On Tuesday, we celebrated our 113th anniversary and told you about the Anna (Clapp) Harris Smith home restoration project. Today, let’s take a closer look at the history of the property.
Historic Boston Incorporated and the North Bennet Street School, located in the North End and specializing in 17th to 19th century buildings, have partnered to restore the Anna Harris Smith house. After receiving a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the organizations were able to acquire the historic Clapp residence. The restoration will reflect the home’s appearance circa 1804 when Anna’s family resided there. Over the years, the house was somewhat modernized by past owners, but this only pertained to the exterior. However, the interior fell into decay and was in great need of repair.
The North Bennet students were entrusted by Historic Boston to restore the house to be as ‘period’ as possible. Rich Friberg, the preservation carpentry faculty leader of the project, said that the group did not know that Anna lived there but was pleasantly surprised by that fact. Through the use of traditional tools and methods, the students have been able to turn back the clock to 1804. The up-to-date windows were replaced by handmade sashes of 12 panes over 12 panes, a design similar to the one the house had 100 years ago. Even older than the design of the windows, the foundation of the Clapp house is speculated to be the original from the 17th century.
When North Bennet began the project, the front wall of the foundation was crumbling under the house. Historic Boston dug up the yard so that the stones could be withdrawn and reset for a secure foundation. Friberg stated that the banister in the house is most likely the original but they have yet to do anything with it since their work has focused mainly on the home’s exterior. The front door is not the original, but it was well researched and replicated. The east elevation has just been finished and the completion of the north elevation is not too far behind.
The Clapp house is in the process of being designated a City of Boston landmark.