J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lectures on “Hidden Gems” of Georgian Architecture

Next month the Paul Revere House is sponsoring and Old South Meeting House is hosting a series of free lectures on “Hidden Gems: Historic Georgian Houses in the Boston Area.” Each talk will take place on a Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 P.M.

7 September
“Liberty Road: Boston’s Georgian Landmarks of the Revolution”
This year marks the 300th anniversary of the construction of the Pierce-Hichborn House, one of the earliest Georgian buildings in Boston. Like that house, many of Boston’s Georgian landmarks have undergone significant transformation over the years. Key civic and religious landmarks, like the Old State House, Faneuil Hall, and the Old North Church, looked quite different in the 18th century than they do today. In addition to discussing surviving Georgian-era buildings, architect and preservation planner Frederic C. Detwiller will also consider such long-vanished buildings as the Province House, the Brattle Street Church, and the Clark-Frankland and Hutchinson mansions in the North End.

14 September
“Freedom and Independence in Colonial Massachusetts: The Royall House and Slave Quarters of Medford”
The Royalls were one of New England’s wealthiest families, having made their fortune from their Antigua sugar plantations. In 1732, they retired to Medford where they lived in lavish style in an early Georgian mansion supported by 25 to 35 slaves. Tom Lincoln, Executive Director of the Royall House Association, will consider the architecture and history of the Royall House mansion and site in the broader context of a slavery regime whose existence and outlines have been well hidden until recent years. He will also discuss recent efforts to re-interpret the slave quarters, and show how the site and its history teach powerful lessons about life in the 18th century.

21 September
“‘A Constant Round of Entertainments’: The Life of the William Brattle House”
Built in 1727 for militia general William Brattle, reputedly the wealthiest man in Massachusetts at the time, the William Brattle House is one of seven Georgian mansions on Cambridge’s Brattle Street known together as “Tory Row.” After the Brattle family was forced to leave following the “powder alarm” of 1774, the house served as base for the Quartermaster General of the Continental Army during the siege of Boston. Wendy Frontiero, architect and historic preservation consultant, will discuss the entire history of the building, including its use as the home of writer and feminist Margaret Fuller, as the residence of numerous Harvard students, and as headquarters of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

28 September
“Rediscovering the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House”
In 2008, the Cambridge Historical Society embarked on an innovative and exciting exploration of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, a late-17th-century building later modified into a Georgian mansion. Because the house was already closed to the public for repainting and electrical work, and because a recent paint study raised questions that could not be answered, the organization seized this rare opportunity to carefully open Georgian casings and discover what might remain of the original first period structure. Cambridge Historical Society Executive Director Gavin Kleespies will show how the paint analysis, a small amount of dendrochronology, and information gathered from a number of strategic openings in the skin of the building answered some questions and provoked many more.

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