303 Pearl Street

Buell-Hungerford House

By Andrea Livi

Built in 1818 by Ozia Buell (11), a wealthy merchant, 303 Pearl originally consisted of a five-by-three bay, two-story structure. Russell Skinner (12) , who also designed 308 Pearl across the street, designed this Federal style house. These two houses were very similar, with almost identical massing and comparable details such as fanlights. Only with later additions did the houses become different. The owners of the residences were also related, as Ozia Buell was the cousin of Eleazer Deming (13), owner of 308 Pearl.

The house remained in the Buell family until 1914. Maria Buell, granddaughter of Ozia, married Reverend Edward Hungerford, thereby giving him ownership of the house. She landscaped the extensive grounds of the property, which "extended along Willard Street to within about 20 feet of College Street."(14) In the 1870s, Italianate details were added (15) to the house: a portico as well as brackets under the eaves. These details, along with "modernizing" the house, served to differentiate it from its twin across the street. Hungerford divided the property into building lots and, after his death, named nearby streets after his family as well as his wife's: the intersecting Hungerford Terrace and Buell Street (16).

Dr. Patrick McSweeney bought the house in 1914 and converted it into apartments. For this purpose, a number of rear additions were built, as well as a side two-story porch. McSweeney also erected an apartment block down the street at 295 Pearl.

Today, 303 Pearl is still being used as an apartment block. The front of the house has kept its Italianate details, showing the evolution of the house. However, its descent from an expensive dwelling to apartment units has not left the house unscathed.

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