Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

51 Hunt Street

The Atlantic neighborhood in North Quincy is bordered by the Neponset River to the North and Quincy Bay to the East. It was once part of Dorchester and with the Old North Precinct that had split off from Braintree, became part of the Town of Quincy in 1792. The Jockey Club of Boston set up the first mile track course in the state in 1812 in a section of Atlantic known as Billings Plains and less than one hundred years later the track was filled in with new homes. Like its neighbors, Montclair and Wollaston, most of the community of Atlantic was built in the first third of the 20th century. From earliest colonial times until the Civil War, North Quincy was referred to as "The Farms" and it was the large Newbury, Wilson, Billings and Glover farms that were split up for residences by real estate developers David H. MacKay, Henry Hunt, Maurice E. Kilpatrick, John E. Poland, Henry J. Grass and Charles M. Conant, Henry Blackwell, and Walter Webb. The development process was greatly accelerated by the Old Colony Railroad which began operations in 1845, eventually establishing stations in Atlantic, Norfolk Downs (the southern section of Atlantic) and Wollaston as well as by the advent of Quincy's extensive street railway system.

During 1888 to 1898 Henry Hunt, acting as agent for developer Charles F. Stratton, opened up a number of estates, built ten streets and put over three hundred house lots on the market. Stratton, in 1907, owned the entire block on which the present North Quincy High School and the three decker at 51 Hunt Street are located. Henry Hunt had run out of names when he got to this street and historian John Ramsdell suggested he called it "Hunt Street" in recognition of all Hunt had done to develop the Atlantic neighborhood.

Building Permits.
Hobart Holly, Quincy Historical Society.
H. Hobart Holly, ed. Quincy: 350 Years, 1974, p. 4.
Arthur J. Krim. Three-deckers of Dorchester: An Architectlura1 Survey, Boston Landmarks Commission, 1977.
William S. Pattee. A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, 1878, p. 55.
John Ramsdell. "Historic North Quincy". ["Written about 1934"]. Typed manuscript at Quincy Historical Society.
Daniel Munro Wilson. Three Hundred years of Quincy 1625-1925, 1925, p. 280-281.

Quincy's developers responding to the need of urban residential housing built numerous double houses, residentially scaled apartment buildings (see 1- 7 Moscow Street, 59-63 Faxon Road, 68-71 Atlantic Street and others) and three-deckers. The building at 51 Hunt Street is a fine example of a three-decker built in the 1910s in the "Early Classic Period" when the basic form of three-deckers had been perfected and standardized. The three story building was given a "sense of classic proportion and balance, neutralizing the narrow massing of the row house plan" (Krim, page 22). Characteristic embellishments include the multi-storied porch with square paneled posts, the elaborate balustrade and a strongly projecting roof cornice with dentils and simple brackets. The massing is compact yet en1ivened by the projecting porches. The building is set on a typical Quincy granite foundation, is walled with clapboards and has regular fenestration. It is an attractive component in the Hunt Street streetscape and a pleasant reminder of the "three-decker era" of the early 20th century.