Redtop (Belmont, Massachusetts)

Redtop (Belmont, Massachusetts)

Infobox_nrhp | name =Red Top
nrhp_type = nhl

caption = Redtop in Belmont, Massachusetts
location= Belmont, Massachusetts
lat_degrees = 42
lat_minutes = 24
lat_seconds = 1
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 71
long_minutes = 10
long_seconds = 46
long_direction = W
locmapin = Massachusetts
area =
built =1878
architect= McKim,Mead, & White
architecture= No Style Listed
designated=November 11, 1971
added = November 11, 1971
governing_body = Private
refnum=71000911cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

Redtop, also spelled Red Top, is an historic house located at 90 Somerset Street, Belmont, Massachusetts. It was once the home of William Dean Howells and family, and is now a National Historic Landmark.

The house was designed by William Rutherford Mead of the noted architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White, and brother of Mrs. (Elinor Mead) Howells, while the Howells family lived nearby at their recently completed home on Concord Avenue in Cambridge. The new house Redtop was in fact owned by Charles Fairchild (1838-1910), Boston financier, who then rented it to the Howells, but it was designed from the start for the Howells' taste. Construction began in 1877 and the Howells lived in the house from 1878 to 1882.

Nearly every important American author of the time visited Redtop. To judge from published letters, Mark Twain visited Redtop eight times, and novelist Henry James wrote praising the house as a "fairy abode of light and beauty" on its "cheerful, breezy hill . . . I never saw a house that took my fancy more captive at once by its tone of colour--as soon as I had entered the door; and every subsequent impression deepened the effect. All the details struck me as purely lovely, and when I looked from within outwards and over that incomparable landscape . . . I said to myself, 'Well, good fortune can no further go. Let silence muse the amount of it!'"

The house sits on a large lot high atop Belmont Hill, looking out over Cambridge and Boston. It is built of brick and stucco in the Queen Anne style, with a large, sloping roof dominating the house as seen from the road beneath. The roof, once red, gave the house its nickname; but it is now gray.

Mead's architectural designs for Redtop are preserved in the Amherst College Archives.


* [ National Historic Landmark citation]
* Ginette de B Merrill, "Redtop and the Belmont years of W.D. Howells and his family", Harvard University Library, 1980, ASIN B0006XIPGC.
* William Dean Howells, "My Mark Twain: Reminiscences and Criticisms", ed. Marilyn Austin Baldwin, Louisiana State University Press, 1967, page 173, footnote 62. ISBN 0807101257.
* Van Wyck Brooks, "Howells: His Life and World", Dutton, 1959, page 128.
* Henry James, William Dean Howells, "Letters, Fictions, Lives: Henry James and William Dean Howells", Oxford University Press, 1997, page 130, footnote 6. ISBN 0195061195.
* [ Five College Archives]

See also

* List of National Historic Landmarks in Massachusetts
* List of Registered Historic Places in Middlesex County, Massachusetts

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