(The following is a weekly feature in the Independent based on the City’s 2018 Historic Property Survey done to note the many little-known historically significant properties within the city.)
The Hancock Apartment Building at 19 Hancock Street is a well-preserved turn-of-the century apartment block, constructed in 1899. The three-story, flat-roofed brick block has a rough granite belt course above the basement windows, a yellow brick course above the third floor windows and a projecting cornice decorated by brick courses and dentils. The center façade bay is fronted by a single-story entrance porch supported by two sets of three squat (painted) brick piers with foliate capitals. Other decorative elements on the porch include a wide frieze with dentils and a rough-faced granite belt course on the base. The porch shelters a modern glass-and-metal entrance consisting of door with sidelights. Above the entrance porch there is a tripartite window and above that is a distinctive projecting oriel with rounded sides and bottom. The two front corners of the building consist of three-story rounded bays. The remaining windows consist of double-hung 1/1 sash with rectangular lintels and sills. A three-story bay window is located toward the rear of each of the side elevations. The building’s character-defining three-story back porches have been removed.
The apartment building at 19 Hancock Street retains a higher degree of integrity in comparison to The Alonzo at 29 Hancock Street or the block at the corner of Linden and Hancock Streets, both of which were also constructed by the Green family (see below).
This apartment block, originally known as The Hancock, was constructed in 1899 for Mrs. R.T. (Mary) Green, daughter of Timothy Green. Her husband, Richard T. Green (1853-1917), was the head of the Richard T. Green Company of Chelsea, the largest wooden shipbuilding concern in the area. He was identified with the shipping business for more than 40 years and was the owner of several vessels engaged in the Haitian trade as well as a number of whalers. He was also a large real estate owner in Everett and at the time of his death in 1917, had been a resident for 35 years. The Greens lived in a large house at 584 Broadway (corner of Hancock) for many years; that house was partially destroyed by fire in 1917 (The large apartment building at 5-15 Hancock Street was built on the site). The Greens also had a summer home in Cohasset. With his business partner and brother-in-law, John C. Harrington (1869-1915) Green built several other apartment blocks – The Alonzo at 29 Hancock Street, The Linden at 208 Linden Street, and a block at 48 Hancock Street as well as the mixed-use Glendale Building (712-722 Broadway) in Glendale Square. According to State Inspection records both The Hancock and The Alonzo, which were mirror images, were designed by Green & Harrington, architects. (The Glendale Building was designed by William Lougee.) After her husband’s death, Mary Green also built another apartment block at the corner of Hancock and Gilmore Streets in 1916, designed by Lewis Lawrence.
In 1910 the tenants at 19 Hancock Street included Katherine Doherty who occupied an apartment with her three grown daughters, two of whom were teachers and one was a clerk. Cornelius Inunan (sp?), a real estate agent, lived in another unit as did James Finneran, a druggist. Other residents included Mary Waters, Andrew Smith, a teacher, and Sarah Pierce, who shared her flat with several roomers.
The property was inherited by Sara O’Brien, who in turn conveyed it to Marie Sullivan. Joseph Dineen owned both this building and the Alonzo from 1947 to 1955. Later owners included Thomas Tirabassi (1955-1961), Frank DiBiccari (1961 to 1972) and Milton Popkin and Louis Grolnic. It was purchased by Caritas Communities, Inc. in 1999.