Dedicated in 1893, the First Parish Church of Brookline is the fourth to house the congregation that began as The Church of Christ here in 1717. Earlier iterations of the church were located here, at the geographic center of the new town which separated from Boston. Before this handsome stone church was constructed, the third home to the congregation was constructed in 1848 in the Gothic Revival style designed by architect Edward C. Cabot. The church purchased the former Brookline Town Hall in 1890, and sought to enlarge their church building, deciding to construct a new house of worship and expand, later connecting to the former Town Hall. The congregation hired the firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the successors to H. H. Richardson, whose architectural influence is readily apparent in the Romanesque arches and heavy massing of the building. The church has a collection of some of the most stunning stained glass windows in the region, many of which are designed and signed by Louis C. Tiffany.
First Brookline Town Hall // 1824
In 1824, the Town of Brookline voted to build a two story “Town House” to accommodate many functions including schooling, town meetings, religious services, and temperance lectures to serve the growing town. The structure was to replace an older brick schoolhouse which served as a school and housed some town functions. The structure was built in the manner of earlier European town or market halls, with a meeting room on the second floor and other public functions (in this case a school) on the first. Its location near the former town green was later deemed unfit for the town’s population center, which shifted closer towards Boston before the Civil War. Brookline built a second town hall in the 1840s, and the original structure was converted to the high school (the current building was constructed in 1965). Eventually, the former town hall was purchased by the First Parish Church in 1890, eventually connected to it by 1906.
The Park School – Main Building // 1971
Founded in 1888, The Park School, one of the premier private schools in the Boston area began off Walnut Street in Brookline in half of a house. Founded by Miss Caroline Pierce, the school was officially incorporated in 1923 and named to commemorate Julia Park, principal from 1910-1922. The school occupied the former Hill Estate before the school board voted in 1967 to look for a new campus, with space to grow. James and Mary Faulkner donated 14-acres of rolling fields and woods to the school for their new campus. The Park School hired architect Earl Flansburgh of Cambridge to design the new, Modern school building. The Brutalist building allowed for large, open classrooms with the flexibility for the school to adapt as its needs changed. The school is built of reinforced precast concrete as a stack of modular classroom and office spaces with wall-length windows for more natural illumination of rooms. Since the 1970s, the school has expanded a couple more times, notably with a 1990s addition by Graham Gund. The school remains one of the most desired in the region and fits well within its landscape.
Hartt House // 1899
The area just west of Jamaica Pond between Boston and Brookline can be characterized as a neighborhood of well-preserved 19th and 20th century homes and large, former estates converted to institutional use. The Hartt House in Brookline, off Goddard Ave, was built in 1899 for Arthur Hartt and his wife Augusta Batchelder. Arthur worked as a clerk with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company in Downtown Boston and built a couple large estates in Massachusetts, including a summer home in Marion. The Colonial Revival home sits on a hill, setback off the street, with a landscape designed by the Olmsted Brothers. The property was bought in the 1970s by the Hellenic Association of Boston, who turned the home into offices and the former barn into a chapel. The home appears to be suffering from some deferred maintenance, but is in overall good shape.
“Puddingstone” // 1927
Located across the street from Larz Anderson Park and the former Larz Anderson Estate, this stunning Spanish Revival home, built in 1927, was constructed as a guest house for visitors of Larz and Isabel Anderson. Between 1925-29 the Andersons constructed three guest houses outside the estate on Goddard Avenue. The designs were intended to call to mind places the Anderson’s had visited. “Puddingstone”, was named for a nearby outcropping of puddingstone on the Anderson estate, and was modeled after a house the couple had seen in Santa Monica, California. The Andersons used the buildings occasionally as guesthouses for relatives or friends who came for long stays at Weld, especially when Larz and Isabel were not in residence there. But for the most part, the houses remained empty and it was only after Larz’s death in 1937 that Isabel disposed of them. She donated them to Boston University for use as the Brookline Campus, who in turn, sold them off as private residences years later. Built in a Spanish Colonial style, it features a red terra cotta tile roof, adobe-colored stucco walls, and a center entrance framed by an elaborate cast stone surround in a Spanish Baroque style. To the right of the front door, a clathri (grid/lattice in architecture) over a window can be found in a blind arch.
Putterham School // 1768
Colonial-era one-room schoolhouses once dominated the landscape of New England, providing a learning space for young children. The number of these structures have plummeted due to changing development patterns and limited funding to preserve or adaptively reuse such buildings. In the town of Brookline, this c.1768 schoolhouse has been altered frequently, showing various styles and techniques in construction used during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The original one-room school house was enlarged in 1840 by an addition to the rear to fit additional pupils. In 1847 a shed was built for storing coal or wood and providing an entry vestibule. According to town records, in 1855 the ceiling in the schoolroom was raised, the windows enlarged, and the desks and chairs repaired. The double privy was built around 1898, probably replacing an earlier single privy. There is some evidence that in 1938 the school was used temporarily as a Catholic church and at some time following World War II as a synagogue. In 1966, the school was moved from its original site on Grove Street to its present location at Larz Anderson Park for the future preservation of the building by the town and local historical society. The schoolhouse is normally open for tours at various points during the year or by appointment.
Larz Anderson Carriage House // 1889
This large and imposing brick and stone structure, located in Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, was once the carriage house of “Weld”, the estate owned by Larz and Isabel Weld Anderson. Constructed in 1888, it was inspired by the Chateau de Chaumont-Sur-Loire in France and designed by Edmund M. Wheelwright, the city architect of Boston. First constructed to house a working stable, it later served to house and maintain the Andersons’ growing automobile collection. After Isabel Anderson’s passing in 1948, the collection was entrusted, at Isabel’s bequest, to the Veteran Motor Car Club of America. The VMCCA then established the nonprofit organization that is now known as the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. The former mansion suffered from vandalism in the 1950s and caught fire, later demolished by the Town, who could not afford to rebuild the home.
Hannah Harris House // c.1772
This cute little Georgian home in Brookline was built around 1772 for Hannah Winchester Harris, a widow at the time. Hannah’s husband, Timothy died in 1772 and it appears the widow had this small gambrel-roofed home constructed sometime soon after. Ms. Harris died in 1805 and the home was occupied by a new family, who added the saltbox addition. The home is today owned by the Town of Brookline, who maintain the building through the Brookline Historical Society. the home sits on the boundary of the old Weld Estate.
Sears Estate – Dexter Southfield School // 1922
Located in South Brookline, the former estate of Anna Sears stands high on a hill, surrounded by later buildings of the ever-growing Dexter Southfield School. The Sears Estate was built for Anna Sears, a widow who was married to the late Richard Sears, a photographer. The home was designed in 1922 by Walter Kirby as part of a 49-acre estate which, in addition to the main house, included three guest cottages, garages, and a barn. The estate remained a private residence until 1945, when it became a seminary for the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. The campus was acquired by the Dexter Southfield School in the 1960s who relocated from the Cottage Farm area of Brookline. The stuccoed exterior, red tile roof, door surround, balconies and iron window grilles and sconces are characteristic of the Spanish Revival style.
Walnut Hills Cemetery // 1875
Walnut Hills Cemetery is located in South Brookline, and covers about 45 acres of rolling hills and mature trees. Paved and unpaved roads and paths wind through the cemetery, following the contours of the terrain. The cemetery is an example of the Rural Cemetery movement which began in 1831 in the United States at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Walnut Hills began in 1874, when the town of Brookline authorized the purchase of land for a new cemetery, as its Old Burying Ground was filling up, it was consecrated a year later. The town retained two landscape architects, Ernest Bowditch and Franklin Copeland, to oversee its layout. Just inside the entry gate, the superintendent’s cottage (1901), designed by Guy Lowell, and the receiving tomb (1901) to a design by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. add much to the bucolic landscape. Of the number of notable burials in the cemetery, the most notable is likely Henry Hobson Richardson, one of the premier architects of the 19th century.