About The Shirley Eustis House
The Shirley-Eustis House Association was founded in 1913 by William Sumner Appleton, who also founded the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) in 1910. As one of the Commonwealth's earliest preservation organizations, the Association was responsible for saving this unique building, and exists today for the purpose of preserving, maintaining and enhancing the House, its furnishings and property. In fact, during the late 1960s, the group was instrumental in keeping the House in Roxbury when there was pressure to move it to a more prosperous location in the Fenway. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Association was able to stabilize the House and restore it to its former glory. In 1991, the Association received the Boston Preservation Alliance Award for "the best small-scale historic restoration in the city of Boston."
The Shirley-Eustis House was built in Roxbury during the period 1747-1751 by William Shirley, appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and Commander-in-Chief of all British forces in North America by George II. The House is one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governors' mansions in the country and the only one actually built by a Royal Colonial Governor. As early as 1960, Shirley Place was awarded the prestigious designation as a National Historic Landmark. One of a handful of Boston's national landmarks that pre-date 1750, the House represents an unusually long continuum in American history, serving as the home of two distinguished Governors - one Royal and one Federal (William Eustis). The House has also been occupied by, among others, the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment of Foot when it served as a Revolutionary War barracks during the Siege of Boston in 1775; Jean-Baptiste du Buc, the Haitian counselor to Louis XVI of France; Captain James Magee, an Irish-American who prospered in the China Trade, and scores of other immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Located adjacent to the Dudley Triangle in Roxbury, Shirley Place is a magnificent historic house on approximately one acre of grounds that serves both the surrounding community and Greater Boston. Immediate neighbors include Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, YouthBuild Boston and the Ralph Waldo Emerson School. The demographics of the community have changed dramatically since Governor Shirley built his country mansion in bucolic Roxbury. Today the neighborhood is urban and ethnically diverse, with a large number of residents below the official poverty level. Since residents are currently unable to sustain this Landmark property, either through visitations or memberships, we must rely heavily on support from outside the community.
The House is open to the public for tours Thursday through Sunday, June through September and by appointment on any weekday year-round. Special events are presented throughout the year. A group of highly trained historic educators and docents will engage visitors during all tours and events. Programs are limited to warmer months as the House is expensive to heat in winter but we do travel to wherever your group meets for presentations and lectures. Please see our Pre-Scheduled Program Brochure for all of our programming options. Admission is charged to the general public, although entrance is free to SEHA members and Roxbury residents. An annual membership drive renews and recruits about 150 members from New England and beyond.
Shirley-Eustis House Association
Board of Governors – 2012
J. Archer O’Reilly, III, President
Marlowe Sigal, Treasurer
William Kuttner, Secretary
Frederic C. Detwiller
Jonathan L. Fairbanks
Bonnie L. Gossels
A.R. Lamb III
J. Louis Newell
James S. Nicolson
Representative Byron Rushing
D. Brenton Simons
Patricia Violette, Executive Director/Curator/CEO