This Charlestown home has a history going back to 1840

Todd Larson
Correspondent
The eat-in kitchen in Unit 1 has paneled maple cabinetry and Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, including four-burner gas cooking and granite-finish laminate counters.

The classical Doric columns, entablature and crisscross rails of 20 Albion Place’s side porch monumentalize much more than its distinction as Charlestown’s sole surviving Greek Revival building. They stand for another kind of steadfast longevity that accounted for this stately edifice’s historic preservation, contemporary livability and future income potential: long-term family ownership.

This 3,262-square-foot multifamily home was built c.1840 as a single-family property by local carpenters Aaron Clark and Enos Varney. By 1863, it was owned by Elizabeth Crafts, wife of Elias Crafts - a popular Charlestown figure whose apothecary shop was a favorite public gathering spot. The house had passed into the hands of some of their relatives by 1901, initiating its family ownership attribute.

This continued when Italian immigrant Onorato Rinaldi, a milkman for the Charlestown-based H.P. Hood & Sons, and his wife Concetta acquired the house in 1933. By then, it was in its present three-unit configuration. Thus began 88 proud years of ownership, occupancy and leasing of the house by the Rinaldis’ extended family.

“My mother and all her siblings grew up in this house at different times and lived in all three units, and one set of my cousins grew up here,” said Mary Courville, a granddaughter of the Rinaldis. “I lived here for one year, in 1991, when I was between homes.”

Courville fondly remembers 20 Albion Place as her family’s special gathering place. “Here, we came for Christmas,” she said. “We got to watch Wheel of Fortune together.”

Concetta Rinaldi deeded the house in 1994 to her daughter, Mary Rinaldi DeLisle, Courville’s mother, who leased it as income property.

Following DeLisle’s passing on Jan. 11, 2021, Courville decided to put the house on the market as a piece of both history and good fortune for the buyer looking for flexibility in investment options as well as living spaces.

Containing three sizable two-bedroom, two-bath units (including two duplexes) ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, 20 Albion Place has possibilities for income generation, combined residence and rental, or condominium conversion.

The Unit 1 living room is inviting, bright and offers plenty of space.

Also possible is single-family restoration, which would restore the original reception hall of the extant mahogany-railed spiral stair upon removal of the dividing wall between the entry halls of Units 20-1 and 20-2.

The double-door street entry introduces both units side-by-side. Unit 20-1 begins as a hallway accessing the living room, a bedroom and a shower bath en route to the kitchen. Original window panels, cornices and arch-paneled casings are preserved in the living room and bedroom, and an old veined black marble mantel with leaf-scrolled keystone graces the living room. These rooms have sunny three-window corner exposure and stunning views of the two-level columned porch and the front lawn that overlooks the six-car-parking driveway.

The eat-in kitchen has paneled maple cabinetry and Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, including four-burner gas cooking and granite-finish laminate counters. The walk-in pantry has built-in drawers, shelves, cabinets and a C-shaped running counter to facilitate food selection. Two windows on the lawn brighten the kitchen.

This bedroom in Unit 1 has a sunny three-window corner exposure and stunning views of the two-level columned porch and the front lawn.

From there, head to one of the home’s bedrooms, which looks onto a light court for tranquility for home-office use. A door opens to the deeper yard by the house’s ell for gardening.

The clean, dry basement, shared by Units 20-1 and 20-2, has a Kenmore washer and a GE dryer for Unit 20-1, generous storage for both units and egress to the alley for trash/recyclable bins via an interstitial hall for storage of snow shovels, skis, etc.

The interconnected dining and living rooms in Unit 2 form a vast, sunny entertaining space enriched by a multi-window view of the columns and yard.

The spiral stairway initiates Unit 20-2 with an elegant sweep up to its first level on the building’s second floor. The interconnected dining and living rooms form a vast, sunny entertaining space - enriched by a multi-window view of the columns and yard. An arched white marble mantel with scrolled keystone makes a fine conversation piece.

The dining room steps down into a kitchen with a delectable classic-contemporary combo: an old glazed curio cabinet with foot-level drawers, paneled oak cabinetry, Frigidaire stainless appliances including four-burner gas cooking, granite counters, white subway-tile backsplashes and ample closet space.

The Unit 2 kitchen is a delectable classic-contemporary combo: an old glazed curio cabinet with foot-level drawers, paneled oak cabinetry, Frigidaire stainless appliances including four-burner gas cooking, granite counters, white subway-tile backsplashes and ample closet space.

Up another stairway is a hallway accessing a pantry closet, a full bath with pink tub and the main stairway landing. From here, the stairway continues upward to a skylight and a roomy walk-in closet with skylight potential, introducing the bedroom level in a friendly way.

Both bedrooms have friendly features: carpeting, ceiling fans and built-in drawer banks. One bedroom boasts a Greek Revival mantel, the other has a fire-escape egress. A skylit laundry room and a full bath serve both.

This living room in Unit 2 has plenty of space and a lot of windows.

Unit 20-R, configured in the ell, has a separate deck entrance from the parking area and yard for single-family autonomy. It opens directly to a carpeted living-dining room with a contemporary open concept for a change: arrangement flexibility for entertaining and a modern open stairway to the bedroom level. The compact, but complete kitchen has paneled oak cabinetry, faux granite counters as well as Frigidaire stainless appliances including four-burner gas cooking and a Samsung stainless refrigerator.

This area works well as a bedroom or as a home office – or both.

Upstairs, two good-sized carpeted bedrooms share a bath with a long white laminate vanity and an acrylic-lined tub/shower. The larger bedroom’s L configuration enables arrangement for separate sleeping and office sections. The unit’s private two-room basement, clean and dry and ready for generous storage, contains a Frigidaire washer and Estate dryer.

Offered at $2.1 million, 20 Albion Place shows how a grand old Greek Revival home can grow a family, an income or a living space with as much investment potential today as it had in its genesis and throughout many generations.

For more information, contact Jennifer Taves of Coldwell Banker Realty at 617-877-9520 or Jennifer@JenniferTaves.com.

This 3,262-square-foot multifamily home was built c.1840 as a single-family property by local carpenters Aaron Clark and Enos Varney. By 1863, it was owned by Elizabeth Crafts, wife of Elias Crafts, a popular Charlestown figure whose apothecary shop was a favorite public gathering spot.

DETAILS:

Address: 20 Albion Place, Charlestown

Number of units: Three (one single-level, two duplex)

BR/BA: Two bedrooms and two full bathrooms per unit

Size: 3,262 square feet

Housing type: Multifamily (three-family)

Price: $2.1 million

Taxes: $13,587.30 (Tax Year 2021)

Parking: Off-street parking for six cars on improved driveway

Year built: c.1840

Features: Hardwood and tile floors, carpeted bedrooms and stairs, high ceilings, preserved architectural details including marble mantels and curved mahogany-railed staircase, ceiling fans, skylights, gas-fired hot water baseboard heating for units 20-1 and 20-R, oil heating for Unit 20-2, renovated kitchens with stainless appliances and gas cooking in all units, private laundry and cable hookups for each unit, separate entrance for each unit

Building amenities: Preserved side porch/deck, asphalt/rubber roof, front yard, fieldstone foundation, generous basement storage, four exposures total

Close by: Shopping and dining, fitness centers, houses of worship, post office, schools, community college, skating rink, tennis court, banks, medical center, public library, public parks including City Square Park, the Bunker Hill Monument along the Freedom Trail, marina, public transit, major highway access

Contact: Jennifer Taves, Coldwell Banker Realty

Phone: 617-877-9520

Email: Jennifer@JenniferTaves.com

Website: JenniferTaves.com or http://www.20Albionplace.com