New Images of Glen Rock

Last Saturday, I delivered the keynote address at the Southern Maine Genealogy Conference, which was held in Portland, Maine. My topic was “Documenting Grandma’s Stories: Turning Gossip into Genealogical Fact.” My subject matter, of course, was the Duttons of Glen Rock, and the audience was most receptive to my detailed account of Malden’s first family of the Gilded Age.

On Sunday, I drove to Malden to visit my friend Marilyn Glover. Marilyn is on the board of the Malden Historical Society and it so happens she has lived all of her life right across East Border Road from the main entrance to Glen Rock in one of the twin houses that B. F. Dutton built for some of the workers in his large stable. I had first made contact with her several years back when she was working on a talk to the historical society on the Duttons and I was independently working on my book. It’s a small world!

The weather was perfect. With Marilyn, her sister Linda, and a number of interested neighbors, we spent about three hours walking all over the old Glen Rock grounds, looking at the houses that are there today, figuring out the former locations of B. F. Dutton’s Ticonderoga cannon, the flagpole, the tennis court, the well house, and the grape house, and looking for any remnants still visible of the Dutton estate. We walked into the woods and saw the foundation of the barn and we climbed Tea Rock to see the view of downtown Boston that my grandmother described. In my next posts, I will include some of the photographs that I took on the tour of the property and try to give you a sense of how it is today.

In the meantime, I will leave you with three new pictures that Marilyn had uncovered at the historical society. The first is a drawing of the McGregor house from an old book that had sustained some water damage. This picture is similar to the one I published in my book, but a bit more detailed. Of particular interest, the tree in the foreground of the picture below was recently cut down and the stump–of course much larger around one hundred years later than shown here–is still in the ground. It helped orient me to the exact location of the original McGregor house. A smaller house now stands on that lot in exactly the same spot.


The second picture from the same book is of the south facade of B. F. Dutton’s house at Glen Rock. This one is also similar to the two pictures of the house printed in my book.


For me, the most exciting picture is the third one that Marilyn produced, showing the east facade of B. F. Dutton’s house. I had never before seen a picture of that side of the house. This is the view that the visitor would have had of the house approaching from the Summer Street entrance to the property. You can see that this view is around to the right from the view above. Looking at the two pictures together, one gets a sense of how large (and beautiful) the house was and how perfectly maintained the landscaping was (click on the picture below to get a larger image on your screen).


The Malden Historical Society has undertaken the project of organizing its materials, many of which have not been properly classified and curated. Until now, no one there has been able to locate any photographs of the Glen Rock properties. This seems odd to me since the houses and the barn stood as late as the 1930s. Maybe in the process of reorganizing everything, someone one day will uncover a stash of old photographs.


Additional Notes on Harry Dutton’s Camp

I recently purchased a copy of the book Northwoods Echoes, written and published privately in 1986 by Richard E. Pinette. Chapter 2 is titled “Dutton’s Island” and describes in entertaining detail Harry Dutton’s camp at Lake Umbagog in Maine. According to this book, the island was called by the locals “The Million Dollar Island” because of the money that Harry spent to build his summer home in the middle of Lake Umbagog. According to Pinette, the house, with its seven large bedrooms

. . . was beautifully designed to blend with the natural beauty of the island and the surrounding lake. Its interior was finished with exotic wood panels from distant parts of the world. The red-shingled roof, the first one of its kind in the entire region, sloped down to cover the wide porch which went completely around the mansion to offer breathtaking panoramic views for the guests as they sat outdoors in their comfortable rocking chairs, enjoying the cooling lake breezes during the hot summer days.

Pinette adds that Harry Dutton hired the finest cooks to prepare meals, as well as waiters and servants who served them in the beautiful dining room of the camp, decorated with parqueted wood floors, Persian rugs, and wood-panelled walls with mounted trophy heads from Harry’s hunting and fishing expeditions. The servants lived in separate servants’ quarters on the island (visible in the movies that I posted in the last blog post).

The Duttons love for the game of golf has been well documented, and an island in the middle of the rugged northwoods did not prevent Harry from participating in the sport:

[He] found a spot on the shore of the mainland and he had his own private golf course carved out of the forest at a place known as “Tyler Cove.” Recently this writer [i.e., Pinette] made a special trip to that area to try to locate the site of the old golf course, now completely grown over with trees. With the aid of two foresters . . . the exact spot was located. Still distinguishable are a couple of the greens, now with spruce and fir trees up to fourteen inches in diameter growing out of what was once the putting surface.

With no suitable water supply available on the island, Harry Dutton laid a special pipe across the water on the lake bottom to bring fresh water from Tyler Spring on the mainland using mechanical pumps. A few years after the house was built, the windward shore of the island began to show signs of erosion.

Hundreds of huge blocks of quarried stones weighing several tons each were hauled across the lake ice in the winter months and . . . were used to erect a mighty sea wall and boat slip. The exquisite stone work resembled the walls of an ancient castle moat and they are still visible to boaters today.

In the 1940s, the Union Water Power Company, which controlled the level of the lake, developed plans for a larger and higher dam at Errol, New Hampshire, which would completely flood the island. The company purchased the island from Harry Dutton’s heirs and hired a contractor to dismantle and remove all of the buildings from the island. The buildings were torn down during the winter months and the materials were taken away over the lake ice. Ironically, the construction of the bigger dam never materialized. When Pinette wrote his account in 1986, he reported that the island was then leased to a married couple who used it as a weekend retreat. While the big house was gone, the massive stone walls built to prevent erosion were still intact, as was also the lighthouse. Although I cannot say for sure if the lighthouse survives today in 2014, a close-up aerial photo of the island from Google Maps shows a rounded construction that seems like it could very well be the lighthouse.

Metallak Lake

This rounded structure is located on the north side of the island, just to the left of the lone house in the photo, and is seen better in this closeup:

Metallak Lake Rounded Structure

As it turns out, surprisingly, Harry Dutton’s large house has not completely disappeared. When the buildings on the island were razed, one of the wings of the mansion was cut away from the rest of the building and moved six miles over the ice to a spot just off Mill Road in the town of Upton, Maine, where it was set up on concrete supports. In 1986 it formed a section of the home of a young married couple. They had made some renovations, but most of the original interior had been preserved.

One room in particular has been left virtually intact, just as it was in those days of grandeur. We visited the room which had been the formal dining room. The refined grace and richness is still evident on every side. The sixteen-foot cathedral ceiling, which seems to reach for the sky, is of parqueted solid wood sections, each about three feet square and accentuated by criss-crossing heavy beams. The solid imported wood is tulip wood with a natural finish the color of honey, with a rich and deep tone instead of a shine. The walls are of the same pleasing patterns. One end of the preserved room is covered with wood and glass china closets built into the wall and divided by a solid wood, five-panel door, leading to what was then the pantry, a place where lights were displayed to signal the maids. . . . The wing of the Dutton mansion which was saved from destruction also included a section of the spacious porch which has now been closed in for an additional room. The original double-hung windows, which had faced the lake, are still in place and in good condition.

Pinette ends his account by noting wistfully that the island in the waters of Umbagog Lake is now just a skeleton of its former self:

Gone are the affluent guests, the maids and the servants of that grand era. Gone also is what was once perhaps the grandest mansion in these parts. . . . But the memories of the once glorious island live on, and the massive stone work which remains serves as a silent reminder of the magnificent days of Dutton’s Island, the “Million Dollar Island” in the heart of the northland.

Vacationing at Harry Dutton’s Camp

Dick Morrison is the last person alive who remembers spending the summer at his grandfather Harry Dutton’s camp on Metallak Island in Lake Umbagog. Until he was seventeen years old, he would go there with his family and spend a month every summer. The following videos are clips from family movies in Dick’s possession. These movies were taken in the 1930s and show his parents, his brother, and other members of the extended family enjoying their time at the camp.

In this first video, we approach the camp, as all visitors did, by launch from the mainland. The most prominent feature of the camp was the lighthouse, which according to Dick was a disguise for a large water tank, pumped full from the lake and used to power the camp’s plumbing system.

A summertime visit to the camp offered many types of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming, badminton, and shooting, all of which can be seen on the next video.  In the first badminton clip, Alice (Dutton) Morrison, Dick’s mother, shows her form in the near court competing against her husband, Arthur W. Morrison. In the second clip, the older player on the near side is Harry Dutton’s son-in-law, Erving Morse, who was the last president of the Houghton & Dutton store. The shooters are Dick’s father, brother, and mother–Arthur W. Morrison, Arthur D. Morrison, and Alice. The boy in the canoe with the dog is Arthur D. Morrison.

Dick Morrison has very fond memories of visiting the camp, and has promised to put together a recording describing it in more detail, which I hope to post some time in the future. In the meantime, we will take one more tour around the camp by water before heading back to the mainland. What a fun and relaxing place the camp must have been, for both humans and dogs!

Harry Dutton’s Camp

Harry Dutton’s lavish “camp,” located on Metallak Island in Lake Umbagog (just outside the town of Upton, Maine), was a popular summer vacation destination for all of the Duttons.

Upton, Maine

Lake Umbagog2

The camp was built in 1898-99 and remained in the possession of Harry’s descendants until the 1940s when it was eventually sold.

The construction of the camp was an event of much interest to the local population, as evidenced by this story published on the first page of the Lewiston [Maine] Sunday Journal, on 19 November 1898:

Bethel, Me., Nov. 19 (Special). The people of Bethel and vicinity are much interested in Upton, where Mr. Dutton of the well-known firm of Houghton, Dutton & Co., Boston, is erecting a summer house on Metalluck Island in Umbagog Lake. Bethel has often expressed a desire for railroad connection with the large lake country lying northerly of it, but now many think that the future holds more in store for this region if this vast territory is left undisturbed by the railroad. Development inevitably follows in the wake of the railroad and the wilderness of the great forests no longer remains. The territory now lying northerly of Bethel, and made up of Newry, Grafton, Upton and the lower Umbagog region still remains comparatively unbroken in its seclusion. Here the sportsmen can find immense tracts of almost virgin forest, and haunts as wild and rugged and unbroken as they were two centuries ago. Each year many come to this section from other states and enjoy its exceptional sporting facilities. But until recently no move has been made toward the development of the country as a summer retreat.

Mr. Dutton not long ago purchased Metalluck Island of its owners in Upton and at once began to get it into suitable condition for building. The island contains two or three acres and receives its name from the famous Metalluck, the last of the Androscoggin tribe of Indians, who for a long time dwelt on the shores of Umbagog lake and near this point. Mr. Dutton has built a breakwater of rocks around the island, so that its shores are fully protected. The house is being built near the shore and follows its contour to quite a degree. It is one story in height and the front will be 117 feet in length. There will be two wings, one of which will be 97 feet long and the other 77 feet. The building will be of considerable width and will cover quite a surface, thus affording accommodation for a large number. It will contain many fireplaces and will have all conveniences. Mr. Dutton intends to erect a lighthouse on the head of the island and undoubtedly will change the entire island into a veritable paradise of a summer retreat. Mr. Dutton has a nice summer house near Rangeley, but the railroad and its followers are not to his liking when seeking recreation. He had been in Upton looking after his interests but the charge of the entire matter is in the hands of Mr. Alva Coolidge of Upton. A large crew of men are at work upon the building and the outside work is being hastened as much as possible.

Stay tuned for my next blog post, in which I will take you on a boat tour around the island, compliments of Harry’s grandson Dick Morrison, and perhaps we’ll also be able to get in a game of badminton.

The Manager Houses of Glen Rock Circle

Glen Rock Circle is a small residential circle located at the intersection of Upland Road and Dutton Street in Malden, just to the east of Summer Street and the large Glen Rock property where B. F. Dutton and his children lived. At the time of B. F. Dutton’s death, there were four houses facing immediately on the circle. These are shown on the map here and are labeled as houses #1, #2, #3, and #4.

GlenRock Circle Map

The elderly lady who today lives in house #3 was told when her family bought the house that B. F. Dutton built these four houses for some of the Houghton & Dutton store managers. If he needed to call a meeting of his staff, the managers could come to the main house right away. And looking at the map, one can see that it would be a short walk over to Summer Street and up the Glen Rock driveway to reach B. F. Dutton’s house within minutes.

All four of these houses are still standing today and they are remarkably similar architecturally. Photographs, compliments of neighbor Marilyn Glover, are shown below.

House #1’s address is 33 Upland Road:

GlenRock Circle 1

House #2’s address is 115 Dutton Street:

GlenRock Circle 2

House #3’s address is 43 Upland road:

GlenRock Circle 3

And house #4’s address is 38 Glen Rock Circle:

GlenRock Circle 4

In addition to being large houses, the distinguishing feature of all four is the tower structure that graces one corner. This feature is also seen on several of the Glen Rock houses, including those of Alexander McGregor, Cora (Dutton) Little, and George Dutton, as shown below

The Alexander McGregor house:

Glen Rock Alexander McGregor house2

The Cora (Dutton) Little house, seen from below at the intersection of Summer and Las Casas streets:

CoraDutton House

The George Dutton house, in which the tower is less prominent above a second floor bedroom:


This was obviously a style that was favored by B. F. Dutton and it suggests that all of the houses may have been designed by the same architect.

Four Generation Family Photograph

The following photo, contributed by my first cousin Jennifer (Horn) Schuppert, includes four generations of the Dutton/McGregor family. From left to right, the photo shows Clara (Dutton) McGregor, her mother-in-law Mary (McDougall) McGregor, her granddaughter Alexandra (“Sandy”) Matz, and her daughter Claire Dutton (McGregor) Matz. The photo was taken about 1921, so Clara was about 47, Claire was 24, and Sandy about 1.


If readers of this blog have any old family photos to contribute, I would be thrilled to post them. In particular, I would love to receive photos of Alice Dutton and her husband Arthur Morrison, as well as any of their descendants. Also, photos of Trudie (Dutton) Brown, Harriet (Dutton) Bolles, and Junie Dutton would be most welcome. I recently received a cache of photos from Rich Leatherbee (great grandson of Nina Dutton) which I will post in the near future.

Interview with Benjamin F. Dutton – Concluded

Interviewer: “Do you think you will have achieved your dream of a department store when the new addition is finished?” [The interviewer refers to the large addition to the Houghton & Dutton store that was made in 1913.]

“No, I don’t think I ever could realize my whole dream of a department store. You see, my dream keeps growing, and I am sure it will keep growing as long as I have health and strength. Yet we have accomplished a great deal. When I think of that old Pavilion Building on Tremont street and look at this building today, running up Beacon street from Tremont to Somerset street, around Somerset street and back into Pemberton square and down Tremont street – well it makes me think we have done pretty well; but there is more to be done, and it isn’t all in the building line either.”

Enlarged Store

That shows spirit, and nerve, and enterprise, when you hear a man 82 years old talk like that.

“I feel,” said he, “that we have kept pace with the growth of the city in our business and with the development of our civilization. Those things won’t stop, you know, and the successful department store of the future must keep pace with the growth and development of the city, which means in this case practically the whole of New England, for our trade extends all over New England.”

It might be supposed from all this that B. F. Dutton is the kind of man who thinks of nothing but business. Far from it. He is a firm believer in recreation of a healthy kind. He had always been famous as a sportsman and a fisherman, and he used to get around the golf links in pretty lively style. He is a crack shot and has always been a great lover of horses. In the days before the automobile came into vogue Mr. Dutton was celebrated for his stable of horses, and he has been up against the best of them on the old Mill dam, when sleighing behind a fast trotter was considered the name of Winter sport. And he has always been a great reader and a lover of good music. He has the happy faculty of being able to throw off the cares of business when he turns to recreation of any kind.  And he has tried to impress the importance of being able to do just this thing on his “boys” – on Harry Dutton, on George C. Dutton and on Alexander McGregor.

“Any man will grow stale and lose his sense of perspective if he thinks of nothing but his business,” said Mr. Dutton.

And another thing that should not be overlooked. He remembers his friends, especially in their “dark days,” and he remembers a good many others in the world on whom fortune has not always smiled, but he does all this sort of thing in his own way and without any flourish of trumpets. He knows how to observe silence on certain things that he cherished in his own heart.

One thing is certain, however, Boston has been enriched through the genius of B. F. Dutton and the enterprise of his “boys,” and from what has been said, it is not difficult to see that his influence has not been confined to his own house: it has extended and ramified in many silent ways into other business houses all over the country. And few will doubt that the dream of a department store which he planned at Hillsboro, N.H., more than 50 years ago has been very largely realized on the corner of Tremont street and Beacon street in Boston, Mass. For this completed store will be one of the handsomest, most commodious and most efficient in the country.