Dexter-Hall House // 1851

The stunning Dexter House at 156 Ivy Street in Cottage Farm was designed by renowned architect George Minot Dexter as his own residence. Dexter was hired by Amos A. Lawrence who subdivided his large land holding in Brookline to develop cottages on large lots for rent. Lawrence hired Dexter to design multiple homes in the area and even sold him a lot, as opposed to renting a building on the grounds. Dexter built this Gothic Cottage in 1851, and used local Roxbury Puddingstone and brick with a slate gambrel roof. By the 1870s, it became home to Minna B. Hall, a founding member of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Hall became an advocate for the comings and goings of birds at the pond behind her house and plotted a strategy with her cousin, (and neighbor) Harriet Lawrence Hemenway, to halt the cruelty to birds and end the use of plumes adorning women’s hats. Before her death, Hall sought to conserve the pond behind her house and offered it to the Town of Brookline, who refused. It was partly developed and reduced in size, and nearly subdivided into four house lots in the 1970s, until a group of citizens rallied to have the land be preserved through federal and state grants. It was the first acquisition of land by the town for conservation purposes, fulfilling Minna’s last wish. It is called Hall’s Pond.

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