|David Sears House /
Alexander Parris, 1819 / 1832
is inhabited sculpture."
At 42 and 43 Beacon St. the Somerset Club dominates its section of Beacon
hill. Its double bays rise above the roof line, and a substantial rusticated
wall in front of it sets a monumental tone. Though French in design, the
cartouches on its bowed front and the strong roof line give it styling which
fits with its federalist styled neighbors.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the building is how it has been
remade as the Beacon Hill neighborhood grew. Originally the mansion of David
Sears, this was a free standing building, with only the bay on the right,
and a garden between it and the Otis
estate by Charles Bulfinch
at 45 Beacon St.
As land values skyrocketed through the 1820's, maintaining yards and separate
structures on the hill become financially impractical. The Sears family
doubled the home's size, establishing it as the most expensive dwelling
in 1830's Boston.
Merging these mansions was clearly not a consideration when they were constructed.
The neighboring Otis House had a large oval salon facing the Sears House.
When these buildings were connected, the Sears House had to be built around
the Otis' curved side.
In the 1860's Sears relocated to his country estate, the Longwood Cottage
and Farm, in the exclusive Brookline enclave which he had developed. The
Sears House underwent a final expansion after the Somerset Club took it
over in 1872 and added the third floor which is seen here. This final addition
completed the Sears House's transformation from being a distinctive granite
mansion, to the fortress-like row-house seen here as the Somerset Club.