Pratt, Seth House
37 South St
Single Family Dwelling House
Bridgewater Town Center
Massachusetts Historical Commission Report
This Italianate house rises two stories from an irregular plan to a gable roof with return eaves and widely spaced brackets. The front porch on its main facade abuts a projecting end wall gable. A transom window tops its handsome, multipane front doors. The windows of this well-preserved house are fully enframed with pediment and cornice lintels. Small, round-headed windows appear at attic level. To the rear is a similarly rendered Italianate barn.
For many years, 37 South Street was the residence of Seth Pratt. It appears on an 1852 map of Bridgewater labeled "S and E Pratt." It was probably erected c. 1850. Seth Pratt was a blacksmith whose shop was located on Broad Street near Central Square. Part of Mr. Pratt's trade involved "Shoeing oxen." During the 1830s, he lived in a house "made from Spragues furniture store." 'This house was moved to make room for the Memorial Public Library building in 1881. Members of Pratt's family owned #37 until at least the early 1880s.
By the early 1900s, Dr. W.F. Whitmarsh owned this house. It is part of Central Square's collection of solid, well-crafted Italianate houses. It was erected during the building boom in the 1840s and 1850s. This wave of construction activity in Bridgewater was triggered in part by the arrival of the Old Colony Railroad in 1846, the establishment of the Normal School, later Bridgewater State College, in 1840, and the prosperity of its major industries (e.g. iron, cotton gin, and tack manufacturing).