In 1888, Kate and Charles Page purchased a house lot in the sparsely developed Fenway section of Boston. The corner lot at Westland and Parker (renamed Hemenway) provided views to natural scenery and access to many Boston amenities. The couple worked with architect Herbert Langford Warren, who had previously apprenticed under the great H. H. Richardson. Warren took many of the common motifs seen in Richardson’s own style, but he was also a fan of the Arts and Crafts Movement, with its love of fine handicraft. You can see that in the elaborate diaper-patterned brick and in the stepped gables. The gables were a revival of a motif from old Flemish, Dutch, and Scottish architecture, sometimes called corbie-step gables, because corbies (crows) liked to stand on the steps. The interior was just as stunning, with massive brick arches, fanciful woodwork, and a prominent stairhall at the entrance. The couple was likely inspired to hire Warren by their son, Walter Gilman Page, a young artist who maintained a studio space in the home for some time. The home was sold out of the family by 1912. In 1917, the whole house was lifted up one story and a strip of retail stores was inserted beneath it. The original arched entryway then became a second-floor window. It was replaced with a taller building by 2003. Interestingly, upon the opening, the Commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and long-time Boston Preservation Alliance Executive Director stated that the 1888 house “looked like a missing front tooth” and was happy to see it demolished.
Herbert L Warren
William C. Strong House // 1907
In 1875, William C. Strong, a nurseryman from Brighton, MA, purchased the 93-acre Staples-Craft farm in Newton. He established a large nursery on the grounds and promoted construction of the Circuit Railroad, which connected the rural section of Newton to the Boston and Albany rail line in 1886, thus establishing the village of Waban. Due in great measure to the efforts of Strong and other developers, Newton’s youngest village grew rapidly as the once isolated farm area gave way to a vibrant suburban community. He built commercial structures and people began to flock to the village, for the new housing and easy-access into Boston by rail. Strong had a house built by architect Herbert Langford Warren in 1896 and lived there for years before having this house built in 1907, when William was 83 years old. The house was occupied by Strong for just a couple years until he moved away to Manhattan. The Arts and Crafts style home was purchased by Esther Saville Davis.