Home » Historic Building of the Week: 150 Front St.

Historic Building of the Week: 150 Front St.

150 Front Street with stucco siding. Photo by Marblehead Historical Commission

Some buildings really stick out. Especially in a town like Marblehead, where boxy colonials with shingle siding and other pre-1900 styles of architecture reign supreme, anything even a little outside of the norm draws attention.

150 Front St., once home to the Sea Spray restaurant and Ferncroft Lodge, used to be one of these buildings. While some of the building’s components were dated to 1850, according to the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), this building did not fit in with the rest of the mid-19th century buildings.

Sometime before 1912, the building was altered to be covered in stucco. Stucco siding was very rare all over the country through the 19th century. However, from the 1920s to the mid-century, stucco became more popular in an eclectic, increasingly popular architecture style. 

This style grew out of a blend of New England house plans and Spanish adobe construction and style, with other influences from the Southeast, Bahamas, and Caribbean. It was refined into the architectural style known as Monterey in the South and Southeast of the United States. 

You may be looking around and wondering where all the stucco is, if this style was truly popular. Though the stucco and the Monterey style were becoming more popular around the same time as 150 Front St. got its own stucco siding, it is still a rare style in New England. Monterey-style buildings and stucco are most frequently seen in California and Texas.

Now, you may be looking around yet again to try to find the stucco I have spent this article describing. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you are not a fan of stucco), the building now has shingle siding, making it fit in a bit better with the rest of the town’s buildings– and perhaps returning to siding similar to the original.

If you find yourself sad that such a unique feature is now gone, just give it about 100 years. Maybe in the future, this will be the only building with shingle siding left in town.