Built in 1833, the Forbes House Museum in Milton, Mass., was designed by Boston architect Isaiah Rogers, and is only one of two remaining examples of his early residential work.
Captain Robert Bennet Forbes had the house built for his mother, and at the time, it was a prime example of Greek Revival architecture.
“In addition to being a China trade merchant, the Captain was a ship designer, model ship builder, writer, and philanthropist of international stature,” says the museum’s official website, which has a ton of super cool history facts.
The Captain’s son, James, and his wife, Alice, came to live in the house in 1871 and made many renovations and expansions. The roof was raised in 1882 to make room for servants quarters, and Victorian changes made to its facade.
Mary Bowditch Forbes (1898-1962), the Captain’s granddaughter, was the last member of the Forbes family to permanently live in the house. She collected President Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia, which are now a part of the museum’s displays.
Mary had a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s cabin built on the property in 1923. (We’ll post it tomorrow!)
In 1962, Mary left the property to her nephew, Dr. H.A. Crosby Forbes, who turned it into the Museum of American China trade two years later.
Inspired by his family business, Dr. Forbes enjoyed a long and lucrative career as a curator of Asian export art. He was also a curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for 20 years.
Other Forbes House exhibits include Chinese export porcelain, silver, paintings and furniture; and Forbes family items including paintings, furniture and artifacts.