John Goddard Stearns, Jr., was born on May 18, 1843, in New York City, the son of John Goddard Stearns and his wife, Elizabeth Stearns (daughter of Charles Stearns).
He married on December 5, 1866, in Brookline, to Ellen Elizabeth Abbott (b. 7Apr1843 in St. Louis; d. 1916-1917), daughter of John Colby Abbott and his wife, Mary Ellen Fuller.
John Stearns died on September 16, 1917, in Duxbury.
John Stearns graduated from Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School in 1863, after which he worked in the offices of Ware and Van Brunt. In 1870, he went into partnership with Robert Swain Peabody, who also had served in the Ware and Van Brunt offices. Stearns was the firm’s engineering partner.
Peabody and Stearns were in partnership from 1870 until their deaths, a few days apart, in 1917. They completed more than a thousand commissions in Boston and throughout the nation, becoming, in the words of Douglass Shand-Tucci (Built in Boston) “a firm that in many ways would be to Boston what McKim, Mead and White were to New York and Burnham and Root to Chicago.”
Their work in the Boston area included the Boston and Providence Railroad Station at Park Square (1872; demolished); the Brunswick Hotel (1873) and annex (1877) on at the southeast corner of Boylston and Clarendon; the Boston Post Building (1874) at 17 Milk Street; the New York Mutual Life Insurance Building (1874-1875; demolished in 1945) on Post Office Square; the American Unitarian Association Building on Beacon at Bowdoin (1886; demolished); Assumption Church in Brookline (1878-1886); the Exchange Building (1887), one of first buildings to use steel framing; the Stock Exchange Building (1889-1891) at 53 State Street; Christ Church in Waltham (1897-1898); and the Custom House Tower (1913-1915) on State Street at India Street.
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