Tea & Talk – “Chateau Higginson: Social Life in Boston’s Back Bay, 1870 – 1920”

June 11, 2019 @ 4:00 pm
$28 with advance reservation; $32 day of

Former Boston Globe reporter and Pittsfield native Margo Miller will kick off our Summer 2019 series of Tea & Talks on Tuesdays with the subject of her new book Chateau Higginson: Social Life in Boston’s Back Bay, 1870 – 1920.  She will make her visual presentation on Tuesday, June 11 at 4:00 pm followed by a Victorian tea.

Miller will center on Henry Lee Higginson (1834- 1919), founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881 and creator of the Hotel Agassiz in 1874, “America’s first real apartment building,” among other major accomplishments.  Family members, friends, the tastes, culture, economics, architecture, society, public health and early transportation issues, recreations, sports and entertainments of the day create a full picture of the times. Insights into the planning of the Back Bay area and even its geological aspects are given the author’s attention.

Hotel Agassiz, inspired by upper-class apartment living in Europe, sometimes called “French flats,” was also known as “Chateau Higginson.” His partner in its development and his brother-in-law was Alexander Agassiz, the prominent scientist and engineer.

Miller has tied Higginson to each chapter in a city that held to its old-guard, close-knit relationships, including chapters on “Entertainment,” “Horses” and “Outdoors.” Higginson was an equestrian who hated the appearance of bicycles, while Frank W. Weston, the architect who designed the Hotel Agassiz, is known as “the father of American bicycling.”

A footnote: The author resides at Hotel Agassiz on Commonwealth Avenue, a multi-floor building possessing condominiums.

The Summer 2019 series of fourteen Tea & Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Cost to attend the Miller talk are $28 for advance reservations and $32 day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited.  For reservations call us at 413-637-3206.