Bridgewater Iron Mfg. Co. Superintendant's House

171 High St

1800

Architectural Style

Federal

Significance

Architecture, Industry

Use Type

Single Family Dwelling House

Neighborhood

Bridgewater Industrial/Transportation Corridor

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

This is a substantial, wood shingle covered Federal frame vernacular house built c. 1790-1810. It is characterized by a 5-bay x 2-bay main block with a small 1-1/2 story addition (High St. side) and a c. 1870's encircling verandah with champfered and bracketed posts. Its center, projecting entrance was probably originally enclosed by a pedimented roof. Windows are simply enframed and contain 6/6 wood sash.

Historical Significance

This house has significant historical associations with the Lazell, Perkins iron foundry and the Bridgewater Iron Mfg. Co. To the south of this house are the remnants of an iron manufacturing enterprise which began as early as the 1780's. To the west in the Town River. This house overlooks an enclave of mid 19th c. workers cottages (Stanley). Apparently the earliest occupant of this house was Jacob Perkins. Mr. Perkins "early became connected with it [Bridgewater Iron Co.] as a practical millwright as well as owner." Mr. Perkins lived in this house until the early 1850s. In 1856 James Ferguson occupied this house—he was the superintendent of the Bridgewater iron company for 28 years. Born in Annan, Scotland, August 12, 1812, he learned the millwright and machinist trade for five years (1827-1832), according to Scottish custom. He arrived in New York on July 1, 1832 and worked in iron works at Paterson, New Jersey, Fall River, and Taunton, before settling in Bridgewater in 1856. It was under Mr. Ferguson's supervision that the armor plating for the famous Union gunboat "Monitor" was made at the Bridgewater Iron Co. works. During the Civil War Mr. Ferguson supervised as many as 1500 workers. This house apparently became privately owned when the Stanley Tool Co. purchased the old Lazell, Perkins works in 1893.