Ames, Horace - Virgil House

1165 South St

1840

Architectural Style

Greek Revival

Significance

Agriculture, Architecture

Use Type

Agricultural, Single Family Dwelling House

Neighborhood

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

South Street's pre-1860 building stock is characterized primarily by Center Hall plan capes and side-hall plan Greek Revival houses of cottage scale. This house represents an interesting departure from this rule in terms of scale and plan. It is composed of a 2 1/2 story main block with an entrance at the eastern most bay of the south wall—the wall is 4 bays, rather than 5 bays in length, with 3 bay street facing and west gables. Particularly noteworthy are the entrance treatments e.g. an open front porch with fluted Doric columns which support a flat roof with a molded cornice and heavy entablature. The front door is surrounded by narrow multipane sidelights and transom. In general, windows contain 6/6 wood sash—the attic window is surmounted by a louvered pointed arch. Projecting from the southwest corner of the main block is a 1 1/2 story ell with wide, elliptical arched stable/garage doors.

Historical Significance

This house has significant local historical associations with Bridgewater's Ames family. Presumably the Ameses that lived here during the mid-19th, early 20th century were descended from John Ames, one of the original propietors of Bridgewater. Other distinguished family members included Nathaniel Ames (born 1703), the mathmetician, and three generations of shovel manufacturers--John, Oliver and Oaku Ames. As early as 1773 Capt. John Ames began the manufacture of shovels at his Bridgewater forge. Oliver Ames (1779-1863) moved the firm from Bridgewater to North Easton, MA, in 1803. The North Easton Ameses prospered during the age of railroad and canal expansion, supplying the digging and trenching equipment. For many years Horace and Virgil Ames owned this property. A house is first Indicated on this site in 1852. Visual analysis of this house points to a construction date of c. 1840. Horace and Virgil were farmers. By the early 1900s, Fisher Ames, farmer, lived here.