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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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gore Place’s Open Carriage House, 14 June

On Sunday, 14 June, Gore Place in Waltham is inviting the public to view its newly renovated (and recently relocated) carriage house.

This structure dates to 1793, thus making it even older than the brick mansion that defines the Gore Place estate.

Christopher and Rebecca Gore bought that property starting in 1789, then tore down the existing house and had their first mansion and outbuildings erected in 1793. After their wooden house burned while they were in Europe in 1799, they replaced it with the grander, more modern brick mansion in 1806.

The carriage house strikes me as particularly symbolic given Christopher Gore’s rise to wealth. His father, John Gore, was a decorative painter in pre-Revolutionary Boston. The Gore shop specialized in heraldic devices, so the elder Gore and his apprentices and at least one son, Samuel, no doubt painted coats of arms on richer men’s carriages. In particular, the Gores were close to Adino Paddock, a coachmaker with a large workshop opposite the Granary Burying-Ground, and Paddock’s customers included John Hancock.

After a Harvard education, training in the law, and lucrative investments in Continental bonds and many of Massachusetts’s earliest corporations, Christopher Gore could afford a grand carriage himself. His equipage even became a campaign issue when he ran for governor in the first decade of the nineteenth century.

In a 1790 letter to Samuel Adams, John Adams used the Gores as one of four examples of Boston families that had risen from the ranks of mechanics into genteel status as a “natural aristocracy.” Rebecca Gore’s family, the Paynes, was another.

The Gore Place open house, or open carriage house, is scheduled to take place from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. It is free, and light refreshments will be served. To know about how many people to expect, the site asks visitors to reserve a space through goreplace@goreplace.org.

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