Bernard Jenney House // 1908

This stunning home in Brookline’s Cottage Farm neighborhood was built in 1908 for Bernard Jenney, the assistant treasurer of the Jenney Oil Company. Stephen Jenney, had founded Jenney Oil Company in Boston in 1812, as a kerosene, coal and whale oil producer. By the 1860s, Bernard Sr. and his brother Francis took over the company which became known as the Jenney Manufacturing Company. The newly established company focused primarily on production and distribution of petroleum products for factories and businesses. The Jenney Manufacturing Company took off in the early 1900s due to the proliferation of personal automobiles in Boston and they expanded a new manufacturing center in City Point, South Boston, which had a capacity of 500 barrels of oil a day. Jenney auto oil and gasoline became a major supplier and after Bernard Sr.’s death in 1918, under Bernard Jr.’s leadership, the company began to develop gas stations in New England. The company continued into the 1960s when it was acquired by Cities Service, later rebranding as Citgo. Jenney resided here until his death in 1939. According to the 1935 Brookline street list, the occupants included his daughter’s family Mary & Francis Brewer, three maids and a laundress. The house was acquired by Boston University in 1963 and has long served as the home of former president John Silber.

The architectural firm of Kilham & Hopkins was hired to design the home, which is French Renaissance Revival in style. The home itself is an architectural landmark. When it was published in ‘The American Architect’ in 1910, the house was described as, “A Study in French design of the Louis XVI period”. Additionally, the home (of course) featured a vehicle garage as the family must have had some cars based on the line of work. The home is now listed for sale for a cool $4,888,000 price tag!

Edward P. Rowe House // 1911

This Colonial Revival house was built in 1911 for Edward P. Rowe and is an excellent example of the style. The architect on record was Henry W. Rowe, who was based out of an office at 161 Devonshire Street in Downtown Boston. Due to the shared last name between Edward and Henry, it can be assumed that they were related and thus, why his firm was hired for the design. Edward Rowe also worked at 161 Devonshire Street, but as a Treasurer and Director of the Massachusetts Accident Company, an insurance company. Rowe’s gorgeous home at 11 Mason Street in Cottage Farm features somewhat odd proportions, yet is one of the most prominent houses in the area. The 2 1/2 story gambrel house has four massive chimneys and shed dormers at the roof and a projecting enclosed portico with transom and side lights. The symmetrical facade is divided by large pilasters which segment the elongated windows.

John Wales House // c.1886

The whimsical house at 71 Carlton Street in the Cottage Farm neighborhood in Brookline was built for John Wales in around 1886. George Wales worked as treasurer of John Wales & Company, a hardware business located on High Street in Boston. The home was designed by architect William Whitney Lewis, an English born architect who attended school at MIT and later worked in the office of Cummings & Sears, where he held many commissions for houses in the Back Bay. The Wales House features an asymmetrical facade with exceptional decorative effects through the use of brick and terra cotta ornament, corner oriel, and shingles.

Judge Wells House // 1870

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.

Almy-Palfrey House // 1853

This house on Ivy Street in the Cottage Farm neighborhood of Brookline, MA was built in 1853 as one of many single-family rental properties on the former Lawrence estate. This house was rented by the Amos Lawrence under the supervision of his attorney until his death in 1886, to friends as Lawrence did not want to sell the properties near his home and have bad neighbors! It appears the home was often rented to Frederick Almy (1841-1898) from the time it was built into the 1870s. Almy was an attorney who had an office in Downtown Boston. The original home was of a two-story brick mansard design, later altered in the 1920s for owner John G. Palfrey, also an attorney who later worked at the Harvard Law School. Palfrey hired architect R.A. Fisher to box out the third story where the mansard roof was with brick veneer and give the home a Federal Revival design. In 1925, architects Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott were hired to construct a one story playroom on the front corner of the house.