Saturday, October 6, 2007

Edwin Wentworth

E. Wentworth Home
In "South Canton" sits this stately home, set upon a hill and elegant against the sky. At least that is what this image seems to suggest. This is one half of a stereoview image that was taken in 1873. The house was built in 1852 and is on present day Walnut Street. The view is taken from the north facade-still intact in the rear yard. Of great interest in this old photograph is the fact that it shows the Cupola that was said to be once on the roof. According to the present owners the interior stairs that once led to the cupola are still intact.

It is always a great surprise to find that the house in the photo is still standing. So many of our oldest homes have been destroyed or altered beyond original recognition. This home was built for Edwin Wentworth (1805-1896) a prosperous Canton native who was a director of the Neponset Bank and a real-estate developer. In June, 1848, Edwin purchased most of the land between Walnut Street and Rockland Street and by 1853 Edwin had built this Italianate Style house which most likely had been designed by a trained architect who was quite sophisticated in his details and design. In fact, this is perhaps the finest example of a pre-Civil War estate house to survive in Canton with so many original features still intact.

Wentworth married Julia Crane when he was 22 years old and had two children a girl, Mary (whom died when she was 31) and a boy, Edwin who died in infancy. It is heartening to see all the children in the photograph, but none of these are Julia and Edwin's. Most likely these are two of young Mary's children (Helen & Edwin), for Mary had married Horace Mansfield in 1858 and died in 1867 - perhaps during the birth of her son. Whatever the case, the home had been enlarged for Mary and Horace and this photograph was taken six years after she had died. The senior Edwin Wentworth died in 1896 and the property was sold. The image is full of children and what would appear to be the owner in a tall top hat, in fact there are eleven folks in this picture on what must have been a momentous day.

This home still stands more than 155 years later and graces Walnut Street, where several other historic homes still survive. Next weekend, when out on an errand and you drive through Canton Center, take a short detour down Walnut Street, as you pass George Jenkins' house (on your left) look for the large white house set back from the street. You can still drive by and slowly you may see the stately old dame, the context has shifted, but the stories remain.

No comments: