Although at least one source claims that this house was built in 1887, it does not appear on the map of 1889. Its style, in fact, would indicate a construction date in the mid-1890's. It is a massive two- story, three-bay building with a hipped roof. On the facade, a pair of full-height rounded bays flank the center entry. Another semi-circular bay projects from the rear southeast comer. Three tall brick chimneys rise from the roof, which is also pierced by a three-part dormer over the center facade, and a round-headed dormer over each side. Typical of the Federal Revival, the facade is dominated by a Palladian window at the center of the second story, and by a tall, divided-light, round-headed window in the upper part of each facade bay. There is a variety of other windows, including large three-part l-over-l-sash (replacements for at the first story in the bays, and several single l-over-I's. The main entry has a wide paneled door surrounded by oversized leaded sidelights and transom. It is sheltered by an entry porch and balcony with elaborately fumed posts and balustrades, supported on paired Tuscan columns. An open, hip-roofed porch on the south end of the house is also supported on Tuscan columns.
At the end of the nineteenth century, several wealthy Marlborough businessmen built large country estates on the former farmland at Marlborough Junction. Oren P. Walker built a mansion (demolished) on Maple Street opposite the factory he founded to make carriages, and later automobiles, and entrepreneur and leather-dealer Frank Billings built his residence just to the south, at 93 Framingham Road. (See Form #648.)
This house was built for liquor-dealer Michael Burke, whose store was located on Main Street. The son of an Irish immigrant, Michael Burke, Sr., in spite of his profession as a liquor dealer at a time when temperance-minded residents were still closely regulating the sale of alcohol, Michael Burke developed a reputation as a civic-minded citizen. He donated $1,000 for the building of the library, served on the City Hall Building Commission, and gave the city a five-acre playground, complete with benches and a fountain.
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