled in her social circle. (The Drexels were so Catholic that Elizabeth's cousin, Katharine Drexel, became a Saint!) Elizabeth therefore felt she could not suggest divorce to her mother and had no one else in whom to confide. And of course she didn't know Harry's other secret, which would be obvious to anyone today: he was gay.

The story is so sad to me because both of these beautiful and talented people had to spend the next 28 years together in a loveless and unconsummated marriage, which lasted until Harry's death. His life prospects without a "good" marriage were probably bleaker than hers--to be poor and gay was not an attractive option. But life for her as a married woman (especially in a marriage with a man who did not wish to control her activities) would be much better than the one she would live as a rich widow (or as an ostracized divorcĂ©e). 

Both of them had outside relationships during the marriage, and after her mother's death Bessie came close to divorce when she fell in love with a man she identifies in her book as "Mr. X". But Mr. X died before she could proceed with the divorce.

Bessie and Harry lived in New York and summered in Newport during the early years of their marriage. They lived primarily in Paris after World War I, though Newport continued to beckon in the summer.

King Lehr and the Gilded Age, a book by Elizabeth Drexel LehrHarry Lehr died in 1929; after his death Bessie read his diaries which revealed his painful secret to her. In 1935 she authored a book about Harry and their life and times entitled "King Lehr" and the Gilded Age. (The quotes above from Bessie and Harry originated in this book, though they have been requoted in a number of other blogs, articles, and reviews.)

Seven years later she married the Irish Peer, Lord Decies. They were together only a few years; when Hitler invaded Paris, Baroness Decies fled to New York and Lord Decies stayed in Britain. They died four months apart in 1944. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Marsden Perry's Skyscraper: The Union Trust Company Building

Union Trust Company Bank BuildingThis week's walk took me past The Union Trust Company Building at 60/62 Dorrance Street in Providence. This gorgeous edifice is a 12-story, steel-frame, brick and stone office building constructed in 1901-1902, and at the time it was the tallest in Providence, and possibly the tallest in New England!

It was built for the Union Trust Company, a bank helmed by Providence financier and industrialist, Marsden Perry, and it was built the same year that Perry bought, refurbished, and moved into the historic John Brown House at 52 Power Street. Stone, Carpenter & Willson, architects, were working on both projects, as well as on a renovation at 2 George Street, where Perry lived prior to moving into the John Brown House. Mr. Perry and his architects must have been very busy with construction details that year! (Not that the bank presidency was all Perry had to keep him busy--he also owned the Narragansett Electric Company and the city's trolley system.)

Banks were expected to be impressive buildings in those days--to instill in customers a feeling of confidence in the wealth and power of the bank and its management. And the Union Trust Company building certainly did that.

Union Trust Company Bank Building in 1906
The Union Trust building in 1906.
Industrial National Bank absorbed Union Trust in 1957 and the first floor continued to be used as a banking hall until 1978. The building was then acquired by Greater Providence Deposit and Trust Company in 1980, and used as their headquarters. Then came the Rhode Island banking and financial crisis of 1991, when the Governor closed 32 credit unions which were under-insured; this bank was one of the casualties.

The first floor became a restaurant called Federal Reserve in 1996, and has been occupied by The Dorrance restaurant since 2011.

Some of the interesting architectural and interior design features of this building include:

The Puritan and the Indian.
    The Puritan and the Indian sign
    Window at Union Trust Company Bank Building
  • a Corinthian-columned entrance with bas-relief figures of an Indian and a Puritan--carved by Daniel Chester French (who is more famous for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and the Concord Minuteman). French appears to have been sought after by numerous local firms in the early 20th century; see my blog entry on French's beautiful elevator doors at another former bank not far from this one.
  • Banks of 20-foot high windows, each with a rosette in stained glass that contains the coat of arms of a major European banking family or center (all the big names of 1901). What reassurance this must have provided to the local bank customers--they could imagine their bank as practically on a first name basis with the Rothschilds, etc.
  • A 12-story staircase of green glass. At the time the bank was built, elevators had been invented, but none was able to handle a 12-story rise. The staircase was designed to let light pass through it from a skylight on the roof, and also was supposed to provide entertainment for those poor unfortunates who had to climb to the 12th floor!! Interestingly enough, Perry installed similar (though much smaller) glass staircases
    Glass Staircase Installed by Marsden Perry at Eliza Ward House
    The glass staircase at 2 George St.
    in the renovation of both his current home (2 George Street) and his future home (52 Power Street). (The staircase at the John Brown House is not open to the public--but you can see the base of it in the back of the building, between the long center hallway and the bookstore/gallery space in the back.)
  • The first double-doored bank vault in New England. In the hurricane of 1938, when downtown Providence flooded up to 13 feet deep, and first floors of all the businesses 
    1938 Hurricane Flood Water Marker on Union Trust Company Building
    Sign on the exterior wall at 60-62 Dorrance St.
    were flooded, the double-doored vault stayed dry inside (unlike vaults at many other banks, where bank tellers purportedly stayed busy ironing the currency dry after the waters receded).
I'll talk about Marsden Perry himself in a future post.

Union Trust Company BuildingIllustration Credits and References

The 1906 photo of the Union Trust Company building is from the Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress.

The photo of the glass staircase at 2 George St. was found on the 2 George Street website.

All other photos by author.

Information on the architecture of the Union Trust Company building from Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, by William McKenzie Woodward and Edward F. Sanderson, published by the RI Historical Preservation Commission in 1986.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On Broadway, Part 3

This post concludes a three-part series on Broadway Victorians with a look at three houses built between 1889-1892.

Today one is a mixed-use building, one is a private home, and one is a social/civic club. All three houses are 2 1/2 story Queen Annes, which was a popular style of architecture from 1880 to about 1910. The American Queen Anne style, for those who don't know (and I looked it up!) includes, among other features, an asymmetrical facade, a dominant front-facing gable, a round, square, or polygonal tower, a porch on the front of the house(often topped with a second-story porch), and a slate or wood roof. You can see all of these architectural features in the three houses whose photos are shown below.

William H. Walton House, Broadway, Providence RI
William H. Walton House, 1889
The William H. Walton House was built in 1889. It features a cross-gable roof, a Colonial Revival front porch, and an octagonal corner tower (which you can just see beyond the front gable). Mr. Walton was a textile manufacturer with factories in South County, and his family occupied the house until the late 1920s. Shortly thereafter it was acquired by the Aurora Club, an Italian-American civil and social organization, which finalized the purchase in December, 1931. Today, the club boasts 320 members, both men and women, of diverse ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds.

Charles L. Eaton House, Broadway, Providence RI
Charles L. Eaton House, 1889
The Charles L. Eaton House, built the same year as the Walton House, features a slate-clad mansard roof, a square corner tower, several dormers, and a covered second-story porch (which was an early 20th century addition). Eaton was an agent for the City Machine Company at Harris and Acorn Streets in Providence. Today the building houses medical offices and apartments.

Francine R. Trowbridge House, Broadway, Providence RI
Francine R. Trowbridge House, 1892
The Francine R. Trowbridge House offers another version of the Queen Anne tower--this one a three-story tower with a cone-shaped roof and a false balcony around the top story. The wonderful front porch features three archways with bulbous, turned posts. The house was built in 1892 by Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Trowbridge--he was a cotton broker on South Water Street in Providence. As far as I know, it is privately owned.

Illustration Credits and References

All photos by author.

Information on the individual houses appears in the work Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, by William McKenzie Woodward and Edward F. Sanderson, published by the RI Historical Preservation Commission in 1986.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On Broadway, Part 2: A Castle and a Murder

Part 2 of "On Broadway" tells the story of an amazing house with a headline-grabbing murder associated with it.

The Owner: Jerothmul Barnaby
Jerothmul Bowers Barnaby
Jerothmul Bowers Barnaby

The wonderfully-named Jerothmul Bowers Barnaby was born in Freetown, Massachusetts in 1830, to a family descended from early New England settlers. He moved to Providence at the age of 22 and started a clothing business, which he ran for 17 years. He married Josephine Reynolds in 1857 and they had three daughters: Mabel, Hattie, and Maud. 

In 1869, Jerothmul opened a men's clothing store in downtown Providence under the name J. B. Barnaby & Co. It grew very quickly to become one of the largest stores in Rhode Island. A year after opening the store, he sucessfully ran for a seat on the Providence City Council, which he held for nine years. 

The House: Barnaby's Castle

Barnaby's profits were apparently large enough for him to hire the prestigious local architectural firm of Stone, Carpenter, & Willson to build a showplace for him and his family in 1875.

Like the two 1867 houses in yesterday's post, this mansion is 2 1/2 stories in height with a mansard roof. The original 1875 house did not include the four-story 12-sided tower on the left, or the round conservatory towards the front of the house--these were added in 1885.

In Providence: A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, the authors state that "the fanciful house is unique in Stone, Carpenter, & Willson's work and probably reflects more of the patron's exuberant taste than that of the firm's architectural attitudes. . . . It is visually both arresting and prominent, factors which make it perhaps the best known late 19th-century house in Providence."

Jerothmul B. Barnaby House, Broadway, Providence RI
Jerothmul B. Barnaby House, "Barnaby's Castle," 1875 and 1885
A year after the house was built, Barnaby mounted an unsuccessful run for Governor of Rhode Island, losing the election by only a few hundred votes. He next campaigned for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives the following year, but also lost that election.

Barnaby retired from the clothing store business in 1889, and died the same year; his Boston Globe obituary carried the headline: "His attack of vertigo proves fatal."

The Murder

Something had happened to Josephine Barnaby in 1866 that caused partial paralysis; according to the New York Times, "her helplessness rendered her the prey of designing servants and other persons." Her husband was thus prompted to leave his estate in trust for his three daughters, giving Josephine only a $2,500 a year allowance. 

Josephine immediately proved her husband's concerns correct by falling under the spell of a local physician by the name of Thomas Thatcher Graves. He told her that paralysis was one of his specialties, and she chose him as her personal physician and confidante. He persuaded her to contest her husband's will, and her daughters, wanting to avoid a trial and the negative publicity which would certainly accompany it, agreed to give her $120,000 in cash. (This was a sum they could clearly afford without difficulty, since their father had left an estate of almost $2 million.) Graves had the money paid to him as her agent (minus a fee for him and the lawyer who drew up the will), and he doled it out to her as he saw fit. He also persuaded her to leave him a healthy sum in her will.

Josephine spent the winter of 1890-91 in a California health resort with a friend, Mrs. Edward Worrell, presumably under the direction of Dr. Graves. At the end of their stay, she and Mrs. Worrell left separately but planned to meet up in Denver, where Mrs. Worrell's son lived. Josephine arrived in Denver on April 9th, and her friend informed her that a package had arrived for her which the Worrells were holding.

Inside the package was a wooden box which contained a bottle of whiskey, and the message "Wish you a happy New Year. Please accept this fine old whiskey from your friends in the woods." Two days later she and Mrs. Worrell decided to indulge in a "toddy" made from the whiskey, and both became violently ill--Josephine died a week or so later, on April 19th, 1891. The cause was poisoning from arsenic which had been added to the whiskey.

Dr. Graves was eventually arrested for the murder; apparently he had been concerned that Josephine might change her will. He was convicted in 1892, and sentenced to be hanged, but he won an appeal of the case based on the assertion that an incorrect instruction had been issued by the trial judge. He was in police custody, awaiting a new trial, when he committed suicide in 1893, bringing the whole sordid mess to a conclusion.

Mrs. Barnaby's murder was supposedly the first recorded murder in the US committed by mail! At least three books have been written about the case--the first one only a year or two after Josephine's death.


The Barnaby clothing store in Providence had moved to a location at the corner of Westminster and Dorrance Streets in 1876, a year after the Castle was built. In the late 1890s, they took over a firm called Jerome Kennedy & Co., and adopted the Kennedy name for their business. (Perhaps Mrs. Barnaby's unsavory demise had something to do with that?) Kennedy's sold menswear in that location until 1978.

The beautiful home on Broadway has fallen on hard times in recent years. In 2011 and 2012, the Providence Preservation Society featured it in their "Ten Most Endangered Properties" list, since it was in a state of disrepair, and had stood vacant and neglected for years. Hopefully someone will preserve this fabulous structure before it's too late!

Update (November 10, 2016)

Reader "Don in Alabama" (see comments below) has sent along a photo of some sales receipts from the Barnaby clothing store in 1876. So cool to see these!

Illustration Credits and References

House photo by the author.

Photo of J. B. Barnaby courtesy of "The Strangest Names in American Political History" website.

Other information from the work Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, by William McKenzie Woodward and Edward F. Sanderson, published by the RI Historical Preservation Commission in 1986, a blog called Westminster Stories, a New York Times article entitled "Dr. Graves Convicted", and a 1921 book edited by John D. Lawson: American State TrialsA Collection of the Important and Interesting Criminal Trials which Have Taken Place in the United States from the Beginning of Our Government to the Present Day, with Notes and Annotations, Volume 13 (Google eBook).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Broadway, Part 1

In most active 19th century cities in the US, growth outside the inner city grew exponentially when public transportation made these areas accessible. The street of Broadway in Providence was first laid out in the 1830s. Some homes were built in the following years, and the street was widened to 80 feet in 1854, when fashionable Broadway became the broadest street in the city--truly earning its name.

But the laying of tracks for horse-drawn streetcars down Broadway in the 1860s truly spurred its growth, and between 1867 and 1891 numerous Victorian mansions were built along Broadway for merchants, manufacturers, brokers, and physicians.  The location, a mile or so from the downtown area, was convenient, and there was plenty of space to build large homes (in contrast to the congested areas closer to the center of town or on the East Side, which had been developed in the 18th century).

Thomas Pierce, Jr. House, Broadway, Providence RI
Thomas Pierce, Jr. House, 1867
This series of posts takes you on a tour of a few of these homes. Today most are condos or apartments, or have been converted to commercial use.

Here, in Part 1, we'll look at three homes built in 1867. All three of these homes are 2 1/2 stories in height with mansard roofs, though they are very different in appearance.

The Thomas Pierce House is an L-shaped house with its entrance porch set within the "L." Thomas Pierce was a partner in his family's boot-and-shoe business, Thomas F. Pierce & Co., which had been established in 1850 and was located in the Arcade in Providence.

Betsey R. Remington House, Broadway, Providence RI
Betsey R. Remington House, 1867
The Betsy R. Remington House is a symmetrical house with a center entrance and an ornate portico. Mr. Remington was a cotton broker, partner in Daniel Remington & Son on South Water Street. Betsey died five years after the house was completed, and Daniel's firm went bankrupt six years after that. But Daniel lived a long life, dying in 1895 in his 90th year.

The Colin C. Baker House is brick, in contrast to the wood houses in the first two examples. It is symmetrical, like the Remington House, and features Eastlake-inspired stone lintels. Mr. Baker was a partner in Stevens, Baker & Company, commission merchants on South Water Street.
Colin C. Baker House, Broadway, Providence RI
Colin C. Baker House, 1867

Part 2 of this post will look at a Broadway house built in the 1870s.

Illustration Credits and References

All photos by author.

Information on the individual houses appears in the work Providence, A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources, by William McKenzie Woodward and Edward F. Sanderson, published by the RI Historical Preservation Commission in 1986.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hasbro: Born and Bred in Providence

One Hasbro Place, Providence RI
One Hasbro Place in LaSalle Square
This morning's walk took me past One Hasbro Place in LaSalle Square in Providence, where 350 marketing and packaging employees of Hasbro set up shop in January. It got me thinking about Hasbro, and its place in the toy industry, and in Providence history.

Today Hasbro is one of the largest "play" companies in the world, second only to Mattel. You may not be familiar with the Hasbro name, but their brands include Transformers, Monopoly, Scrabble, Play-Doh, Nerf, G.I. Joe, Playskool, Fisher Price, Tonka, Milton Bradley, and Parker Brothers.

Hasbro had its origins in a textile remnant business founded by the Hassenfeld Brothers in Providence in 1923. Henry and Hilal were Polish immigrants, and eight family members worked in the business. One of their products was pencil box covers, and they eventually segued into the pencil box making business. When their pencil supplier raised prices, they started making the pencils as well. In the 1940s they expanded into toys, making doctor and nurse kits and modeling clay. In 1952, they introduced Mr. Potato Head--their first big hit.

Can you remember the early Mr. Potato Head? The package included hands, feet, ears, mouths, eyes, noses, hats, eyeglasses, a pipe, and eight felt pieces resembling facial hair; you provided your own potato! This was the first toy ever advertised on TV, and it was advertised directly to children--also a first. Hassenfeld Bros. sold over a million kits the first year! (A plastic potato was added in 1964.)

G.I. Joe represented another story of innovation--the company coined the term "action figure" for their marketing campaign to boys (when what they were selling was essentially dolls in military uniforms).

They had been using the name Hasbro in their marketing during the 1950s, and in 1968 they officially abbreviated the company name to Hasbro Industries; they became Hasbro, Inc. in 1983.

Providence War Memorial
The City of Providence War Memorial in front of Hasbro
The company continued to be run by members of the Hassenfeld family until Alan Hassenfeld resigned from his position as Chairman of the Board in 2008. He still holds a seat on the board, however.

Hasbro Charitable Trust has also been a major donor to various causes, with an emphasis on children. A major gift from the trust was the impetus behind the opening of the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence in 1994.

Berol Pencils

And whatever happened to the pencil business? That company was spun off as Empire Pencil in 1980, and became part of Sanford (a division of Newell Rubbermaid) in 1992. The pencils are now marketed under the brand name Berol by Papermate.

Two homegrown success stories!!

Hasbro Building, Providence RI

Illustration Credits 

Exterior photos at Hasbro by author.

Photo of Berol pencils from Wikipedia.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Barrington Brickyard

Brickyard Pond, Barrington RI
The beautiful Brickyard Pond, in Barrington, RI, is home to rainbow, lake, and brown trout, pickerel and largemouth bass, canvasback and ring-necked ducks, mute swans, and nesting osprey. Its 102 acres are traversed by canoes and kayaks, and its shores traced by runners, walkers, and bikers on the East Bay Bike Path.

But the pond had its start as a less beautiful clay pit, which provided the raw material for bricks used in over 100 buildings on the East Side and in the downtown area of Providence, and employment for generations of French-Canadian and then Italian workers.

Bricks had been made by hand from Barrington clay in the early years of the Colony. But in 1847, Nathaniel Potter of Providence conceived the idea of a commercial venture, and founded the Nayatt Brick Company on the banks of the Mouscochuck Creek and what was then a large swamp.

Potter was the son of a Providence builder of some renown, Earl Potter, and he had learned the building trade as a young man. (His first contract, taken on at the age of 19, was to build the Groton Monument in Groton, Connecticut, a project which took him four years.)

Brickyard Pond, Barrington RI
To harvest the clay, workers used picks and shovels to dig clay by hand from holes 12-14 feet in diameter. The clay was then carried by oxcart to the sizing machine, which formed the bricks, and then to the kilns. It took two weeks to fill the kilns, and three days to fire the bricks.

Nathaniel Potter died in 1874 (and was buried at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence). Within 20 years the company was acquired by the New England Steam Brick Company. The combined company employed 200 workers to dig out the clay: back-breaking work for the men in the pits, and more back-breaking work at home for their wives and daughters to scrub their clay-crusted clothes on washboards.

Early workers at the Nayatt Brick Company were French-Canadian. Later, in the 1880s, harsh economic conditions in Italy sent hundreds of Italian workers to work in the clay pits, and many Barrington families can trace their roots to these early workers.

By 1897, the company was producing 67 million bricks a year, three time more than any other similar operation in New England. In peak operation, in the winter, the yard would operate 24/7.

Brickyard Pond, Barrington RI

By the early 1900s there were enough Italian workers in Barrington that they wanted their own church. The brick company donated land for what became Holy Angels Catholic Church, which saw its first Mass celebrated the week before Christmas in 1913.  (This was not entirely altruistic; the company's expectation was that workers would buy house lots near the Church from the company, and so they did.)

Barrington bricks were shipped all over the world--local World War II vets reported seeing Barrington bricks (with their distinctive markings) in Europe.

By the 1920s, the clay beds were 15 feet below sea level, and workers had to constantly pump water out of the pits in order to dig the clay. This became untenable within a few years, and with the clay running low, production ceased during the 1930s. The pumping was stopped, and the clay pits were allowed to flood with water. In 1940, the town of Barrington purchased the land, demolished all the remaining buildings, and began turning it into the beautiful recreational site it is today.

Illustration Credits and References

General information about the Brickyard can be found on the Barrington, RI website, in an article entitled "History of the Barrington Brickyard" by Ken Mason, on the Barrington Preservation Society and Town Museum website, and on signage along the East Bay Bike Path.

Information about Nathaniel Potter can be found at the Potter Profiles blog.

Photos by author.