Ursuline Exterior

Federal Hill: From Skinner Estate to Ursuline Academy

September 23, 2021

Please note that this webinar was held the fourth Thursday in observance of Yom Kippur on the 16th.

An independent college preparatory school for young women in grades 7–12, located on Lowder Street in Dedham, Ursuline celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021. But what is your knowledge of the property and its history?

Click on this link to view the webinar and hear scholar Sally Seufert Holmes lead a fascinating tour through the history of the estate. In this webinar, you will learn the backstory of “Federal Hill Farm” and how it evolved into the convent and Ursuline Academy of today, which continues its legacy of strong women. Included are fascinating stories that intertwined the lives of Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston; one of the city’s wealthiest eligible bachelors and his new bride; a leading architect and an estate in Dedham; and a chauffeur, gardener, and lady’s maid. 

Caption: Ursuline Academy reception building, originally the home of Francis and Sarah Skinner and then Sarah Skinner Shea and Charles Shea. Photo by Ursuline Academy.