Washburn, Col. Abram House

9 Summer St

1825

Architectural Style

Federal

Significance

Architecture

Use Type

Single Family Dwelling House

Neighborhood

Bridgewater Town Center

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

This L-shaped frame residence is one of Bridgewater's finest late Federal style houses. Rising 2 stories to a low hip roof, its 5 bay main facade exhibits 2/2 wood sash windows and an elegant central entrance—its front door is flanked by narrow multi-pane sidelights and is surmounted by an eliptical fanlight window. Together with the old Carver Washburn offices (west) and the late Federal style Nahum Stetson House, the Washburn house provides a glimpse of life in the prosperous Bridgewater of the 1820s.

Historical Significance

Built in 1825, this house has important historical associations with Col. Abram Washburn. A founder of Carver, Washburn and Co., he was also a naturalist, temperance reform advocate, trustee of Bridgewater Academy and anti-slavery sympathizer. A descendant of John and Rebecca Washburn, donors of the old graveyard and First Parish Church's land (1717) he was the son of Nathaniel Washburn (19 Summer St.) and the grandson of Capt. Abram Washburn "of Revolutionary War fame." Col. Washburn was born in Pomfret, Vermont in 1795. He settled in Bridgewater in 1811 and "was early connected with business of Carver, Washburn & Co." Travelling widely throughout the South for this cotton-gin manufacturing company, he eventually beeame a full partner of this firm. Active in the organization of the local rifle company (1819), "he was possessed of a fine physique, and in the saddle presented a most commanding figure as an officer." An ardent naturalist, he planted trees throughout the town and water lillies on Carver Pond. During the 1830's and 1840's his special project was the beautification of the old Graveyard. Col. Washburn sheltered fugitive slaves from the South in his Summer Street home, including William and Ellen Crafts. This house was built during Bridgewater's 1820's building "boom"—a "boom" precipitated by the incorporation of the town in 1822 and the development of manufacturing concerns such as Carver, Washburn & Co., the Lazell, Perkins Iron Works, and the Bartlett Tack Factory.