This country estate overlooking Quincy Bay transports visitors to the Revolutionary War era and tells the story of a woman’s work to preserve her family’s history more than a hundred years later. Revolutionary leader Josiah Quincy built the house in 1770. Quincy and his family played key roles in the social and political life of Massachusetts for generations, producing three mayors of Boston and a president of Harvard. In the early 1880s Eliza Susan Quincy made it her life’s work to document the historic significance of her family’s home. She kept journals, inventoried the contents of the house, commissioned photographs of the interior, and persuaded relatives to return heirlooms so that the house could become a repository of Quincy family history.
Among the house's unusual features is its “monitor,” or half-story space above the roof with small windows on all sides. From this prospect Colonel Quincy had a clear view of shipping lanes in and out of Boston Harbor, and during the months leading up to the Revolution, he spent hours watching troop movements. On October 10, 1775, he scratched “Governor Gage sail'd for England with a fair wind” into one of the windows of the monitor roof. That pane of glass was carefully preserved by the family, and is on display at Quincy House today.
Visitors also see two remarkable examples of New England furniture making: a high chest that miraculously survived two fires and a rare mahogany bombé chest that is one of only forty of its kind.
June 1 - October 15
First Saturday of the month
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Tours on the hour. Last tour at 4:00 p.m.
The Quincy House is a Historic New England property.
Top photo: Quincy House exterior - The house is a distinguished example of New England Georgian architecture. Symmetrical in plan and overall design, the Quincy House preserves virtually all of its original carefully crafted features, most of which were derived from architectural pattern books. The corners of the building are defined by rusticated quoins. The cornice below the shallow hip roof is decorated with modillions and a dentil course. A Chinese fretwork balustrade extends around the perimeter of the roof. The most distinctive decorative feature of the building and the architectural focus of the main façade is a classical entrance portico. The portico features a pediment and cornice decorated with modillions, a dentil molding and an entablature with pulvinated frieze, supported by fluted Doric columns set on high plinths. Doric pilasters and sidelights flank the doorway. Benches with Chinese fretwork backs are placed opposite each other at the sides of the portico.
Bottom photo: Sitting room - Josiah Quincy III inherited the house his grandfather had built the year his father, Josiah Quincy II, defended the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. He and his mother spent many happy summers here during his school breaks: “As early as 1780, it was a rule with my mother to take me at least once a year, during the summer vacation, to visit my grandfather at his seat in Braintree, now Quincy. It was always to me a delightful and eagerly expected visit, lasting generally three or four days, and it never failed to be a season of perfect and uninterrupted boyish felicity.”