The Building

Catherine Hammond Gibson and her nephew, Samuel Hammond Russell, purchased the plots at 135 and 137 Beacon Street on September 1, 1859. She paid $3,696, over $100,000 in today’s dollars.

To design the houses, Catherine and her nephew hired Boston architect Edward Clarke Cabot, who had become famous with his design for the Boston Athenaeum. Cabot (with partner Francis Ward Chandler) would go on to design many Back Bay residences; these two at 135 and 137 Beacon were his first. The house is built in the French Academic style, which is a blend of Neoclassicism and Romanticism. This style is evident in the symmetrical façade and restrained use of ornamentation.

While we don’t know exactly how long it took to build the house, similar houses took about a year to build. On May 25, 1860, the Boston Evening Transcript reported that the house, and its neighbor at 135 Beacon St, were “nearly roofed in.”

For more on 137 Beacon St., see BackBayHouses.org

Exterior of the Gibson House Museum
Exterior of the Gibson House Museum

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The Masonry of the Gibson House Museum
The Masonry of the Gibson House Museum

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135-137 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum
135-137 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

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Exterior of the Gibson House Museum
Exterior of the Gibson House Museum

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