April 17, 2020 Four Historic Homes to Love in East Boston’s Eagle Hill
East Boston’s Eagle Hill Historic District is a residential district chock full of single-family and multiple-family wood frame housing that showcase a wide variety of architectural styles including Italianate, Second Empire or Renaissance Revival in style, with earlier Greek Revival and later Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styling present in smaller numbers. The area is defined by Meridian, Lexington, and White Street which meet at Prescott Square. This part of East Boston saw a peak in development between 1834 and 1900. With so many historic homes, it’s hard to chose our favorites.
Chapman House (1825)
Located on Eagle Hill, the Chapman School was one of three public schools in East Boston. Founded in 1825, the grammar school educated about 425 boys and girls in its first year and by 1856 the number of students had increased to 645 with 12 teachers who conducted daily classes. From photos from inside the school, students were able to learn vocational skills and in workshop settings. Today the building is a collection of 30 one and two bedroom apartment homes.
Donald McKay House (1844)
The Donald McKay House is a privately owned historic house, which was originally the residence of Donald McKay, a builder of clipper ships. The combination Italianate and Greek Revival home is located at 78–80 White Street. McKay was the responsible for kickstarting the growth of East Boston and was a major mover in the economic prosperity of Boston. Of all the clipper ships built, the “Flying Cloud” (1851) was famous for making the trip from New York to San Francisco, around the tip of South America, in only 89 days.
The Trinity House was built in 1847 for entrepreneur Noah Sturtevant. Since 1888, it operated as a social services center Trinity Church. The house was named for the Trinity Neighborhood House and Day Nursery in 1917. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places listings in northern Boston, Massachusetts. The building is now owned by Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. and is a 16-unit single resident occupancy (SRO) facility for the formerly homeless.
Paul Curtis Mansion (c1860)
A fellow Clipper Ship builder, Paul Curtis also had a mansion in Eagle Hill in East Boston. The house was built around 1860. The Victorian mansion is situated at the base of Historic Eagle Hill, overlooking the Mystic River. He continued to build boats at East Boston until his retirement from shipbuilding. James Curtis also continued building ships on his own at Medford. The Estate is a Victorian Masterpiece that has been transformed in 2011 into four luxury condominium residences.