Longstaff & Black House
1890

1210 Gambier Avenue
 
South Hill Neighborhood
 


The home is named after architects Thomas Franklin (Frank) Longstaff and Henry Nelson (H. N) Black, who built and owned this home in 1890.

Frank Longstaff arrived in Fairhaven in August, 1889, from Missoula, Montana.  He had been requested by Roland Gamwell to participate in the construction of the grand new Fairhaven Hotel on 12th Street and Harris Avenue.
 
 
The town was growing, architectural demand increased, and Longstaff asked his colleague, H. N. Black to join him out west.  Longstaff and Black had worked together in Boston, specializing in stone buildings in the Victorian style. 
 
In addition to adding design elements to the Fairhaven Hotel and supervising its construction, they designed and supervised the construction of Gamwell’s residence on 16th Street.  They also supervised the construction of Jim Wardner’s home (known as Wardner's Castle) on 15th Street which had been designed by Kirtland Cutter. They designed the Knights of Pythias building on 11th Street.  They drew up plans for a new St. Joseph Hospital on 17th Street.  This hospital was never erected due to cost and partnership issues.
 
In 1890, the architectural team designed their own residence at 1210 Gambier, overlooking Bellingham Bay.  This home was not as elegant as the homes of Gamwell and Wardner, but had certain unique features.  Most notably were shared living quarters on the main floor but separate apartments on the upper floor which were reached by private stairways on opposite ends of the house with a wall dividing the width of the house.  Most descriptions of this residence attribute this floor plan to the fact that both men were bachelors.  In fact, both were married men with their wives and children residing in other parts of the country.



 
 
 
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