Architectural Tour of Fairhaven, Massachusetts

Saturday, 10 August 2013, 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

NESAH members are invited to join a tour of several historic buildings in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, organized by Sara Wermiel, PhD, for the Boston Society of Architects Historic Resources Committee


Registration required; please register with Sara Wermiel at

Donations requested at the First Congregational Church and Unitarian Memorial Church ($1/person minimum donation at each church)


9:45 a.m.

Meet at First Congregational Church, Fairhaven, 34 Center Street, at William Street, Fairhaven, Massachusetts

-First Congregational Church, Fairhaven; Minard LaFever, architect, 1844

-Fairhaven Town Hall, 40 Center Street, and Millicent Library, 45 Center Street; Charles Brigham, architect, 1892-94 and 1891-93, respectively

-Unitarian Memorial Church complex (church, parish house, and parsonage), 102 Green Street; Charles Brigham, architect, 1901-04

Lunch break, lunch on your own, restaurants in Fairhaven

-Fairhaven High School, 12 Huttleston Avenue; Charles Brigham, architect, 1905-06; Guastavino vaulting

The tour will be on foot. The morning sites are all within a few blocks of each other. The high school is a 15 minute walk from the Unitarian Church. At each site, local guides will be available to describe the buildings and answer questions.

The tour begins with a church designed by Minard LaFever (1798-1854). A New York-based architect, LaFever was influential in his day through his designs and architectural publications. The next six buildings on the tour were designed by Charles Brigham, an important and underappreciated Boston-based architect who began his professional career as John Sturgis’s partner, working on the elaborately decorated first Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He continued to favor a highly artistic approach to design and this is reflected in his buildings in Fairhaven, which were commissioned by the Henry H. Rogers and his family. They are unusual examples of buildings in which the architect was allowed to realize his conceptions without concern for cost. Brigham’s hand is everywhere in these extensively ornamented buildings, from the floor finishes to the furniture. The three buildings of the Unitarian Memorial Church were designed to evoke an English parish church grouping, as if built over time. In the church, the colored glass windows, designed by artist Robert Reid of New York, change from cool blues to the glow of daylight – an unusual attempt to create a dynamic interior atmosphere by controlling color and light.

These buildings are not to be missed! Spend a summer day in the beautiful seaside town of Fairhaven.