The Marcus Barlow Palmer House is a two-storey Second Empire-style residence situated on Water Street near Palmer’s Pond in Dorchester. It is one of the three remaining homes constructed by the renowned 19th-century shipbuilding Palmer brothers. Marcus’s siblings, Hiram Weldon and Philip Jeremiah, also had homes on Water Street.
This house was designated for its connection to the Palmer family, its association with some of Dorchester’s earliest Acadian settlers, and its architectural significance.
The house is recognized for its association with the Palmer family. Marcus Barlow Palmer built this residence circa 1871.
Built around 1871 by Marcus Barlow Palmer, the house is notable for its association with the Palmer family. As a grandson of United Empire Loyalist Lieutenant Gideon Palmer (1735-1824), Marcus Barlow was a descendant of a lineage that included militiamen, grist and sawmill operators, farmers, and magistrates.
The Palmer family, however, was most famous for its shipbuilding endeavors. Two families, the Hickmans and the Palmers, dominated this industry in Dorchester.
Various Palmer family members built their vessels at Palmer’s Pond, including Gideon Palmer II (15 vessels), his son Philip Jeremiah (four vessels), his son Hiram Weldon (one vessel), his nephew Acalus (son of Philip, three vessels), and his nephew Stephen (son of Philip, three vessels).
The house is also significant for its connection to some of Dorchester’s first Acadian settlers. It is believed that around 1742, Pierre Blanchard, Joseph Richard (dit Beaupré), and their families resided near the marsh that includes present-day Water Street, within the boundaries of the current Village of Dorchester.
Architecturally, the house exemplifies the Second Empire style, popular during the latter half of the 19th century. The distinctive mansard roof and tower contribute to the house’s unique character. Hiram’s house across the street also featured a widow’s walk. Most of the luxurious interior woodwork and plasterwork associated with a wealthy late-Victorian family remain intact. The tower’s interior includes partially completed mural paintings by a family member of former residents Anthony (Ken) Goguen and Mary Hazel (White) Goguen.
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