Canton, Massachusetts Homesite Saw Creation of New Country

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Full disclosure — there seems to be a bit of confusion about our historical shelter this week, which sits on a storied road in Canton, Massachusetts. Was it built in 1730? Or was it built in 1810? 

The Realtor’s listing says the earlier date. The history we found indicates it was likely built in 1810. However, before anyone gets upset, the same historians say that there was an earlier home on the same property that was built much earlier, and parts of that home were repurposed after it was demolished to build this home at 1818 Washington Street.

According to the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, this Federal-style home was built for Samuel Blackman Jr. on the Blackman family estate. 

“The central section of the house follows a traditional five-bay, center entrance plan of two stories with two rear (north ) chimney stacks typical of the Federal period form of the early 19th century in Canton,” the documentation found in MACRIS said, adding that the design is Federal style with “elements of older Georgian style as seen in the tight gable eaves and interior features,” like the center stairway with block cap newel posts and scroll pattern stair ends, and in the surviving fireplace mantels in the left parlor and second floor bedrooms. 

Those two styles were popular in the 1700s and 1800s in Canton.

An earlier house of Samuel Blackman Sr. was located behind the home, but was demolished after the death of his wife, Mary. 

“Elements of the earlier Blackman house were reportedly used in the present house, with panelled doors found in the upstairs bedrooms,” the documentation said.

The same documentation revealed that the home had east and west wings added in the early 19th century.

Perhaps equally fascinating is Washington Street, where the home sits. In a history of the town published in 1893, writer Daniel Huntoon wrote that the road “was in existence long before any lands were laid out in the Dorchester South Precinct.”

“This is our most ancient road — the king’s highway,” he wrote. “Portions of it were in existence during the middle of the seventeenth century, as the way to Rhode Island. The northern part, where it passes Blue Hill, is mentioned in 1690, and in 1694 is called the ‘common road,’ as it passes Puffer’s farm.”

Huntoon said that it had been known as “Taunton Road,” the “great road from Boston to Taunton,” and the “main road,” until finally being named Washington Street in 1840.

The Blackman estates were situated on both sides of Washington Street when the Blackman family came to the area, with Benjamin Blackman signing the original church covenant in 1717. 

Officially incorporated in February 23, 1797, the town was also home to the nation’s first copper rolling mill in Canton (built in 1801 thanks to Paul Revere), the pot-belly stove (the Rising Sun Stove Polish Company was founded by Elijah Morse, inventor of the pot-belly stove), and the Old Stoughton Music Society, the oldest choral society in the United States.

It’s also home to one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, as well as the Canton Corner, which includes more than 25 properties and 170 acres spanning 250 years of history. Canton Corner’s nexus is Pleasant and Washington streets.

All that being said, listing agent Erika Welch with Rettman Associates said homes like the Blackmon home are rarely available. 

“Live exquisitely in this rambling country-like estate, meticulously maintained and updated with precise detail for modern living and grand entertaining,” she said.

The home indeed does marry the historic with the modern. Wide plank floors — expected for the time period the home was built, ground the home in its history. Touches like a chef’s kitchen, closet dressing room with an island and custom cabinetry, and space for a home office provide the modern conveniences.

The home has three staircases, five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and seven fireplaces. It also includes an artist loft, multiple backyard spaces and gardens, a deck off the kitchen, and a white wisteria pergola on a stone patio perfect for al fresco entertaining.

The 5,116 square foot Canton home is listed for $995,000. Want to see more? Click here.