355 Commonwealth Avenue
Back Bay, Boston
The Oliver Ames Mansion was erected in 1881 as the lavish home of a railroad tycoon. Oliver Ames also served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1887 to 1890. In 1926 the building was purchased and converted into a showroom for the National Casket Company.
Designed by Carl Fehmer, the building was one of the first chateau-style residences built in Boston, drawing inspiration from the buildings of France's Loire Valley. The unique mansard roof is pierced by chimneys and dormers. Notable are the carved brownstone relief panels that depict small cherubs engaged in eating, playing musical instruments, and conversing, which corresponded to the purposes of the interior rooms.
The Raymond Property Company acquired the property in 1981 and converted the 27,700 square foot building into first floor retail and four floors of commercial office space. This project was an early example of adaptive reuse of an historic structure.