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(It would be interesting to know something about that massive edifice across the street.)
Here's what can be seen of 25 Cottage St on Google Street View. This is the house closest to the street, in the aerial view. Note that the article states the address as 25 Cottage, not 39. And it does not imply that the house was designed by the architect:
" In 1874, he rented the Brookline house from his friend Edward W. Hooper and established his office and library in the parlors on the first floor. "
I am not one of those who waxes nostalgic when viewing the humble first (or last) home a famous person occupied---at least, one of no particular intrinsic architectural value and in which no evidence of the famous person remains. Richardson's legacy rests in the buildings he designed, not in the ones he occupied, as I see it.
By the way, it's 3 houses at risk of being torn down... which is what I circled in the image posted above.
From the article that David linked:
Unfortunately, in November of 2020, the property and its neighbors at 39 Cottage and 222 Warren (the 1857 home of John Charles Olmsted) were acquired by a developer who quickly filed an application to demolish the Richardson House.
The Brookline Preservation Commission will hold a Demolition Delay hearing on December 29 to decide whether to impose an 18-month stay on demolition.
The Richardson House is a significant part of our collective cultural history and represents not just the legacy of Richardson as perhaps the most important architect in U.S. history, but the complex and interesting man and the family behind the legacy. It is the physical embodiment of the idea that greatness can be achieved by imperfect people, living and working together in borrowed houses.
https://www.wned.org/television/wned-pr ... d-buffalo/
That both men settled in Brookline to live as neighbors might be, at least for me, the crux of the story of this 'Richardson house'. It is peculiar though that he chose not build his own home and instead rent one for 12 years.
Here is a photo of the "Richardson home and office" (25 Cottage) from the article:
"With national success under his belt, in 1874, Richardson moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, the wealthiest suburb in America. He was later joined there by Olmsted, whose home and office, Fairsted, bordered his friend’s property. The two men often collaborated on projects."
I am glad to know more about the relationship of Richardson and Olmsted, and of their settling in Brookline. My mother was raised in Newton Highlands, further out Boylston Street from Brookline and the city.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Newto ... 71.2072321
"Richardson intentionally chose to live and work outside of Boston in a “Jamaica planter’s” or West Indian style house that alludes to his youth spent on a sugar plantation in Louisiana."
Perhaps it's fair to say that Richardson mostly designed non-residential projects, and his massive buildings may not have aligned with his residential sensibilities....? Admittedly, I don't know much about his work or artistic philosophy.
The amount of projects the Olmsted Firm did in the greater Boston area––and Brookline itself––is just staggering. I'm sending some more images to SDR to post. Who knows how much of it still remains.... Some portion of these Olmsted projects were simple city lots with basic planting plans, drives, and short walking trails.
Here's an example of one of these small plans:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/olmsted_a ... 416608911/
(zoom in on the image for hi-res detail)
Seems to me that Brookline's history from this period should be preserved and celebrated... Again, not only is this Richardson's home under threat, but also John Charles Olmsted's... Here are all the plans they drew up for his house. Not particularly interesting plans, perhaps, but still seems like a home that shouldn't be demolished...for plenty of reasons.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/olmsted_a ... 4795764146
Perhaps Olmsted had an architecture division . . .
Here's my favorite piece of Richardson, one of several houses he designed: https://www.glessnerhouse.org/the-house
He did shingled houses in New England as well.
https://www.glessnerhouse.org/story-of- ... ssner.html
The courtyard: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... 36875).jpg