There's a connection between this house and Norway - believe it or not. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, John Longyear was a significant player in international capitalism. With a consortium of investors, some from Britain, some from Russia, he was instrumental in the industrial development of the islands of Svalberg (Spitzbergen). The largest settlement of Svalberg, Longyearbyen (Longyear City), is named after this Marquette native.
On my first trip to Boston in 1997, I made my way out to the inner suburb of Brookline to see this turn-of-the-century mansion. At that time, the Longyear Mansion was serving as home to a museum dedicated to the Christian Science faith espoused by the matriarch of the family, Mary Beecher Longyear, who was a close friend and follower of Mary Baker Eddy. But the reason I was (and still am) interested in the Longyear mansion is because of its peculiar connection to Marquette Michigan, my hometown.
The Longyear family originally lived in Marquette, where John Longyear helped supervise a regional and international corporation involved in mining, logging, and heavy industry. They constructed this house in Marquette in the 1890s, using our local red sandstone as the primary exterior building material. It was built atop a hill overlooking beautiful Lake Superior. But shortly after the turn of the century, one of the Longyear children died in a tragic drowning accident in the lake - and the family no longer cherished their wonderful views of Superior, which had claimed their beloved son. So they decided to move out to the Boston area - in part so that Mary could be closer to her beloved Mrs. Baker Eddy. But instead of giving up their beloved house, they had it carefully dismantled, stone by stone, and then shipped out east by train.
At one time, the Longyear Mansion was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not. Although it looks perfectly at home on its new hill in Brookline, in a way it really belongs back in Marquette where it was originally meant to be. Longyears don't live in the Longyear mansion any longer, and the Longyear Chistian Science Museum has moved out as well. The property is now being developed as a large-scale condo project - the house subdivided into several high-end luxury units, and the four new condo towers rising on the grounds of the estate. I wonder if the people who will spend millions to live here will appreciate the interesting history of their property?
Walk up Summitt Hill in Brookline. It is a beautiful neighborhood that you walk through and the view of the area is great. Your now very high elevation wise, but you get to see a lot around you. Just looking at the New England houses makes it worthwhile. If you are walking into Brookline, take a right of Beacon St. Continue to head up.
Putterman Meadows Golf Course
Almost directly across the street from my house, this is the municiple golf course, next door to the exclusive Country Club. The Rider Cup was held here a year ago and brought more excitement than we've had in this neighborhood for a long time.
Larz Anderson Park offers community gardens, a ballfield, picnic area, iceskating, sledding, dog walking and the Transportation Museum
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