Mitchell, Edward House
21 School St
Federal, Greek Revival
Single Family Dwelling House
Bridgewater Town Center
Massachusetts Historical Commission Report
The Greek Revival side hall plan of this house rises two stories to a pedimented attic. To the rear is a long, L-shaped, two-story wing, indicated on the 1852 map. The rear wing abuts a late 19th-century barn/stable. An old photograph indicates that this dwelling's three-bay main facade had a bracketed door hood. Presently, an open porch projects from the main entrance, added c. 1901 to 1903 (see insurance maps). Its windows are simply enframed and retain the original 6/6 wood sash. Much of its charm is derived from the wide lunette window in its low gable—a distinctly Federal accent. This house and #28 across the street appear on an 1832 map of Bridgewater Center. Probably built c. 1830, they are contemporaries of the old Swedenborgian church on Cedar Street, which was built from 1833 to 1834. The area around the Bridgewater Common did not become densely settled until the building boom of the 1840s and 1850s.
This house was apparently built for Edward Mitchell c. 1830. He was the landlord of the Bridgewater Inn, later Hyland House, from 1843 to 1858. During Mitchell's years as proprietor, the old hotel on Central Square prospered, due largely to the arrival of the Old Colony Railroad in Bridgewater in 1846. In that year, Mitchell added a third floor to the hotel.
By the 1870s, Reverend Theodore F. Wright owned this property. He became pastor of the New Jerusalem Church in 1869. At that time, the congregation worshipped in the Greek Revival/Gothic Revival church on Cedar Street. Under Reverend Wright's leadership the present Carpenter Gothic New Jerusalem Church was erected at the corner of Bedford and School Streets in 1871. Reverend Wright was also the president of the Bridgewater Library's board of trustees. He played a significant role in the early success of the Memorial Library, built on South Street in 1881. D.H. Hurd notes that "the town is under special obligations to Rev. T.F. Wright for services rendered in behalf of the library, which is so much valued by the intelligent citizens."
In the 1890s, Joseph A. Bowman, expressman, lived here. His New York and Boston express delivery company office was located in the old Carver, Washburn Company building on Summer Street and Central Square.