The Cottage Farm neighborhood of Brookline developed as a suburban community with the growth of Boston and the opening of the Boston-Worcester Railroad in the 19th century. The man primarily responsible for this development was Amos A. Lawrence (1814-1886). In 1850, Lawrence purchased 200 acres from David Sears, developer of Longwood and
moved his family from Boston to Brookline. By this time, many wealthy Bostonians built estate houses in the suburbs and also held large homes in Beacon Hill, closer to their businesses. Amos and his brother William soon began to subdivide and build up the Cottage Farm area, selling lots to their friends and esteemed members of society.
One of the buildings constructed in the second wave of development after the Civil War was the large brick Second Empire home for Judge Jonathan Wells (1819-1875). Wells was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and served until his death. After his death, residing at the home for just 5 years, the property appears to have been purchased next by Amos Lawrence’s widow Sarah E. Appleton where she lived until her death. Today, the home stands on one of the largest lots in Cottage Farm and features amazing brickwork with the corbeling, belt course, and staggered quoins at the corners.