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Address: 149 Roxbury Street

Date: 1800

Federal

by Marcia Butman, Discover Roxbury


Ionic Hall was a private residence until 1884 when the Episcopal Church purchased it and converted it to St. Luke’s Home for Convalescents “to provide shelter and care for such women as the hospitals could not retain after illness.” It is now owned by St. John’s /St. James Episcopal Church.


HISTORY

According to Drake, Ionic Hall was built as a home for Mrs. Hammond, the daughter of Captain Stoddard of Hingham and is one of the earliest brick mansions in Roxbury. First Church services were held in Ionic Hall during the construction of the fifth building of First Church (across the street) in 1803 . Other residents include William Lee (1772-1840) US Consul at Bordeaux during 1807-1816, Judge Sherman Leland, and Theodore Otis, a lawyer who served as the Mayor of Roxbury in 1859-1860. It was converted to a nursing and convalescent home in 1884.

ARCHITECTURE

Ionic Hall, an architecturally significant federal style building, with a five bay façade The Greek revival portico with Doric columns was probably added to the main façade in the 1830’s or 40’s. The roof, with pedimented side gables and low hipped dormer roofs was also probably added in the 1840’s. Later additions were one story wings on either side; the right one leads to St. Luke’s Chapel. The building is approached through a granite and puddingstone front wall topped by a small wrought iron fence.


CURRENT USE

The building is now owned by St. John’s/ St. James Episcopal Church a merger of two separate churches. St. John’s /Roxbury Crossing was torn down for construction of the Inner Belt in the early 1970’s. St. James, the first Episcopal Church founded in Roxbury was sold to the BRA and also torn down. St. John’s Roxbury Crossing was founded by St. James Church to serve the people of Lower Roxbury. St. John’s and St. James merged and bought Ionic Hall in the 1960’s. A sanctuary was added to the back of the building.


Sources


Drake, Francis. History of Roxbury

Boston Landmarks Commission:Building Information Form

National Registry of Historic Places: Nomination Form: John Eliot Square

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