Adolph and Marion Ehrlich House // 1906

Echoing some design motifs from the nearby Gahm House (last post), this home showcases the Tudor Revival style, but mixed with Arts and Crafts and Colonial Revival details. Adapted from a house built in the 1850s, the home was enlarged in 1906, from plans by Andrews, Jaques and Rantoul an architectural firm of wide acclaim. Adolph Ehrlich (1868-1952) and Marion Ratchesky Ehrlich (1877-1966) had the home built as a refuge from the hustle-and-bustle of busy Boston. Adolph was born in Boston and at the age of 11, began work in the textile business. He climbed the ranks and became a partner in a clothing company before becoming director of the Jordan Marsh Department Store Company from 1925 until his death in 1952. His wife Marion was heavily involved in social causes until her death, including the Louisa May Alcott Club, a settlement house in Boston for young, predominantly immigrant girls.

Gahm House // 1907

Located in the stunning Longwood neighborhood of Brookline, MA, the Gahm House stands out not only for its size, but stunning details and architectural design. This house was designed in 1907 by the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver, one of the premier firms of the region at the time. Joseph and Mary Gahm hired the firm to design their new home the same year the firm designed a bottling plant (no longer extant) in South Boston for Mr. Gahm’s business. Joseph Gahm was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, who emigrated to Boston in 1854 and initially worked as a tailor. In the early 1860s, Gahm opened a restaurant in Charlestown, by the late 1860s he added a small bottling operation to this business. The bottling business soon expanded to such an extent that he was able to give up the restaurant business and open a large bottling plant in 1888. He eventually moved operations to South Boston where there was more room for transportation and shipping capabilities. Their stuccoed house in Brookline is especially notable for the well preserved carvings at the entrance, which include: faces, floral details, lions, and owls perched atop the newel posts. What do you think of this beauty?

Amos Lawrence School // 1929

Located near the Longwood Area of Brookline is the Amos Lawrence School, a handsome inter-war Classical Revival school building. The first Lawrence School was built in 1873 for the growing population of the area after the conclusion of the Civil War, and was designed in the Victorian Gothic style by the firm of Peabody & Stearns. The school was brick and wood construction and was enlarged and renovated several time before a
determination was made in 1929 to build a replacement.

The town hired the architectural firm of R. Clipston Sturgis to design a slightly larger school building that could meet the needs of the modern student. The firm’s first proposal was a large Tudor style school, but it was turned down by the Advisory Committee for the exorbitant cost. A more refined Classical Revival building was later proposed and slightly modified by the demanding Committee. The town saved an estimated $225,000 in construction costs by eliminating wings on either side, combining two front entrances into one, combining the auditorium and gymnasium, and substituting “second-class” construction for “first-class.” Meaning that instead of concrete walls and floor throughout, wood was to be used for the floors of the rooms. The school also required additions later on and has had at least three, to keep up with the growing population of the suburban town. Here’s to hoping this Lawrence School doesnt suffer the same fate as the first!

Bouve House // 1885

Located at the corner of Kent Street and Longwood Ave, this Queen Anne home commands the corner lot with its massing and bold materials. Built in 1885 by the real estate magnate John Prescott Webber, the home is faced with random and quarry-faced ashlar granite on the first floor and roughcast stucco on the floor above. The home is asymmetrical with massive bays, gables and a stone porte-cochere which originally led to a large carriage house behind (since razed). The home was apparently designed by Boston architect S. Edwin Tobey for Webber and soon after sold to George F. Bouve, a Boston shoe manufacturer from France. New owners have enhanced the home with lush vegetation, which is great for the streetscape and home but makes photographing harder!

Houghton House // c.1890

Located at 241 Kent Street in Brookline, this gorgeous Queen Anne/Colonial Revival home stands out for its amazing architecture. The home was built in about 1890 for Andrew Jackson Houghton, a businessman who co-owned the Vienna Brewery in nearby Jamaica Plain Boston. Mr. Jackson died in 1892, likely a year after the home was complete and his widow, Harriet lived on the property until her death. The home was later occupied by the MIT Fraternity of Beta Theta Pi, from 1925 until 1946. Most recently, the home was purchased by Boston Children’s Hospital as the Yawkey Family Inn, a residence for families of patients for short-medium stays nearby the hospital. They completed an appropriate addition at the rear while restoring the main home.

Max Katz House // 1947

One of my favorite homes in Brookline has to be the Katz House, located on Kent Street, opposite the Longwood Mall. The home was designed and built in 1947 by Samuel Glaser (1902-1983) was born in Latvia and at the age of four came to the United States with his family, settling in Brookline. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with an architecture degree in 1925. Glaser worked in the New York architecture firm of Clarence Stein before returning to Brookline by 1933. He established his own firm in Boston, seeking a niche as a designer of moderately priced homes, particularly in the expanding suburbs where young Jewish
families had begun living. Glaser is a relatively unknown architect who could design iconic Tudor homes as well as Contemporary Modern homes. His most notable building (that gets the most traffic) is the Star Market built over the Mass Pike, just west of Boston, that building was possibly the first to build using air rights over a street.

The Modern home was built for Max Katz, a Lithuanian-born businessman who founded the Merchant Tire Company in Boston in 1922. He likely met Glaser at the nearby Jewish Temple on Beacon Street.

Dr. Robert Amory Houses // 1870

Two homes, originally identical, were built side-by-side in the Longwood area of Brookline by Dr. Robert Amory, a Harvard physician who married the daughter of Amos A. Lawrence, the developer of the neighborhood. Amory likely got a good deal on the lots and developed them with two single-family stone mansard homes facing the Muddy River, which was soon after redesigned by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of the iconic Emerald Necklace system of Boston and appropriately renamed the Riverway. Dr. Amory apparently conducted medical experiments in his stable on the action of drugs on animals before moving to Boston.

One home remains almost identical to what it looked like in 1870 with the original mansard roof with iron cresting and stone base. It’s neighbor was altered at the end of the 19th century with a gambrel roof vertical addition, portico and side porch which may have been a porte-cochere.

George Wightman Mansion // c.1902

One of the grandest mansions in Brookline’s Longwood neighborhood has to be the Wightman Mansion at the corner of Hawes and Monmouth Streets. George Henry Wightman (1855-1937) was a businessman who worked under Andrew Carnegie and was known in Boston as a “steel magnate”. He hired the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Boston to design this Beaux-Arts style home, which looks more institutional than residential. The home featured a large back yard with private tennis courts as Wightman was a tennis aficionado. His son George William Wightman played tennis and married Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, an icon in women’s tennis who won 45 U.S. titles in her life.

The home was sold after Wightman’s death in 1937 and eventually became home to the Hebrew Teacher’s College (now Hebrew College), which relocated in 2002 to Newton. Wheelock College then took over the building, which merged with Boston University as the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development in 2018.

Image of the Wightman Mansion from “The Brick Builder” 06-1903.

Church of Our Savior // 1868

The second and final church built in the Longwood area of Brookline, is the Church of Our Savior, built in 1868. The church was built by brothers Amos Adams Lawrence and William R. Lawrence, in honor of their father, textile industrialist and philanthropist Amos Lawrence. It was designed by architect, Alexander Rice Esty, a notable architect who designed many churches and other buildings in Boston and metro west. A rectory, designed by architect Arthur Rotch of the firm Rotch and Tilden, was the gift of Sarah Appleton Lawrence (wife of Amos A. Lawrence) and was dedicated in 1886 in memory of her late husband. When she died, her children had a transept chapel designed by the firm Sturgis and Cabot built as a connector between the church and the rectory. This chapel is similar to the Christ Church “Sears Chapel” in that it was basically a family memorial chapel for a prominent developer and citizen of Longwood. The steeple blew off in 1923 and was replaced a decade after. The steeple was again removed after 1977 and is capped with battlements, appropriate for the Gothic Revival style.

Chapel (left) and rectory (right).

Silas Peavy House // 1905

This massive Neo-Classical home was built in 1905 for Silas Peavy, a clothier in Boston. The home was designed by the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver. Peavy was a part-owner of J. Peavy & Sons (later & Bros), a prominent clothes dealer in Boston. He had this family home built on Kent Street in the Longwood section of Brookline, likely due to its proximity to the streetcar which ran up Beacon Street to downtown Boston. The home has a central, monumental portico with ionic columns, classical detailing, pilastered corner-boards, pedimented dormers, and a large porte-cochere.