Dorchester Illustration no. 2293 1138 Adams Street
This realphoto postcard shows the home of R. M. Davis at 1138 Adams Street about 1910. Notice the window hoods, the divided panes in the windows, the brackets in the gables, the shutters and the porch railing. The window hoods and the brackets are still in place.
Randall M. Davis was a chocolate maker, who owned and occupied the house with his second wife Mary and his son James, who was a furniture repairer and caner. Randall was born in Canada, immigrated to the states in 1845 and served in the 1st Maine during the Civil War from late 1836 to June of 1865. In 1890 he was living at 60 Sanford Street in 1890. In the postcard there is a sign on the front porch for James’s chair-caning business.
The house does not show up on the 1882 atlas but does in 1884. It was owned by James Pope and may have been built as an investment property since Pope owned a large tract of land and other lots in Lower Mills. Randall bought 1138 Adams Street October 19, 1893, with no down payment and a mortgage of $2,200, and his name appears in the atlases as owner through 1933 when the last Bromley atlas was published. The list of Boston residents shows James living alone in 1934 and 1935 with tenants. In 1936 no-one named Davis is listed at this property.
The house is currently shown as a 2-family in the assessing records and may have been built that way. Each of the census records available show another household living in the building. In 1910, for example, Abby L. Bates and her two daughter who were both teachers living in the house in addition to the Davis family.
Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at
The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org