Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

32 Gay Street

The South Quincy neighborhood is bounded by the MBTA tracks (west), School Street (north), Quincy Avenue (east) and the Braintree Town Line (south). The old Boston-Plymouth Highway followed two important streets in the area, School and Franklin and it is on Franklin Street that are found the birthplaces of the two presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, around which the Adams Birthplace Local Historic District is formed. This was a residential area and many of the homes belonged to those connected with the nearby granite industry. The earliest houses were along the old Boston-Plymouth Highway with woods and farmlands stretching behind. Now the major farms in the area, principally those of Charles Francis Adams and Job Faxon, have been subdivided and there is much commercial activity along Quincy Street, Franklin Street, School Street and the beginning of Independence Avenue. A notable feature of South Quincy is the 54-acre Faxon Park, given to the City of Quincy, beginning in 1885, by the Faxon family.

Liba Litchfield, a painter, was probably the builder of this house at 32 Gay Street. The Litchfield family were builders and owned properties both in South and Southwest Quincy. By 1895 the property was sold to John R. Wade, no occupation listed. The 1907 Atlas lists both Helen Wade and Mary E. Curtis (possibly the wife of Frank O. Curtis, a clerk) as owners. The 1923 owner was Catharine Tierney, the widow of Patrick Tierney, a laborer. Gay Street was named for Henry Turner Gay (1766-1844).

Talbot Hamlin. Greek Revival Architecture in America. Dover Publications. Inc. New York 1964. p. 159-186.
H. Hobart Holly. Quincy: 350 Years. 1974. p. 58.
H. Hobart Holly. "Quincy's Granite Hills Were Golden". Quincy History. Spring. 1980.

This residence is one of the fine Greek Revival cottages in Quincy which has retained most of its architectural integrity. Built in the 1850s as gable-end-to-street one and one half story cottage with the typical cornice board around the house and under the eaves and a recessed side entrance, it had added to it during the Italianate period two one-story angular, bracketed bay windows. The windows have stylized pediments atop them; the entrance is framed with pilasters and on top is the same type of lintel as the windows; the door has sidelight to floor level. The house rests on a granite foundation. Unlike the other Greek Revival property listed in the South Quincy inventory list which has been resided with vinyl to its detriment, this cottage has retained its wood clapboards and its architectural integrity. It is a fine component of the Gay Street streetscape.