Edmund M. Wheelwright

Edmund March Wheelwright (September 14, 1854 – August 15, 1912) was one of New England's most important architects in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and served as city architect for Boston, Massachusetts from 1891–1895.

Edmund March Wheelwright
Edmund M. Wheelwright, circa 1876

Early life and career

Wheelwright was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, educated at Roxbury Latin School and graduated from Harvard University in 1876. He studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later in Europe, after which he worked in the offices of Peabody and Stearns and of firms in New York and Albany.

In 1883 he started a business of his own and afterwards became a member of the firm of Wheelwright & Haven, more recently Wheelwright, Haven & Hoyt.

In June 1887, Wheelwright married Elizabeth Boott Brooks.

In 1893 Wheelwright and R. Clipston Sturgis were chosen by the trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to spend a year studying art museums throughout Europe; they later contributed to the ongoing design of the museum's building on Huntington Avenue.

Wheelwright, who designed the Harvard Lampoon Building, also oversaw the construction. It was first opened on February 19, 1909. Wheelwright while attending Harvard University was one of the founders of the Harvard Lampoon.[1] Wheelwright's design was inspired in part by an old church in Jamestown, Virginia,[2] and by the Flemish Renaissance details of Auburn Street buildings in its vicinity.

He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, serving on its board of directors from 1892-1894 and 1898-1900, as well as a fellow of the Boston Society of Architects. He published two books on school architecture: "The American Schoolhouse" and "School Architecture."

Charles Donagh Maginnis had been his apprentice.

After suffering a nervous breakdown from overwork, he lived at a Thompsonville, CT sanitarium for 2 years before passing away on August 14, 1912. He was just 57 years of age. His obituary is in the August 15, 1912 edition of the New York Times.

Boston's fire tower

In 1892 Wheelwright designed and built a 156 foot tall tower in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts, which was originally designed as part of the central fire station and used as a fire lookout. Since Wheelwright wanted the building to stand out, it was modeled after the 14th century Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy, and made of brick like the Italian original. It is the city's only Florentine-inspired building.[3][4][5][6]

Architectural works

Wheelwright designed the following:

In addition, he was a consulting architect for:


Mid-career, Wheelwright worked as an architect for the firm of McKim, Mead, and White. By 1897 he had formed a partnership and created the firm of "Wheelwright & Haven." This later became "Wheelwright, Haven and Hoyt," and (after Wheelwright's death) "Haven and Hoyt." The firm operated until c. 1930. The Haven and Hoyt Collection at the Boston Public Library holds a variety of materials related to Wheelwright, including renderings and photographs.

Selected publications


  1. ^ The American Educational Review. 31. American Educational Co. 1910. p. 365.
  2. ^ The Brickbuilder. 19. Rogers & Manson. 1910. p. 82.
  3. ^ Chandler, F. W. (Francis Ward), ed. Municipal architecture in Boston, from designs by Edmund M. Wheelwright, city architect, 1891-1895. Boston : Bates & Guild company, 1898.
  4. ^ The Brochure series of architectural illustration, Volume 4, Bates & Guild Publishers, 1898. Cf. p.123
  5. ^ Ralli, Tania (2005), "And Now A Word From Our Shelter: Ads Atop Pine Street Inn Help Pay To Restore It, But Some Ask Where It Will End", The Boston Globe, October 9, 2005, p. 1
  6. ^ Pine Street Inn (Boston) - Wikimapia
  7. ^ Wheelwright and his brother John Tyler Wheelwright were among The Lampoon's founders
  8. ^ Built as carriage house for William Fletcher Weld in 1889, became a museum in 1949
  9. ^ Credited to Wheelwright, Haven and Hoyt
  10. ^ "Bowditch School", Jamaica Plain Historical Society
  11. ^ Zaitzevsky, Cynthia R. (July 1986). "Written Historical and Descriptive Data" (PDF). National Park Service / Historic American Engineering Record. Retrieved 26 June 2015.


District 13 Police Station

The District 13 Police Station is a historic former police station at 28 Seaverns Avenue in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The Gothic Revival station was designed in 1873 by George Ropes and built for the town of West Roxbury, as one of its last public works before its annexation by Boston. An addition was designed in 1892 by Edmund M. Wheelwright, architect for the City of Boston. The building is one of the only high-style Victorian municipal buildings in the city.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. It has been converted to residential use.

Jordan Hall

Jordan Hall is a 1,051-seat concert hall in Boston, Massachusetts, the principal performance space of the New England Conservatory. It is one block from Boston's Symphony Hall, and together they are considered two of America's most acoustically perfect performance spaces. It is the only conservatory building in the United States to be designated a National Historic Landmark.

The hall opened in 1903, as a gift of Eben D. Jordan II, a Conservatory trustee and a Jordan of the Jordan Marsh retail store. Its architect was Edmund M. Wheelwright of Boston's Wheelwright & Haven, who later designed nearby Horticultural Hall. The hall's unusual square floor plan reflects its underlying plot of land but despite its shape, the hall has excellent acoustics, and all seats on both the main floor and horseshoe-shaped balcony have unobstructed views of the stage. The hall's prominent organ is modeled upon one found in a church within the former hospital complex of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, now a museum.

The dedication concert of Jordan Hall, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, took place on October 20, 1903, and created quite a stir. Effusive newspaper accounts deemed the hall "unequaled the world over," and the Boston Globe reported that it was "a place of entertainment that European musicians who were present that evening say excels in beauty anything of the kind they ever saw." Even a decade later, it describes itself as an "imposing Conservatory Building".Jordan Hall has won numerous awards since its restoration in 1995, including the 1996 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, the Victorian Society in America's Preservation Commendation, the 1996 Boston Preservation Alliance Award, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Award of Merit, and the Illuminating Engineering Society 1996 Lumen Award. The Conservatory's main building, which includes Jordan Hall, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994; in both cases the name used is New England Conservatory of Music.

Innumerable performances have taken place in Jordan Hall, including some 650 student performances a year as well as appearances by virtually every important classical musician of the past century. That list includes performers Nadia Boulanger, Pablo Casals, the Martha Graham Dance Company, James Galway, pianists Arthur Rubinstein, Cyril Scott, Ferruccio Busoni, Angela Hewitt, Radu Lupu, Rudolf Serkin, Richard Goode, Krystian Zimerman, Garrick Ohlsson, Yundi Li, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and violinist Isaac Stern; vocalists Marian Anderson, Peter Pears, Dawn Upshaw, Ben Heppner, David Daniels, and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; guitarists Andrés Segovia, Christopher Parkening, Julian Bream, and Sérgio and Odair Assad; conductors Arthur Fiedler and Kurt Masur; composers Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten, John Cage, Olivier Messiaen, and Aaron Copland; jazz legends Stan Getz and Benny Goodman; The Yale Whiffenpoofs; and the Budapest, Juilliard, Guarneri and Tokyo string quartets.

Jordan Hall is home to From the Top, a National Public Radio classical music show hosted by New England Conservatory alumnus Christopher O'Riley. In addition, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New England String Ensemble, Festival Youth Orchestra, the Boston Civic Symphony, and the Boston Philharmonic play many of their concerts at Jordan Hall. In 1973, The New England Ragtime Ensemble, then a student group called The New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble, recorded their Grammy Award-winning album "The Red Back Book" on the Jordan Hall stage.

Wheelwright (surname)

Wheelwright is an English surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Edmund M. Wheelwright (1854–1912), American architect

Edward Lawrence Wheelwright (1921–2007), Australian economist and political theorist,

Horace William Wheelwright (1815–1865), English naturalist and writer

John Wheelwright (1592–1679), English clergyman and early American settler

John Brooks Wheelwright (1897–1940), American poet

Philip Wheelwright (1901–1970), American philosopher

William Wheelwright (1798 --1873), American businessman

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