- Boston Landmark Commission Report - report on the designation of 39 Princeton St as landmark.
39 Princeton Street was built by Stephen Huse Whidden in 1864. Constructed as his primary residence at that time, it has remained a single family dwelling ever since.
Both 39 Princeton and 41 Princeton constitute a historic district. A smallest historic district in Boston.
The Whidden House is a single family rowhouse attached to the Joseph Henry Stevenson House at 41 Princeton Street; it is 22 feet wide and 50 feet deep. The two dwellings stand directly on the sidewalk, facing northwest onto Princeton Street. The buildings are surrounded by frame residences on all sides, with the exception of the brick, Joseph Barnes School, which stands to the east of the rowhouses. Two small street trees in front of the buildings are the only landscape features. There are no outbuildings.
39 Princeton Street is a bay-front, four story brick townhouse in a vernacular Second Empire style. The Whidden House has a mansard roof with fish scale slate shingles. There are two projecting dormers on both the front and the rear of the building’s mansard. The Whidden House may best be described as transitional in style since it retains the simplicity of the Greek Revival style while incorporating a rectilinear bay and a mansard roof into its design. The house is constructed of Philadelphia, or pressed, brick, which gives the facade its smooth plane. The window sills and lintels are simple, flush with elevation and constructed of brownstone. The one over one windows (with the exception of those on the sides of the bay) do not appear to be original, and exterior storm windows have been installed throughout. The windows at the basement level on the front elevation have installed iron grates. The original granite stairs and foundation are also characteristically Greek Revival, and at the rear the house there is a concrete block deck.
Some detailing on the house relates more to the Italianate and Second Empire styles than the Greek Revival. The double walnut doors have recessed panels, plate glass lights, and a gently arched top. The door hood is supported by large, heavy, brownstone consoles resting on simple pilasters. The bay is three-sided, without decoration, and extends to the cornice line, ending at the base of the mansard.
The rear elevation is flat, three bays wide with brownstone sills and lintels. The mansard’s gray slate is straight-cut, and the brick cornice is simple and deviates from the front facade with its brick detail motif below the mansard.