by Marcia Butman, Discover Roxbury
The Hale House was built circa 1835 and was originally located around the corner on 39 Highland Street. It is an outstanding example of a large frame Greek revival residence.
In the early 1800’s rich Yankees built estates in Roxbury highlands. By the mid 1800’s they began to sell off their estates and move farther into the country. Around the 1880’s developers subdivided the large estate lots to create two and three family houses as the area changed to a street car suburb. The Hale House, on the National Register of Historic Places is significant because it survived.
The house was built for Benjamin F. Copeland and located around the corner at 39 Highland. Edward Everett Hale, the most notable occupant of the house owned it from 1869-1909. Between 1899 and 1906 the house was moved to 12 Morley Street. In 1914 it was converted to apartments. In 1967 it was bought by Byron Rushing who then sold it to Napoleon Jones Henderson, the present owner.
Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) was a Unitarian minister, author and statesman. He graduated from Boston Latin School at the age of thirteen and then attended Harvard College, graduating second in his class and Phi Beta Kappa. After teaching at Boston Latin and writing articles for the Boston Daily Advertiser, he began to preach in 1842. In 1846 he was ordained minister of the Church of the Unity in Worcester.. He was minister of the South Congregational Church (Unitarian) from 1856-1899 and became chaplain of the US Senate in 1903. The South Congregational Church was located on Union Park in the South End; the building is now St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.
Hale was a liberal reformer with a deep interest in abolition, education and the working man’s home. He was the author of over sixty books—travel, sermons, biography and history. His most well known piece is Man without a Country, published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1863. The story Ten Times One with its motto, “Look Up and not down, look forward and not back, look out and not in and lend a hand,” led to the formation by young people of Lend a Hand Clubs.
Henderson, a textile artist and one of the founders of the AfroCobra Art Movement bought the house in 1975 for $15,000, the same amount that Edward Everett Hale paid for it. Henderson founded the Research Institute for African and African Diaspora Arts in 1979. The mission of this organization is to celebrate the cultural legacy of Africans worldwide. It has sponsored many public events, educational and artistic tours, artists discussions, musical and poetry presentations. Henderson also maintains a collection of more than 250 original works of art by artists of the African Diaspora includes ceramics, textiles, prints, paintings and jewelry. Works by Paul Goodnight, Jacob Lawrence, paintings by Haitian and Senegalese artists as well as sketches and drawings by Allan Rohan Crite are among the best known. Jones-Henderson has done several public artworks for Roxbury Community College and Dimock Health Center.
The Hale House is a large frame Greek Revival residence. The main façade is five bays wide, dominated by a three-bay wide pedimented portico with four two story high fluted ionic columns.
Historic Boston restored the exterior of the house 1985-1992 with funds from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, using a 19th century postcard supplied by Henderson documenting the intended appearance of the Hale House.
The house is used as a private residence.
Juneteenth Celebration 84
Pamphlet produced by the Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts
12 Morley St. Roxbury Ma 02119
Bourne, Kay “Artist opens home to share history with all,” Bay State Banner, Thursday
September 22, 1994
Coleman, Sandy, “In Roxbury a private home rich in history becomes a museum,” The Boston Globe, July 9, 1995
National Register of Historic Places: Nomination Form