Maison Vernon sits atop Beacon Hill, surrounded by historic and architecturally prominent buildings and residences on land once owned by statesman John Hancock and artist John Singleton Copley. Just steps away stands the State Capitol with its spectacular gold leaf dome designed by Charles Bullfinch who also designed many of the nearby residences. The Capitol was completed in 1795. Patriots Paul Revere and Sam Adams laid the cornerstone.
What was once pastureland and orchards with a few country estates has changed, beginning in the 1790’s, to become the oldest historic neighborhood in the city of Boston and home to poets, writers, leaders, thinkers, artists and part of the Women’s Heritage Trail. Maison Vernon is perfectly located near where many of history’s many significant events occurred and also near current contemporary performances, innovation, medical hospitals, educational and financial institutions.
Nearby is the marker for the actual beacon that at one time sat on the hill to warn early residents of foreign invasions. This neighborhood is still known for brick sidewalks with gas lit lamps, beautiful entry doors, graceful window boxes, door surrounds with brass knockers, decorative iron work, hidden gardens and the original remnants of cobblestone paths and streets. Beacon Hill’s elegant history of stone and brick architecture, much in Federal and Greek Revival styles, is still
"Little Women", based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott
adorned with antique vestiges on private ways and streets. Maison Vernon itself has its own distinct French garlands and carved limestone. Designed by architects Brainerd & Leeds, William A. Root, Henry A. Root and Oscar A. Thayer in 1917, the six stories of Maison Vernon eventually became the publishing house of Beacon Press before being adapted for fine residences.
American Orator Frederick Douglass
Mount Vernon Street is part of this enclave where writer Louisa May Alcott, Pulitzer Prize novelist Edwin O’Connor, poet/authors Robert Frost (four Pulitzers), Julia Ward Howe and Sylvia Plath, thinkers Daniel Webster, Henry Thoreau, Wendell Phillips, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr and Jr once lived. Maison Vernon is ideally situated for visits to many of the museums, homes and organizations like the Colonial Society’s House at 87 Mount Vernon Street and the Nichols House Museum at 55 Mount Vernon Street, both designed by Charles Bullfinch and the Boston Athenaeum at 10 1/2 Beacon Street. The African Meeting House, currently a synagogue, on old Belknap Street is where Frederick Douglass spoke and William Lloyd Garrison formed the New England Anti-Slavery Society which provided important help to the underground railroad.
Beacon Hill, adjacent to the Boston Common and Public Garden, holds a prominent place in the center of what is the highest elevation on the original Shawmut peninsula with Maison Vernon at the crest of the hill. The Charles River, which runs along the “Flat of the Hill” provides options for sailing, boating and rowing, including the Head of the Charles rowing regatta every autumn. Quaint Charles Street is the neighborhood’s main street and is filled with antique shops, neighborhood restaurants and services. In 1955 the Historic Beacon Hill District was created and in 1962 Beacon Hill was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Head of the Charles Rowing Regatta