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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Monday, March 19, 2012

“Saving Shirley Place” at the West End Museum, 27 Mar.


A year or two after the conquest of the French fortress at Louisbourg, Massachusetts governor William Shirley started to build a fine mansion for himself in Roxbury. Shirley’s mansion passed through many other hands, including the medically trained pair of Gov. William Eustis. It also moved around a bit on the hill where it stands. And slowly it deteriorated.

About a century ago, Bostonians formed the Shirley-Eustis House Association to preserve the building, one of the few remaining private homes of royal governors in the U.S. of A. It took a federal grant in 1970 to fund the restoration of the exterior, followed by interior work in the 1980s. Like any old house, it needs ongoing upkeep and care to survive.

On 27 March, historical architect Fredric Detwiller will speak about “Saving Shirley Place” as part of the West End Museum’s series on historic preservation. This event is free, and runs from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M.

The photograph at top shows the Shirley-Eustis House sometime after 1933, part of this government survey of historic buildings catalogued at the LIbrary of Congress. The building looks much better now.

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