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Address: 64 Lambert

Date: c.1780

Georgian with Federal renovations



The Spooner Lambert House is named after the first two owners, Major John Jones Spooner and Captain William Lambert. It is architecturally significant as an early federal style building with polygonal bays.



HISTORY

The Spooner Lambert House was built by Major John Jones Spooner soon after the revolution. He lived in the house from 1782-1788.



Spooner was the first commander of the Roxbury Artillery (formed in 1784). The Roxbury Artillery was formed at a time when Boston had no other live military company and so furnished military escort for the July 4 celebrations in 1784, 1785 and 1786 and also for the visit of General Lafayette in 1784. The first parade of the Roxbury Artillery took place on July 5, 1784 in celebration of independence. The Roxbury Artillery also fought in the suppression of Shay’s Rebellion(1786-1787), an uprising of farmers against unsettled economic conditions, crushing debt and taxes.



Spooner married the only daughter of General William Heath and moved to Hampton, VA. , dying there in 1799.




Captain William Lambert (1743-1823) lived in the house from 1789-1823. Lambert did business in Halifax Nova Scotia in 1775-1776, acting as an agent for American prisoners. Suspected as supporter of the rebel cause he had to flee Nova Scotia and return to Boston.



He made extensive improvements to the house and landscape, which he found “a complete wilderness.” The house was the site of the first meeting of the Roxbury Charitable Society in 1794. Economic difficulties, including inflation and scarcity of goods at the end of the war left many people in need The society was formed to assist these people since the city was not in a position to help them.



Both Spooner and Lambert were men of means, graduating from Harvard with extensive military and mercantile connections.



ARCHITECTURE

The house is architecturally significant as possibly the only surviving 18th century house in Boston with early polygonal bays. Much of the original Georgian period woodwork and details are still intact, similar to high style houses built right before the Revolution. The house is five bays wide with a front portico and side ell with pedimented gable roof. Pilasters with ionic capitals flank the front entrance. The portico was probably added in the 1830’s. The side and rear polygonal bays, early Federal alterations, are considered unique survivals in Boston.



The Ionic capitals of the front doorway are nearly identical to those on Fanueil Hall carved by local carver William Burbeck when it was rebuilt in 1768. He also carved the capitals on Kings Chapel. The interior paneling is also similar to work in Jamaica Plain’s Loring-Greenough House and the Penney-Hallet House carved details (keystone of the arch in the front parlor) , now installed in the Curtis-Guild House on Mt. Vernon St. in Boston.



CURRENT USE

The Spooner –Lambert House was purchased by Historic Boston in 1990, restored and converted to moderate income apartments in 1993 and to condominiums in 1999.




Sources:

Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry: First Church in Roxbury bicentennial

Drake, Francis, History of Roxbury

Boston Landmarks Commission Building Information Form

National Register of Historic Places:Nomination Form-Spooner Lambert House

HBI Insights, Winter 2002(Newsletter of Historic Boston)

Detwiller, Frederic C., Architect and Preservation Planner: New England Landmarks




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