Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mr. Wanckel's House

The print above is titled "E. Wanckel's Estate At Jamaica Plain, Near Boston," and is dated 1858. Copies of this and other prints are being sold by a vendor in association with the Boston Public Library. I found it for sale on Ebay here. When I first saw this print, it made me wonder who E. Wanckel was, and exactly where his house was. From the nearness of the street, I guessed that perhaps it was Lamartine street, with the land behind rising towards Rockview street. Of course, a print is not a photograph, and there's no reason to be sure that the view in the print represents exactly what was there at the time - I believe they call it artistic license.

I decided to take look in the Norfolk Registry of Deeds for Mr. Wanckel, and sure enough I found him. In 1855, Edmund Wanckel, watchmaker, purchased the land and buildings thereon from Edwin Evans, glue manufacturer, for $2400. Evans, in turn, had purchased it from Ebenezer Weld for the same $2400 in 1844. The property, however, was not on Lamartine street, but rather along Shawmut street - today's Washington street. Well, the only place that Washington street is that close to the railroad tracks is near Forest Hills.

Eventually, I remembered that there is a detailed 1859 map available online. Sure enough, E. Wanckel shows up along the southeast side of Washington street, near today's Brookley road. The map below shows South street on the left, the railroad tracks and Washington street. The road in the background of the print may have been Forest Hills street, and the land further on Franklin Park.

Henry Francis Walling, 1859 (BPL)

So there's one little mystery cleared up.

Norfolk County Deeds:

151:69, 1844, Weld to Edwards,
155:222, 1845, Edwards to Evans,
155:222, 1855, Evans to Wanckel,
238:313, 1865, Wanckel to Emily Scharp.


  1. Could this house have been moved? It looks like the house that sits next to Wellsmere Monumental Works across the tracks on the other side of Washington heading towards Roslindale

  2. Nice find - it is really similar. The windows on the second floor are different, and the house on Washington st is a two family. I took a look at some old maps, and that house wasn't there in 1896.