House Profile: Real Estate Developer Henry Prophett's Flashy Queen Anne Home
Earlier this week, we looked at William Prophett's furniture and undertaking business on the Common. One of Prophett's sons, William Jr., would later take over the family business. Henry, his other son, had different ambitions.
An early builder and real estate developer in Bridgewater, Henry Prophett was responsible for a handful of homes across town. Most of these homes were built to accommodate the rising demand for workers' housing that came after the railroad arrived in Bridgewater in 1846, bringing industry and jobs.
Henry was also a metal shingle dealer; you can still spot his "tin roofs" on many of the houses he built, as well as other private homes in town.
Henry spent his wealth both privately and publicly. He donated the "expensive electric clock" that still adorns the Central Square Congregational Church's steeple.
Around 1895, he built this grand, Queen Anne home for himself at 107 Bedford Street, right at the intersection of Springhill (now Maple) Avenue.
Though the home has since lost its tin roof and decorative ironwork at the roof's ridge line, it still maintains its original form, decorative brackets and woodwork, and beautiful stained-glass windows. The gabled roof that once capped a second-story balcony remains as well, now supported by brackets instead of the balcony's columns. It's also possible that the elaborate shingle façade is still extant underneath the current aluminum siding.
Some of the most unusual features of this home are its landscaping, including granite pavers on the elliptical Victorian driveway, and large monumental posts that frame the drive and walkways. If these striking granite posts look like gravestones to you, you're not crazy. Prophett likely bought them from a stonemason associated with his family's undertaking business.
Henry Prophett's home at 107 Bedford Street
Fairbanks Block, where Henry's father and brother operated an undertaking business