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Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee was born in Boston, MA on June 1st 1829. Mr. Bradlee was educated at Chauncey Hall school in Boston from which he graduated in 1846. He chose architecture as a profession, just as his grandfather (also named Nathaniel Bradlee) had before him. He entered the office of George M. Dexter in Boston and remained there until 1856 when he became that gentleman's successor. An imaginative designer and good businessman , Bradlee soon developed a large clientele and demonstrated considerable talent designing different styles that included Gothic, Italianate, Second Empire and High Victorian Gothic. Many of his designs were highly praised by contemporary observers and his services were greatly in demand.

During the first fifteen years of Bradlee's practice, he received an average of seven commissions a year including such diverse projects as the Trinity Church Chapel, Gray's Hall at Harvard University, Boston and Lowell Railroad Passenger Stations and The Jamaica Plain Unitarian Church. Quickly making a name for himself in the Boston architectural community, in 1867 Bradlee was one of the nine founding members of the Boston Society of Architects (the very first meeting of which took place in Bradlee's office at 18 Pemberton Square). Bradlee served as Treasurer from 1867 to 1870 and was a member until his death.

The end of the Civil War and the new economic boom that followed brought an exceptional number of new projects into Bradlee's office. Beginning in 1868 the average number of commissions Bradlee received per year jumped from seven to eighteen. During the next 5 years he designed such noteworthy buildings as the Hotel St. Cloud, New England Mutual Insurance Building, Suffolk Savings Bank and The Lynn Water Works. In 1874 he was selected as the architect for the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, his biggest project to date. The increased work and Bradlee's growing involvement in a variety of civic and business activities soon called for the expansion of the firm. In 1872 Bradlee made Walter T. Winslow his partner. During the next four years years, Bradlee worked on approximately sixty new projects. The number of architects and draftsmen working out of Bradlee's office jumped from four to eight in one year.

In 1886, at the age of fifty seven , Bradlee retired from active architectural practice. At this time he began listing his business address as 87 Milk Street. His architectural firm, however continued to go by the name it had held which was Bradlee, Winslow & Wetherell.

Nathaniel J Bradlee's thirty three year career in architectural design was involved in over five hundred projects for the Boston and surrounding areas. His work included stores and commercial buildings, houses, churches, factories, banks, government buildings, hospitals, hotels, libraries, schools, barns and railroad buildings. Bradlee died unexpectedly in 1888 at the age of fifty nine while on a train from Boston to Keene, NH.


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Early picture of Nathaniel Bradlee.

 

An 1881 drawing of a Children's Hospital that was never constructed.

 

1875 drawing of Danvers State Hospital.

 

Bradlee's headstone buried in the family plot.

 

 

 

 

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