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Exhibits at the William Clapp House


The Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection

The Dorchester Historical Society houses the Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection. Huebener collected one brick from each Dorchester house he thought significant, often when the house was being demolished. He then chose from various local artists to paint a picture of the house onto the brick. The collection ,which numbers over one hundred bricks, is not only a record of the architectural history of Dorchester but also an intriguing and possibly unique form of folk art. Edward Huebener, who was born in Dorchester in 1851 and died in 1936, lived at a time when many of the fine, early Dorchester houses remained standing, and some of Dorchester's early houses are known only from the paintings in the collection. Huebener spent his life in constant pursuit of local history and was an authority on the design of each house depicted in the collection. The "EAH" trademark on many of the photographs and other materials in the collections of the Dorchester Historical Society is symbol of his legacy. In his later years, Huebener's eccentric personality intensified. It is said that he not only made his own coffin but sometimes slept in it.


The Gleason Pewter and Silver-Plating Company Collection

Roswell Gleason began as a tinsmith in the 1820s, but later with the encouragement of Daniel Webster, Gleason and one of his sons opened the first silver-plating establishment in America. His house and 15 other structures including stables, outbuildings and factory buildings were located on a property of 25 acres with a 1,000 foot frontage on Washington Street. Park Street was installed on the southern border of his land. Gleason's ability to adapt to changing tastes and to keep abreast of technical advances in manufacturing allowed his company to proper. When Gleason began the production of silver-plate, the style of his work began to change from the simple, traditionally inspired design of his early work to a more heavily ornamented and opulent style which better suited the tastes of his Victorian clientele.


Dorchester Pottery Works Collection

Founded in 1895 by George Henderson, Dorchester Pottery Works successfully produced commercial and industrial stoneware until the 1970s. 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." In 1940, Dorchester Pottery's line of distinctive gray and blue tableware was introduced. 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. By the 1950s when the Pottery turned out 1,700 distinct items twenty-five percent was tableware, and by the 1960s tableware was one hundred percent of the production.

For a slide show about Dorchester Pottery Works click here

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