Fodor's Expert Review Harrison Gray Otis House
Harrison Gray Otis, a U.S. senator, Boston's third mayor, and one of the Mt. Vernon Proprietors (a group of prosperous Boston investors), built in rapid succession three of the city's most splendidly ostentatious Federal-era houses, all designed by Charles Bulfinch and all still standing. This, the third Harrison Gray Otis House, was the grandest. Now the headquarters of the American Meteorological Society, the house was once freestanding and surrounded by English-style gardens. The second Otis house, built in 1800 at 85 Mt. Vernon Street, is now a private home. The first Otis house, built in 1796 on Cambridge Street, is the only one open to the public. Otis moved into 45 Beacon Street in 1805, and stayed until his death in 1848. His tenure thus extended from the first days of Beacon Hill's residential development almost to the time when many of the Hill's prominent families decamped for the Back Bay, which was just beginning to be filled at the time of Otis's death.