It was in 1804 when Charles Bulfinch, architect of the Massachusetts State House and later the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., designed One Walnut Street. The neighbors, in homes that dotted Beacon Street between Park and Charles, were few. The John Hancock house and the home of Mr. Copley (of Copley Place) stood nearby. Since that time, the residents of One Walnut Street have included some of Boston’s most prominent figures. John Phillips, first Mayor of Boston lived here and his son, famous abolitionist Wendell Phillips, was born here in November, 1811. Later occupants included Thomas Lindall Winthrop, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1826 to 1832 and Thomas Dixon, Consul for the Netherlands. In 1939, the house was donated to the Judge Baker Foundation by Mrs. James Storrow.
An architectural landmark, this historic brick building has become a cornerstone of Boston’s unique heritage. Today, the neighbors are no less prestigious. The original three stories have risen to four, having been added to the property after 1860. It was not until 1978 that the then owners, the Phillips-Winthrop House Trust, undertook a complete historic renovation of the building, bringing it to its present carefully-preserved condition. The rehabilitation of One Walnut Street, certified by the U.S. Department of Interior, documents its contribution to the significance of the Beacon Hill Historic District.
In June of 1990, The Engineering Center Education Trust purchased the building and this affiliation of engineering societies operates the Aldrich Center on the first floor. One Walnut Street stands as a shining example of Beacon Hill elegance and charm. Overlooking the Frog Pond on Boston Common and located only two blocks from the State House and the Freedom Trail, with immediate access to the Boston business district, the shops on Newbury Street, and Storrow Drive, One Walnut Street enjoys the prominence Charles Bulfinch bestowed over two centuries ago.
Read about the Aldrich Center in more detail.