Unseasonably warm weather and enticing houses created crowds in my neighborhood this past weekend, as the 32nd annual Christmas in Salem holiday house tour transpired. I took a short walk along most of the tour route in the virtual footsteps of Boston (and Salem) architect William G. Rantoul (1867-1949), whose work was showcased on this year’s tour.
This Federal house was Rantoul’s residence from 1907 to 1939. According to Bryant F. Tolles’ Architecture in Salem, he added the entry himself, based on the period design of that of the house two doors down. The colonial and Federal houses of Salem must have been a constant source of inspiration for Rantoul, who worked primarily in the Colonial Revival style. The Christmas in Salem Committee placed these red flags on sites associated with Rantoul.
Lines on either side of Chestnut Street. Around the time of World War One, Rantoul made significant additions and alterations to the Phillips House (above), which is now owned by Historic New England.
This great gambrel-roofed house at the end of Chestnut Street appears to be Georgian but is in fact the newest house on the street, built in 1909 by Rantoul for philanthropist Caroline Emmerton. It is an adaptation of the eighteenth-century Richard Derby House on Derby Street.
Walking, walking…the top house has nothing to do with Rantoul and was not on this year’s tour, but is great nonetheless and this particular shot shows how fall-like the weekend was.
Rantoul’s major institutional commission in Salem: the Salem Athenaeum, built in 1907, this weekend and in a 1910 postcard.
A great triple house designed by Rantoul and built in 1918 after the great Salem Fire . The decorated entrance, and 1918 Christmas cards displayed on a 1918 mantle.