Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
  • Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
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Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
MAR
Evacuation Day
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Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
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Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
MAR
The Most Interesting Gentlemen RETURN on
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Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
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Isabella Stewart Gardner Carriage House

Carriage house thumbnailThe Ingersoll-Gardner Carriage House was originally built by Captain Nathaniel Ingersoll in 1806. Ownership passed to John Gardner and then to Jack and Isabella Stewart Gardner in the 1840's as part of the family estate, Green Hill, in Brookline. The building contains a large front portion as a clean enclosed coach room, and a barn area at the rear for animals and "dirty" tasks, with hay storage and a dovecote. The entire northeast quadrant of the interior, the barn area, is open to the roof. The structure of the carriage house has stayed much the same. The exterior walls were originally horizontal clapboards later covered by hand-driven pine shingles about 15 inches long. The original trim was painted a cream color. Lean-to structures have been added, rebuilt, and modified, most recently in 1933. (Click thumbnail image to enlarge)Carriage house thumbnail

RESTORATION PROCESS

Acquisition:

The property on which the carriage house was originally built was developed into several house lots and the carriage house was to be destroyed. Neither the Brookline Preservation Commission nor the Transportation Museum could raise funds rapidly enough to move it by mid-February 1999 according to the new owners' wishes. The Shirley House Association accepted the structure as a gift at the end of December 1998 and began the process to move it immediately.

Dismantling/Restoration Process:

Carriage house thumbnailDuring January and February 1999, the carriage house was dismantled by Preservation Timber Framing, a company with experience in moving historic structures. It was carefully studied as it was taken apart and documented by photographs and video. Horse stalls and cow stanchions were found and preserved for re-installation. (Click thumbnail to see images of the carriage house being disassembled)Carriage house thumbnail

Repairs:

All parts of the structure were removed to a Roxbury warehouse, owned by YouthBuild Boston, for temporary storage. It was found that repairs to the frame and joists would require more work than originally estimated, increasing the costs of reconstruction by $60,000. Some timbers were in unusable condition and had to be replaced. The more than 180 essential repairs had to be undertaken with historically accurate methods and certified for strength and safety before a building permit was issued by the City of Boston for reconstruction.

Re-assembly:

(Click here to see images of the carriage house being reassembled)Carriage HouseCarriage HouseCarriage HouseCarriage House

The entire building was stored during the winter months in two large containers. Additional costs were incurred as the new foundation based on City of Boston requirements to excavate to undisturbed soil - Boston "blue clay" - ended up being 14 feet deep. Erected by Yankee Steeplejack Company during the winter of 2000-01, the finished structure was dedicated on May 18, 2001 by Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino. Horses with park rangers attended the ceremonies with about 120 other guests. As the carriage house is large (35' x 55'), there is room for community meetings, events and functions. The new lean-to houses a kitchenette and handicapped accessible uni-sex restroom. Carriage house thumbnailNot many carriage houses of this vintage have survived. As we converted to the automobile for transportation, carriage houses were destroyed, burned down or were converted to garages. The Gardner carriage house has the fine Greek revival styling of the Federal period, and closely resembles the original Shirley carriage house.

The Eustis coach, in its un-restored grandeur, as well as other carriages are displayed. (Click thumbnail image to enlarge)

Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley
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Historic Shirley-Eustis House | Built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley