In the 19th century, this historic house was leased to a bookseller, Carter & Hendlee. This was the first of nine bookstores and publishing companies that would occupy the spot, making it a breeding ground for literary and philosophical ideas. The most illustrious was Ticknor & Fields, publisher of books by Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In the earliest days of Boston history, this was the site of the home of Anne Hutchinson, the religious dissident who was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and co-founded the Rhode Island Colony. The current brick building dates to 1718, when it served as a pharmacy and residence. Today the storefront houses a fast-food restaurant, which seems somewhat less lofty than its earlier incarnations.