I have recently made the acquaintance by email of Mr. Jack Ryan, a board member of the Malden Historical Society. He is particularly interested in the town’s architecture and asked if I had any information about architects or builders involved in the construction of the Dutton houses at Glen Rock. He noted that B.F. Dutton’s house was built in the Italianate style—an architectural style that became popular in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, and which is characterized by flat roofs, wide eaves, and large corbels, reminiscent of the villas of Renaissance Italy. While I have never seen anything about who designed or built the Glen Rock houses, Mr. Ryan indicated he had some ideas on the subject and asked if I could determine precisely when the construction of each house occurred.
B.F. Dutton’s large “mansion house” at Glen Rock was reportedly constructed about 1870 by George Lochman, from whom B.F. purchased the property in 1878. This date comes from a statement in a 1910 Boston Journal article that the house had been built 40 years before (see my book, p. 9, n. 14). Lochman, originally from Pennsylvania, resided in the Boston area for a number of years representing coal interests in his native state, but eventually returned to Philadelphia.
In 1880, two years after purchasing the Glen Rock property, we find B.F. Dutton and his family neatly enumerated in the U.S. Federal Census (click on the image to see an enlargement):
At this early date, B.F. Dutton’s house was still the only residence on the Glen Rock property. All of his children, except Harry, were as yet unmarried and living at home. (And yes, son Frank was called “daughter” by the census taker.) Harry Dutton, married three years earlier, was living in 1880 with his Houghton in-laws in the neighboring town of Melrose.
A fire in Washington in 1921 destroyed the original copies of the 1890 census, so our next census look of the family does not become available until 1900, as shown here:
At this time in 1900 the family was living in four distinct households at Glen Rock:
1. The B.F. Dutton household, consisting of himself, his wife Harriet, son George C. Dutton, daughter-in-law Gertrude (Stevens) Dutton, daughter Nina, and father-in-law George Conant.
2. The Alexander McGregor household with wife Claire, two children, and four servants.
3. The John W. Little household with wife Cora (Dutton) Little and son John D. Little.
4. The Joseph B. Claus household (further down the page) with wife Ellen (Dutton) Claus.
(The Roush, Davis, and Connors households, listed between the Little and Claus entries, were all headed by persons working for B.F. Dutton in his stable: Roush was a hostler [a handler of horses], Davis was a coachman, and Connors was a horse trainer.)
While this census entry shows that three additional houses had been built by 1900 for Ellen, Claire, and Cora, it does not help us date when they were built.
My grandmother reported that when each of his children married, B.F. Dutton offered to build them a house at Glen Rock. Of those who accepted, Ellen married Joseph Claus in 1883, Cora married John W. Little in 1886, Claire married Alexander McGregor in 1895, and George married Gertrude Stevens in 1897. While this would suggest approximate construction dates for their houses, confirmation of the dates would require additional records. We know from the census that George and Gertrude were still living with B.F. Dutton in 1900, three years after their marriage, so the marriage dates are not necessarily good guideposts as to when the houses were built.
Although we do not have additional census records to illuminate the twenty years between the 1880 and 1900 enumerations shown above, we do have a very valuable census substitute—Malden city directories—that we can use to try to zero in on exactly when each of the houses was built. Most Massachusetts towns in the latter part of the nineteenth century regularly produced city directories, naming all of the heads of household and businesses in town and often providing other valuable information. For Malden there is good run of directories available online, starting in 1868, published approximately every two years through the 1960s.
B.F. Dutton first appears in the Malden city directories in 1880, his entry indicating he was in the “dry and fancy goods” business located at 55 Tremont Street in Boston. His house at Glen Rock was described as being located at the “head of Summer” Street in Malden:
Dutton Benj. F., dry and fancy goods (55 Tremont, B[oston]), house head of Summer [St.]
Four years later, in the 1884 directory, we find two entries of interest:
Dutton Benjamin F., dry and fancy goods (55 Tremont, B[oston]), house head of Summer [St.]
Claus Joseph B., prof. of music (N.E. Conservatory, B[oston]), h[ouse] Glen Rock cottage
Ellen Dutton, who had married Prof. Claus in 1883, was therefore already living by 1884 in the small house that her father built for her on the property. In directory entries in later years, the Clauses’ residence was consistently called “Glen Rock cottage.” So their house was the first to be built on the property for the children, undoubtedly in the period 1883–84. [Note that this contradicts my grandmother’s account in the book that Cora’s house was the first built.] In their 1891 directory entry, Prof. Claus’s two sons from his first marriage were shown as living with them. The younger son, Henry E. Claus, was described as a “teamster” [a person who drives a team or a truck for hauling] and working at 55 Tremont Street in Boston, which was the address of the Houghton & Dutton store. B.F. Dutton was always willing to employ any member of his extended family who wanted to work in the store, and this is another example of that.
Cora Dutton was the next of B.F. Dutton’s children to marry. She and John W. Little were married in the fall of 1886, so it is not surprising to find in the 1886 directory that John W. Little was still listed as living with his parents at 48 Cross Street in Malden (the directory being published before the marriage). His occupation that year was given as “clerk” and his business address was 55 Tremont Street in Boston, showing that he too was employed by the Houghton & Dutton store.
Two years later, in the 1888 directory, his entry is:
Little John W., clerk (55 Tremont St.), boards Glen Rock, Summer [St.]
Although he had now moved from town to the Glen Rock estate, he is described as a boarder, which probably indicates that he and Cora were not yet living in a separate house of their own. That would happen, however, by the time the 1891 directory was published:
Little John W., salesman (55 Tremont St.), house, head of Summer [St.].
Therefore, Cora’s house was the second one built for B.F. Dutton’s children, constructed between 1888 and 1891. John Little would continue to be shown as working for Houghton & Dutton through 1900, when he was listed as an assistant supervisor in the store.
In the period 1900–1902, Cora and John W. Little separated and eventually divorced, and she would marry her second husband, Albert B. Lounsbery, in 1904. When she and John Little separated, it appears that he quit working for Houghton & Dutton and became a full-time musician. In the 1904 directory, they are found under separate entries:
Little Cora Mrs. boards B.F. Dutton’s
Little John W., musician, 126 Cross [St.], b[oar]ds.
According to my grandmother, “soon after [Cora] and Uncle John Little were divorced, [their house] was sold to some people named Sawyer, and they lived there for many years.” By 1908 the Malden directory shows Frederick R. Sawyer living there, his residence described as “house Glen rd head of Summer [St.].”
B.F. Dutton’s daughter Claire married Alexander McGregor in 1895 and their house was built between then and 1897, when we find in the directory:
McGregor, Alexander, ins. agt., house Glen Rock, head of Summer [St.]
The George Dutton house was the last of the children’s houses to be constructed at Glen Rock. Though he and Gertrude were married in 1897, they were still listed as living in B.F. Dutton’s household at the time of the 1900 census, and he was described as a “boarder” in B.F. Dutton’s house in the 1902 directory. Two years later in 1904, George was living at 50 Dexter Street in Malden, a short distance from the Glen Rock property. It would appear his house was built between 1904 and 1906, as in the latter year he was described as living in his house at “Glen Rock head [of] Summer [St.].”
By the time of the 1910 census, we find all five of the Glen Rock houses listed together (shown as numbers 3–7 on the census sheet below) with their current household members—and nearly as many servants!