A House on Rollers — Abram E. Cutter — The McKims — The Book-Store.
IN the account given, in Chapter LXV., of the life of Mr. John Wade Damon, with a short description of his residence
on High Street, I omitted reference to a rather remarkable removal of the house while he was living in it, to which
I now refer.
The house adjoining the Damon estate was built by George A. Whiting, in the early part of the ‘sixties. At that
time Mr. Whiting was a partner with Francis B. Austin in the wholesale metal-business, in the city proper. Mr.
Damon was displeased with the building towering above his own, and discussion with Mr. Whiting seemed only to widen
the disagreement between them. Out of this feeling, without doubt, grew the determination of Mr. Damon to disconnect
the walls of the two buildings. At any rate the decision to do this was made, and at a large expense the Damon
building was removed about six inches from its original position, to where it now stands. It was a good deal of
an undertaking, but Mr. Damon was the man to accomplish it. We wonder of what advantage it was to him, but, remembering
the peculiarities of the man, we think we can understand his own remark about it — that it was pleasing to him
to show his friends, who had told him it would be impossible, that it was but a small affair, after all. When passing
along High Street, by the two houses, a copper strip can now be seen between them; and behind this is the space
which tells of the wisdom, or folly, of a man of strong will and determination.
The fine house adjoining the Whiting house, on the other side, was the residence of the late Abram E. Cutter. It
was built by him in 1869, was his home until his death on May 15, 1900, and was until recently occupied by his
Mr. Cutter was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, but the family had removed from there to Saco, Maine. From there
he came to Charlestown to establish, with the late William W. McKim, under the firm name of McKim & Cutter,
the book-store at 21 Main Street. Mr. McKim was a Charlestown boy, a brother of Judge John W. McKim, of the Suffolk
Probate Court — sons of John McKim, an officer in the United States Marine Corps, residing in the Navy Yard. Governor
Alexander H. Rice married their sister, Augusta, a remarkable woman who in early life is remembered by the writer
as one of the brightest, most popular, and most interesting scholars in Mrs. Burrill’s dancing-school, mentioned
particularly in one of these articles. William W. McKim was a popular man and occupied an important position in
the Civil War. The book-business has been continued ever since in the same store and is now conducted by Mr. Fred
Mr. Cutter was a most estimable citizen, — an intelligent man of high character and fine taste. The library which
can still be seen in his house bears witness to this, and should be preserved as the successful work of a lover
of things of beauty, a preserver of fine thought and sound sentiment. He was also a most useful man in the community.
Before the city was united to Boston he had served many years on the school committee, and after annexation he
was continued on the same board for even a longer time. His connection with the Winchester Home was continuous
from the time of its establishment until his death, and the annual reports for many years bear his signature as
secretary. Rarely are institutions favored with such devoted, unselfish, gratuitous service and friendship as he
gave it. While he was absent from the city with his wife in making several journeys to Europe, he was always greatly
missed, and on his return no one could be welcomed more heartily. The shadow cast over the community by his death
was deep and real, the sincere expression of grief and loss. In the Harvard Church he was always a pillar of strength
and encouragement, and in the Unitarian Association and denomination his memory is fragrant with usefulness, cheerfulness,
FEBRUARY 22, 1902.