A Unique History

History actually did happen here

When Harrison Otis arranged the purchase of land for the new state capitol he cleverly arranged for a group of friends—the Mount Vernon Proprietors— to buy 18.5 acres of adjoining pasture from the painter John Singleton Copley. Here they not only built mansions for themselves, but also beautiful town houses for their families and as speculative ventures. Beacon Hill, already nearly 200 years old, quickly urbanized and became Boston’s most coveted address.

Signet Seal

The Mount Vernon Proprietors

The Mount Vernon Proprietors established an entirely new business precedent. It is the first known real estate syndicate in America and the model most syndicates have followed ever since. Membership changed from the original four—Harrison Otis, Jonathan Mason, Charles Apthorp and Joseph Woodward—but among them were Charles Bulfinch, Henry Jackson and, yes, a woman, Hepzibah Swan. Signet stands where Jonathan Mason made his home, an opulent mansion demolished after his death in 1831.

Historic Beacon Hill

The beacon that once stood on Boston’s highest point to warn citizens of an invasion is long gone. The pastures that once ran down to the Charles River have given way to homes and shops, meeting houses, parks and restaurants. But over the course of nearly 400 years, Beacon Hill has remained at the heart of the city’s history, home to literary salons and publishing houses, abolitionists, politicians and statesmen, artists and authors.
The Mason Houses
The Robert Gould Shaw Monument, across from the state capitol, honors the all-Black 54th Regiment and its leader.
The Harrison Gray Otis House Museum was the first of three houses this Mount Vernon Proprietor built on Beacon Hill.
Most people only see the gold exterior of the dome on the Massachusetts State House.
“The most photographed street in America,” Acorn Street preserves the ambiance of 18th century Beacon Hill.
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