Thse pictures were taken 100 years ago. But where?
September 5, 2014 7:24 PM   Subscribe

These two pictures were taken somewhere close to Boston, MA, probably in Malden, but possibly in Chelsea or Revere. Can you tell me the address of the house?

It's the longest of longshots, I know, but the Hive Mind has done the seemingly impossible in the past, so I'd thought I'd give it a try. I believe the pictures were taken in the 1915-1922 time frame, but maybe a fashion history expert could tell more accurately from the clothing. I think the people in the pictures would have been wearing the latest thing.

I have no reason to believe the house is still standing, though I see many similar ones using Google Street View in the area. I thought maybe the railings, columns and staircase might be sufficiently distinctive to jog someone's memory.
posted by Right On Red to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
By any chance are there names associated with these faces? The 1920 census or city directories would give street addresses.
posted by Knappster at 7:44 PM on September 5, 2014

Response by poster: I know the names of three of the people. Two of them were living elsewhere (Dorchester), and the third name was not in any of the city directories I could find at the B.P.L. I've tried searching the census records by name, but no joy.
posted by Right On Red at 7:55 PM on September 5, 2014

The clothes seem like they would be at the later end of the range of years you gave. I can't see the length of the women's dresses/skirts, but the looser, more casual styles and cuts of their tops seem much more modern. Beyond that, I have no idea. There's something about the 2nd picture (the one with the two boys) that seems kind of beachy or like the seaside. The quality of the light strikes me as what you find in a neighborhood right on the water, though of course this could be due to the exposure or that day's weather or any other factor. But if it is near the water, that would suggest Revere.
posted by primate moon at 8:16 PM on September 5, 2014

I agree with primate moon that it looks likes house near the water. Their clothing suggests that it's summertime also...

The railing and columns look quite grand to me. It reminds me of some of the big houses on Lynn Shore Drive in the Diamond District area of Lynn.

Just curious, what made you think Malden or Revere?
posted by Sal and Richard at 8:30 PM on September 5, 2014

Regarding the Lynn Shore Drive hypothesis: the income level looks about right, but looking on Street View, I'm seeing an overwhelming consensus in the older homes towards Doric columns, rather than the Ionic columns in the photos. Most likely the house we're looking for will be in a similar cluster of homes, but with the slightly fancier volutes on the capitals.
posted by fifthrider at 9:19 PM on September 5, 2014

Incidentally, if dating the house helps at all, it looks to my (admittedly untrained) eye to be in the Second Empire style, which (if digging through lists and lists of Massachusetts historic houses on Wikipedia is anything to go by) was in vogue in Massachusetts in the late 1860s to 1870s. There are a lot of surviving examples in Newton that look similar to this house, such as the Potter Estate, which, although obviously much grander in scale than this house, shares many of the same decorative sensibilities.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia and Street View seem to be in agreement that Malden lost a good chunk of its older buildings to midcentury urban renewal. I'm not too hopeful that we'll find where this home is or was without a richer paper trail.
posted by fifthrider at 9:52 PM on September 5, 2014

Can you tell us the significance of the pictures / people / information for you? I think that would possibly help to motivate people to assist..
posted by napulist at 11:56 AM on September 6, 2014

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