When you are next in Boston, find the Museum of Fine Arts and then take a bus down the road into a Roxbury where ‘real’ people live. You’ll head off down a sideroad and be smacked in the face by a house which is completely out of place amongst the terraces, but which originally would have sat in the countryside, on a hill overlooking Boston.
The Shirley-Eustis House was built in Roxbury during 1747-1751 by William Shirley, appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and Commander-in-Chief of all British forces in North America by George II.
The House is one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governors’ mansions in the country and the only one actually built by a Royal Colonial Governor. As early as 1960, Shirley Place was awarded the prestigious designation as a National Historic Landmark.
One of a handful of Boston’s national landmarks that pre-date 1750, the House represents an unusually long continuum in American history, serving as the home of two distinguished Governors – one Royal and one Federal (William Eustis).
The House has also been occupied by, among others, the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment of Foot when it served as a Revolutionary War barracks during the Siege of Boston in 1775; Jean-Baptiste du Buc, the Haitian counselor to Louis XVI of France; Captain James Magee, an Irish-American who prospered in the China Trade.
Today, the interiors are mainly empty (a mirror had just fallen off the wall before our visit) but again I noted another exceptionally wide hall.
We visited on a Wednesday afternoon (given directions by a monk!) before visiting the MFA, which is free on Wednesday evenings. Here are a couple of the things to admire at the MFA:
When visited: September 2013