Dorchester Illustration 2271 Sally Baker’s House, Savin Hill


Dorchester Illustration no. 2271   Sally Baker House, Savin Hill

Sally Baker lived on Savin Hill Avenue, the part of Savin Hill Avenue that circles the north side of the Hill, nearly opposite Savin Hill Court.

Sarah Baker was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church near Lower Mills from early years until her death in 1866. She lived next to that church for a long time, finally moving to her early home at Savin Hill.  Miss Baker conducted a band-box business for forty years, and when she had gathered $5,000, she invested the money.  She left this investment in her will so that at the end of twenty years, the money would be given to the Methodist Church to build a new house of worship within three-fourths of a mile from her Savin Hill home.  The money became available in 1886, at which time no church existed within the required limit.

In March, 1876, Rev. W. G. Leonard was employed by the Boston Sunday School and City Missionary Society to organize a Sunday School in the part of the city called Mount Pleasant.  For that purpose he leased the old Governor Eustis House on Shirley Street.  In August 1876 a lot on Howard Avenue was leased and a Chapel building was begun.  On October 30th Rev. David Sherman, Presiding Elder of the Boston District, organized a Methodist Episcopal Church.  The chapel was finished and dedicated in November.

In 1899 the Trustees of the New England Conference asked the Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church on Howard Avenue, Roxbury, to disband and add the proceeds of the sale of its property to the Baker estate.  The church was reorganized at Upham’s Corner, and its first meetings were held in Winthrop Hall opposite the site of the proposed church.  The Baker Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church was located at the corner of Columbia Road and Cushing Avenue.  The site chosen was found to be nineteen feet outside the required limit, and special permission was obtained from the Court to use the Baker bequest.  The money had grown to $22,642, and it contributed substantially to the construction of the Baker Memorial Church, which opened in June, 1891.    The site is now a vacant lot at the corner of Columbia Road and Cushing Avenue next to the bank building.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2271 Sally Baker’s House, Savin Hill

Dorchester Illustration 2270 Unitarian Church in Lower Mills


Dorchester Illustration no. 2270   Unitarian Church in Lower Mills

Dorchester’s third church society was formed as a result of disagreement at Second Church in Codman Square.

In the Boston area in the early 1800s ministers would routinely trade parishes to give congregations the opportunity to hear other preachers.  John Codman, the first minister of Second Church, was chosen by the congregation and ordained in late 1808.  Codman was a staunch Congregationalist and was an opponent of the transition of other Congregational churches to Unitarianism in this period.  He would not agree to preaching by Unitarian-leaning ministers to his congregation. The more liberal of his congregation objected, and there was a period of very high tension when two factions met at the Church on the same day, hearing speakers of different opinions.

To defuse the situation, Codman bought out the pews of the liberals, who formed a new congregation and held their first meeting on May 6, 1813, in the Dorchester Reading Room, the back room of a barber shop which had been furnished as a reading room for the people at Lower Mills. At a second meeting in August, the members called themselves “The Proprietors of the New South Meeting-House.” The Second Church was known as the South Meeting-House, and the Third was now called “The New South.”

Their new building was completed in October, 1813, on the west side of Washington Street at Richmond Street and came to be known as Richmond Hall (now 1111-1113 Washington Street) in honor of the first pastor. Ministers from Boston preached until the installation of the Rev. Dr. Edward Richmond on June 25, 1817. The church building pictured in today’s illustration was built to an Asher Benjamin design in 1839-1840 on Richmond Street at Dorchester Avenue, located where the CVS store is. The church building faced Richmond Street.

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2270 Unitarian Church in Lower Mills

Dorchester Illustration 2269 Dorchester Pottery Footwarmer


Dorchester Illustration no. 2269   Dorchester Pottery Footwarmer

Founded in 1895 by George Henderson, Dorchester Pottery Works successfully produced commercial and industrial stoneware for many years. Henderson came from New Haven, Connecticut, where he had been a partner in the S.L. Pewtress Pottery since 1884 in the production of Henderson and O’Halloran wares.

Dorchester Pottery’s wares evolved over the years from primarily agricultural products to decorated tablewares. Mash feeders and chicken fountains were cast from molds for the farmer. Acid pots and dipping baskets were in demand by jewelry manufacturers, and Henderson’s popular foot warmer was known as a “porcelain pig.” Henderson took a patent for the screw-top stopper for the porcelain hot water bottle.  In 1940, Dorchester Pottery’s line of distinctive gray and blue tableware was introduced. It was shaped on the potter’s wheel. It is called slipware with a so-called Bristol glaze.

In 1914, Mr. Henderson built an enormous beehive kiln 28-feet in diameter of his own design made of unmortared bricks. When it was carefully stacked with two or three freight car loads of unfired pottery , the opening was sealed and the kiln was slowly heated with 15 tons of coal and four cords of wood to a temperature of 2500- 3000 degrees Farenheit. After days of cooling, the door would be opened, brick by brick, and the fired pieces removed. The entire process took about one week to complete.

The last firing occurred in the 1970s.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2269 Dorchester Pottery Footwarmer

Program: Period-Appropriate Exterior Paint Colors for Your Old House


Period-Appropriate Exterior Paint Colors for Your Old House

Sunday October 2, 2016, 2 pm, at the William Clapp House, 195 Boston Street

Learn how historic paint color relates to the character of your historic house.  Regardless of the age of your home, the character and appearance of the house can be enhanced through traditional paint placement and the use of colors that relate to its architectural style.

Sally Zimmerman, Senior Preservation Services Manager on the Preservation Services Team at Historic New England (formerly SPNEA), will present an illustrated lecture to help you understand the relationship between traditional paint color and practices and how they affect the appearance of neighborhood homes.

Dorchester Historical Society

195 Boston Street, Dorchester, MA 02125

Posted in Featured Events, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Program: Period-Appropriate Exterior Paint Colors for Your Old House

Dorchester Illustration 2267


Dorchester Illustration no. 2267   St. Peter’s Church, Roman Catholic

In 1858 Miss Elizabeth Higgins and Miss Margaret Sullivan, later Mrs. James Brick, started a small Sunday-School under the auspices of SS. Peter and Paul’s Church, South Boston, for the Catholic children of Dorchester in a carpenter’s shop at Glover’s Corner. In the fall the Sunday-School moved into a currier’s shop on Commercial Street (now Freeport), near the gas-house close to Glover’s Corner. St. Gregory’s was set off from SS. Peter and Paul in 1862 as a parish including the towns of Milton and Dorchester. The Rev. Thomas McNulty was appointed pastor, and he came to the Sunday-School to hear confessions on Saturday afternoons, and in 1869 he began to say Mass on Sundays in Lyceum Hall on Meeting House Hill. The Sunday-School was then transferred to Lyceum Hall under the superintendency of Mr. John O’Brien.
In 1872 Father Peter Ronan, then 28 years old, was assigned to Dorchester by Bishop John Joseph Williams. The Bishop had already selected a lot of land for the location of a new church at Eaton Square. On the lot was an old house, and the surrounding land was one solid bed of rock where a derrick was excavating for the church foundations. On the second Sunday in October Father Ronan said his first Mass in Dorchester in Lyceum Hall, and from then until the autumn of 1875 he worked single-handedly. He lived in the cottage on the church property and had to carry his water from the Eaton House in the middle of the square. The land fronted on Bowdoin Street, opposite the Eaton House, and ran back on Percival Avenue. The old house was the Percival Cottage where an old navy officer, Captain Jack Percival had lived. He had been Commander of the United States frigate “Constitution”, “Old Ironsides.” After the purchase, the cottage was moved back, and it became Father Ronan’s home.

When Father Ronan arrived, the Bishop had already accepted architect’s designs for a church that would seat 700 to be made of brick with a stone basement. Father Ronan’s suggestion to discard the plans and to secure the services of the famous architect, Patrick Keeley, seemed audacious on the part of so young a priest, but Father Ronan had his way. The corner-stone was laid in August 1873, and the upper church was dedicated on February 18, 1884.  In 1891, the grand square tower, visible for many miles around, was completed, with the addition of the beautiful finials at the top. In the same year, the small turret on the side towards the parochial residence was erected. The Church building is representative of the highest quality of the 19th century American Gothic Revival.

The land at that time had a more gentle slope on Percival Street to the front entrance of the church. The city, however, changed the grades and bought the old Eaton home opposite St. Peter’s, where the common and fountain were constructed, necessitating the steep steps that lead to the main entrance of the church. The structure is built of the pudding-stone from the same site, and the exterior of the church is trimmed with Quincy and Cape Ann granite. In 1886 the three-story Rectory of brick also designed by Patrick Keeley was finished on a lot of land on the west side of the Church, purchased from Mr. Nahum Capen. The Percival Cottage was renovated and was known for some years as St. Peter’s Convent, being occupied by the school Sisters. After the erection of the Parish School, the cottage received the addition of a long two-story ell.

A small portion of the parish, including the Commercial Point district, was given to St. Ann’s Parish when it was formed from St. Gregory’s. St. Margaret’s Parish was set off in 1893, including the portions lying south of Washington Village and along the line of Dorchester Bay nearly to Savin Hill and on the west to the burial-ground at Upham’s Corner. In 1902 another portion of the parish was given for the formation of St. Leo’s Parish at the western end of Dorchester.

In 1896 Father Ronan had two projects under way. The erection of the parish school, a three-story brick building was finished in 1898. The architect of this building, as of St. Paul’s Church, St. Peter’s Convent, and the new St. Mary’s Infant Asylum is Mr. W.H. McGinty of Boston. He also built in 1896 a mission church, St. Paul’s, Woodward Park Street. On New Year’s Day, 1908, St. Paul’s became a separate parish.

St. Peter’s Convent new building, fronting on Bowdoin Street at the corner of Mt. Ida Road, was finished in the autumn of 1906. It is a brick building of four stories. The underpinning, water table, belts, sills, caps, and keystones are granite, and the cornice is terra-cotta.

The second pastor was the Rt. Rev. Joseph Anderson, 1917-1927, and the third was Rt. Rev. Richard Haberlin, 1927-1959. James H. Doyle became the fourth pastor in 1959.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2267

Dorchester Illustration 2266 St. Teresa of Calcutta Church


Dorchester Illustration no. 2266   St. Teresa of Calcutta Church, Roman Catholic

Postcard. Caption on front: St. Margaret’s Church, Columbia Road, Dorchester, Mass. Postmarked Aug 13, 1910. Essex Street Station, Boston, Mass. With one cent stamp. On verso: No. B 13537 Published by The New England News Company. Boston, Mass.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonized on Sunday, September 4, 2016, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish in Dorchester changed its name to to St. Teresa of Calcutta Church. Cardinal Sean O’Malley presided over Mass in the church celebrating the canonization announced by Pope Francis earlier in the morning.

The church was built as St. Margaret’s Church. In 1893 St. Margaret’s Parish was set off as the first large offshoot from St. Peter’s. St. Margaret’s was composed of the north-eastern limits of St. Peter’s Parish, including the portions lying south of Washington Village and along the line of Dochester Bay nearly to Savin Hill, and on the west to the burial-ground at Upham’s Conrer. The first pastor was the Rev. William J. Ryan. The present St. Margaret’s building was built in 1904 to the designs of Keely and Houghton in the Romanesque Revival style. [Note that Dorchester Old and New says the building was built in 1899].

St. Margaret’s became Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish when the Archdiocese combined St. William’s and St. Margaret’s parishes in 2004.  From the 1990s through 2004 the Archdiocese of Boston endured the consequences of allegations and lawsuits involving misconduct by priests with the result that the Archdiocese paid out large monetary settlements. The Archdiocese studied its parishes and determined that low attendance and large expenses warranted the closing of some. St. William and St. Margaret were the only two parishes, out of 11 Catholic parishes in Dorchester, that felt a direct impact of the Archdiocese’ reconfiguration process of early 2004. On August 31, 2004, these two parishes merged under the name of Blessed Mother Teresa parish, and the new parish would worship at 800 Columbia Road in the building that is now St. Margaret’s Church.

Now the church name is St. Teresa of Calcutta Church

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2266 St. Teresa of Calcutta Church

Dorchester Illustration 2265 St. Mary’s Church, Episcopal

2265 St. Marys Destroyed by Fire

Dorchester Illustration no. 2265   St. Mary’s Church, Episcopal

Photo after fire of June 15, 1887.

The Rev. John P. Robinson, then Rector of Christ Church, Quincy, conducted a service for a group of about 50 in Dorchester on July 16, 1843. This is the first time, so far as is known, that the book of Common Prayer was publicly used in Dorchester. The first service of St. Mary’s as an organized Parish was held in Lyceum Hall on August 23, 1847. Soon after, Catherine Dodge gave land on Bowdoin Street at the corner of Topliff across from Olney for the construction of a church, and the Building Committee approved an architectural plan by Arthur Gilman. The church building was consecrated in September, 1849. St. Mary’s became one of the strongest and most prosperous parishes in the Diocese outside of Boston. The building was enlarged in the 1860s, and in 1869 a tower with a bell was blown down and never rebuilt. The unexpected social results of the annexation of Dorchester to Boston–the centralization of all interests in the city proper, the removal of many wealthy citizens to the city and effects of the financial crisis following the great fire in Boston in 1872 greatly affected the fortunes of the church.

On June 15, 1887, the church building was consumed by fire. St. Mary’s then acquired land on Cushing Avenue and Stoughton Street for the construction of a new church in the English Gothic style of the 15th century. St. Mary’s Church, designed by Henry Vaughan in Jacobethan Revival style and built in 1888, is a prototype of modern gothic. Saint Mary’s was one of his earliest American commissions and his only known example of a building in the City of Boston. The first service in the new church was held on December 25, 1888. The church was enlarged in 1892-93 (transepts by Hartwell and Richardson), and a parish house was dedicated in September, 1907. The church contains an improtant collection of stained glass windows by Tiffany Studios, Wilbur H. Burnham, Harry E. Goodhue, and Charles J. Connick, all completed between 1902 and 1911. The building displays extraordinary exposed timbers on the ceiling. The early 1900s witnessed the exodus of the rich, leisured class from Upham’s Corner and the influx of the working and middle classes. Many of the new residents were Catholics, and membership at Saint Mary’s began to decline. The post-World War II move to the suburbs also hastened the decline. Today low and middle income parishioners from the surrounding neighborhood attend the church. Upham’s Corner is still predominantly Roman Catholic. In 1867 the Rev. William H. Mills began a mission at Milton Lower Mills that later became All Saints,  Ashmont. The mission of St. Anne’s on Cottage Street, near Dudley, was begun in a barber shop in 1876 by the Rev. W.W. Silvester. In 1879 it was placed under the control of the parish of St. James, Roxbury, and later became a separate parish. The removal of the church from Bowdoin Street had necessitated services in the area of upper Washington Street, and these efforts were organized as a Mission in September, 1888. In September, 1894, the Rev. Charles E. Barnes was engaged to take charge of what had become known as Grove Hall Mission and is today known as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2265 St. Mary’s Church, Episcopal

Dorchester Illustration 2264 Dorchester Ice Cream


Dorchester Illustration no. 2264   Dorchester Ice Cream

It just seems like the right time of year to think about ice cream, especially ice cream in Dorchester. From earlier in the year, we know that Buddy Seymourian was the creator of the Seymour ice cream and the Nutty Buddy.  His Dorchester ice cream company provided soda fountain display cards featuring his products.

The company was housed in the three-story brick building on Ericsson Street in Port Norfolk next to the building where the Boston Winery is now located. Just behind the brick building is the building with the monitor top that now houses the Boston Harbor Distillery.

All these buildings were part of the industrial complex at the northern end of Port Norfolk that was developed in the 1850s by the Putnam Horseshoe Nail Company, later taken over by the Lawley Shipyard, manufacturer of luxury sailboats and motor yachts.

Port Norfolk and the rest of the Neponset area of Dorchester saw an increase in development after the construction of the bridge at Granite Avenue. The bridge denied access Lower Mills landing by larger ships, and the port at Port Norfolk began to grow.  The introduction of the Old Colony Railroad in the 1840s encouraged further development.  Dorchester was part of Norfolk County prior 1870 when it was annexed to the city of Boston, and the name of Port Norfolk came to be used for this area that was now a major port in Norfolk County.  In addition to Putnam Nail at the northern of the peninsula, the Port saw the introduction of the Stearns Lumber Yard at the southern and easterly sides of the peninsula and the Frost Coal Company next to the railroad bridge that crossed the river to Quincy.

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2264 Dorchester Ice Cream

Dorchester Illustration 2263 I-CAR-DE Mayonnaise

2263 I-CAR-DE

Dorchester Illustration no. 2263    I-CAR-DE Mayonnaise

I-CAR-DE trucks sporting Lee Puncture Proof tires were pictured in a 1922 advertisement for the Lee Tire & Rubber Company. I-CAR-DE produced a number of cards using movie stars to promote their products.

Kathleen Aicardi wrote:

Aicardi mayonnaise (spelled phonetically, I CAR DE) was started in the early 1900’s by my great grandfather James A. Aicardi. He began making mayonnaise and selling it door to door. Then eventually the company grew, and they sold mayonnaise, picallili and one other item which I forget right now. Anyway….it was the top mayonnaise in Boston.

The Aicardi Food Products Co., located at 93 Stoughton Street, Dorchester, from at least the 1920s to the 1940s made products for grocery stores. The location was the corner of Stoughton Street and Windermere Road.  Their brand was I-CAR-DE, and one of their popular products was mayonnaise.  They used photos of movie stars on advertising cards.  The founder was James A. Aicardi, who lived at 91 Stoughton Street (same building.  His son James Jr., who lived at 15 Sumner Street, was also part of the company.

From building permit applications, the food production operation seems to have ended in 1944, and the family converted the building to a grocery store. The grocery store operation seems to have ended in 1968.

The 1925 Boston Directory has the following entries:

Aicardi Food Products Co grocer’s sundries 93 Stoughton Dor

Aicardi James A pres and treas Aicardi Food Products Co 93 Stoughton Dor h 91 do

Aicardi James A jr sec Aicardi Food Products Co 93 Stoughton Do h 15 Sumner do

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2263 I-CAR-DE Mayonnaise

Dorchester Illustration 2262 Wrought at Mrs Saunders and Miss Beach’s Academy Dorchester

2262 Needlework by Eunice Bent

Dorchester Illustration no. 2262    Wrought at Mrs. Saunders and Miss Beach’s Academy

Eunice Bent made this piece of needlework at the school for young ladies operated in the first half of the 19th century by Judith Foster Saunders and Clementina Beach. The scan is from Betty Ring’s book Girlhood Embroidery, 1993). There is a verse from the Bible about Hagar on the piece itself (Genesis XII:17 … and the angel of God called unto Hagar out of Heaven…), and a statement on the matte: Wrought by Eunice Bent at Mrs. Saunders & Miss Beach’s Academy, Dorchester.

Of the many schools for young women that sprang up in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Saunders and Beach Academy in Dorchester emerged as one of the most respectable–(Betty Ring. “Mrs. Saunders’ and Miss Beach’s Academy, Dorchester.” in The Magazine Antiques, August 1976).  Today the school is especially remembered for the noteworthy silk embroideries created by the students under the supervision of the proprietors whose goal was to prepare the daughters of well-to-do families to attract an appropriate husband and to take their place in society.

The women purchased the house for their school on Meeting House Hill from William and Frederick Pope, lumber merchants based in Dorchester.  Saunders had already operated a school in her hometown of Gloucester and was known for her exceptional skillful teaching of needlework as early as 1802.  She had no children, and little is known of her husband Thomas Bradbury Saunders who died in 1810.  Her well-known cousin Judith Sargent Murray helped Saunders and Beach with the description of their new venture

“I drew up the following preamble, and subjoined terms … Informed that the Town of Dorchester is destitute of a Seminary for Young Ladies, and impressed with reports of a high idea of the salubrity of the air, eligibility of the situation, and liberal urbanity of the inhabitants—two ladies, the one a native of America and the other born and educated in England …propose forming an academy in that place, where they will receive young Ladies as boarders upon terms hereafter to be committed …”— (Letter dated November 29, 1802: Judith Sargent Murray to Judith F. Saunders).

In March, 1809, the following subjects available at the Academy appeared in an advertisement published in the Columbia Sentinel:

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Letter Writing, Geography and the use of the Terrestrial and Celestial Globes, French Language, Embroidery, Drawing and Painting, in oil, water colors, crayons, &c., tambour, plain, and ornamental Needle Work, drawing and coloring Maps and Mercator’s Charts.

No other school in the vicinity advertised its facilities more profusely or consistently. The census of 1810 shows an astonishing total of forty people were then residing in this house: one young male, thirty-six young ladies, and three women.  It is difficult to imagine how so many could have been adequately lodged in a house which had about nine rooms.  The house was enlarged by the addition of a long ell at the rear in 1817.  From 1822 to 1824 they conducted their school at other locations, but in May, 1825, they returned to their house in Dorchester, where they continued teaching at least until 1834 –(Betty Ring).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dorchester Illustration 2262 Wrought at Mrs Saunders and Miss Beach’s Academy Dorchester