May 312014

We began this morning in my favorite genre, Japanese revival.  The house is just lovely, as are the couple that own it.  They still have a lot of restoration to go, but what they have done is just perfect.  The house is called the Knapp house and was designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1894. Cram was better known for his churches and revolutionizing church design in America.  The house is also called The Rising Sun, and I was in love.

Rising Sun House

Tori Gate Doors

Notice the Tori Gate Surround


this was my favorite room.  It is the parlor off of the front door with this great little fireplace


This chipped wood wall blew my mind


Check out the Tokobishira and the grass painted wallpaper


This is the second floor, take a look at this great woodwork.


The dining room has these unusual china cabinets.


Over the fireplace


We then headed to the town of North Easton.


This is the gatehouse to the Ames Estate.  It was designed by H. H. Richardson and the gardens are by Frederick Law Olmstead.

The right hand side was a guest cottage and the left was the gardeners shed.  The Ames Shovel Company traces its beginning to 1774 when Captain John Ames began making iron shovels at West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. His son Oliver moved the company to North Easton in 1803. Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and in Australia in 1851, which created a worldwide demand for the company’s shovels.

 The Ames brothers entered politics and became influential in financing the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, as well as the development of the village of North Easton. Expansion of the shovel factory continued over the years until 1928.

Ames shovels became standard issue for troops in the U.S. Army for every conflict from the American Civil War to Korea.

The Ames Shovel Company ceased production in Easton in 1952



The house has pretty much been remodeled past recognition, but there is this marvelous fireplace.  The tiles are Tiffany tiles, and the fireplace carvings are by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  The covering over the little settee is lincrusta.

Ames House


On the second floor was a wishing well, and this Saint-Gaudens frog is sitting on the outside of the well.


Train Station

This is the local train station, The Old Colony Railroad Station, it is also known as the North Easton Railroad Station. The station’s facade is constructed of rough-faced, random ashlar of gray granite with a brownstone belt course and trim. Two large, semicircular arches are ornamented with wonderful carvings of a  snarling heads.

Old Colony RailRoad Station



The station was commissioned in 1881 by Frederick Lothrop Ames, director of the Old Colony Railroad.  The architect was H. H. Richardson.  The building currently houses the Easton Historical Society.


The next stop was the Unity Church. The church was built in 1875 at a cost of $100,000. It was designed by Gothic Revivalist John Ames Mitchell, nephew of donor Oliver Ames.


This frieze, which includes twenty-two oaken seraphim, was carved by Johannes Kirchmayer.  He was born in Bavaria, and educated at the University of Munich, he was considered “one of the most remarkable sculptors of wood”.


The organist, who gave us our tour, said that he had the privilege of helping to clean these, the saints lift out of their niches and are complete carvings, in other words, the backs are carved as well, even though you will never see them.


We were there, however, to see the windows.  There were the two largest LaFarge windows ever made.


This LaFarge window was commissioned by botanist Oaks Ames and his brother Winthrop Ames  in memory of his grandfather Congressman Oakes Ames, and their fathers Governor Oliver Ames and Oakes Angier Ames.  This is the “Figure of Wisdom”



This window is the “Angel of Help” and was donated by Frederick Lothrop Ames.  It was installed in 1886.


But there are more.


This window was by Gorham, better known for silver, they did two in this church.


This window is by Franz Meyer of Munich


And these are by Burnham of Boston.


Ames Free Library

Next stop, the Ames library, again designed by H.H. Richardson. The library was built from 1877 to 1879, although it did not open until March 10, 1883.


There are dragons on most every exterior corner.

Ames Library

Notice the lovely wood barrel vault ceiling

DSC_2246This chair was also designed by H. H. Richardson.


Ames Memorial Hall

Next door to the library is Ames Memorial Hall, not only was this designed by H. H. Richardson, but the citing was done by Frederick Law Olmstead.  Again, a building that has been radically changed inside, but I just loved the sculpture on the exterior.







The stone carver was John Evans, a welsh man and member of the stone carver’s guild of Boston.

We then headed to Bristol………………………

Colt School

Bristol is a lovely town with the country’s largest 4th of July parade, the main street is tree lined with quaint stores, everything you would think of as fairy land New England.  It is also the home of Herreshoff of the Herreshoff Boat Building company. Nathanael Greene Herreshoff I, was an American naval architect-mechanical engineer. “Captain Nat,” as he was known, revolutionized yacht design, and produced a succession of undefeated America’s Cup defenders between 1893-1920

Our tour was a walking tour and I am not presenting them in order here.  One stop was the Colt School, donated and named after the “gun” family. Designed by Cooper & Bailey of Boston in 1906-1913.


This is a Tiffany window in the auditorium.

Colt SchoolI loved the tile floor that looked like puzzle pieces.


This is the Bristol State House.  This was one of the five state houses in Rhode Island.  I just loved the hitching post.


Burnside House

This is the Burnside Memorial Hall designed by Stephen C. Earle in 1883.  Burnside is rumored to be the origination of the term Side Burns.


DeWolf Colt House

This is the DeWolf-Colt House (also known as Linden Place). The lineage is extremely complicated, but essentially it was built in 1810 by Russell Warren.  It was built for DeWolf.  The DeWolf family was the largest single importer of slaves to the United States.  The original DeWolf ran out on his bills in the middle of the night.  The son eventually came in and purchased the house back and found all the existing furniture and reassembled the family home. When that line died out the home went up for auction.  Colt purchased it, and yet no one knew who this Colt was.  Once the deed was recorded it was discovered that Colt had purchased the home for his mother, the daughter of the DeWolf gentleman who left the home in a snow storm in the middle of the night.




Seven Oaks

This is Seven Oaks. The architect is not known but it was done in 1816-1817.

We squeezed a few Gothic Revivals in and then headed out, it was a very full day!