My favorite of all workers cottages/houses in Newton’s Lower Falls village is this home, a c.1840 dwelling which is a vernacular Greek Revival style home with excellent proportions and design. Toward the middle of the 19th-century, the Newton Lower Falls Village developed into a premier paper-manufacturing center of eastern Massachusetts, largely due to the water power supplied by the Charles River. One of the most successful paper mills in the area was owned by Lemuel Crehore (1791-1868), who with his success, built workers cottages for his employees and their families! This home was occupied by Nathaniel Wales and his wife Abigail (Jackson). Nathaniel was from Watertown and came to Newton to work in the paper industry. He left and went to Canada in 1802 to create a paper mill there, soon after returning to marry Abigail. The home features a full-length front porch with tapered columns, pilasters at the entry, and Victorian-era windows in a 2-over-2 configuration.
Toward the middle of the 19th-century, the Newton Lower Falls Village developed into a premier paper-manufacturing center of eastern Massachusetts, largely due water power supplied by the Charles River. One of the most successful paper mills in the area was owned by Lemuel Crehore (1791-1868), who with his success, built workers cottages for his employees and their families (imagine if businesses did that today)! This Greek Revival workers cottage was occupied by employees of the mill, and was sold off after the mill shut down. The house features a deep piazza with three Tuscan columns across the front and scroll-sawn bargeboards at the porch and hanging along the roof, giving it a slight Gothic Revival element.
When the Waban section of Newton got a rail line connecting it to Boston, development boomed! Architects who lived in other parts of the Boston area saw an immense opportunity, not only for work, but for a bucolic setting where they could also reside. One of these architects that lived and worked in Waban was Thomas Marriott James, who in the early 20th century, designed and moved into this house on Pine Ridge Road. James was also born in Cambridge but received no academic architectural training. By 1893, Boston directories record that he was a draftsman at the office of Eugene L. Clark, a prolific
designer of suburban homes. His residence in Waban blends the Shingle and Colonial Revival styles under a broad gambrel roof. The verandah is inset and has segmental bays with shingle posts as supports. The kneewall is also shingled, adding to the composition.
In 1895, when the Queen Anne style was no longer in vogue among architects and builders in the Boston area, the Allston Real Estate Company took a gamble and built this house in a scarcely developed section of Waban Village in Newton on spec, hoping to find a buyer. They found one in Oscar Raymond Rice and his wife Maud Lois Sargent Rice. Oscar worked as a salesman, and Maud volunteered locally with various causes. The family home is a great example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture with varied siding styles, asymmetry, a tower, rounded bay window, porch with turned posts, and applied decoration in the gables. The house underwent a large renovation about five years ago and it still looks great! The listing from 2017 gives me serious house envy.
Okay, there is just something about this house that is so intriguing and unique and stands out among all the other (thousands) of Colonial Revival style houses I have seen. I just can’t quite put my finger on it! This late 19th century beauty was built in 1898 for Eva Bailey and Francis Southwick eight years after their marriage and after the birth of their children. It is unclear who the young family hired as an architect to design the home, but they definitely went with a loose adaptation of the Colonial Revival style in an American Foursquare form. The house has a large Palladian window and a minimal front portico supported by Doric columns.
In the inter-war period, Norman Revival houses took off in popularity (though never at the same level as Tudor or Colonial Revival styles), partially due to returning soldiers who served in Normandy France in WWI. Many plans include a small round tower topped by a cone-shaped roof, resembling the grain silos of the ancient Normandy style. The architecture is characterized by steep, conical roofs or hipped roofs and round stair-towers. The style is much less common in the Boston area, but this notable example in Waban Village, Newton, was too good to pass by without snapping a photo! The home was built around 1929 for Edmund and Ethel Sprague. Edmund is listed in directories as a landscaper for trees and shrubs.
In 1895, Waban Village was in the middle of its massive development period, when half of the homes in the neighborhood were built within 10 years. One of the earliest in this neighborhood was this investment property by John E. Parry, a businessman and major developer. This house appears to have been rented at first, but was listed as vacant for some time in the city directories. Eventually it was purchased and has been lovingly maintained to this day. The design is a regional take on the transitional Shingle and Colonial Revival styles, this one with a really unique cross gambrel roof.
Dr. Sarah Marcy Crawford was a graduate of the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and long devoted herself to her patients. She eventually settled in the Boston area, working in Roxbury as a physician until she took up a residence in Waban Village of Newton. She worked locally at the New England Hospital for Women and Children and served as a deputy superintendent of the State’s minor wards for the old Massachusetts Board of Charity and was an active member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. She had this eclectic home built for her and her family, but they later relocated to another home in town. The house is a great example of the convergence of architectural styles, common at the end of the 19th century, this one being a blending of Shingle, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles.
When William C. Strong began developing land on the farm he purchased in Waban, he built a few homes to market the new neighborhood, and rented some of them for additional income. This really unique home was one of them. It was built around 1895 and exhibits elements of the Shingle and Colonial Revival styles. The home was eventually purchased by Frederic W. Webster, who was an alderman in Newton. The blocky proportions of this house and the prominent overhang of its hip roof are prevalent motifs in late 19th century adaptations of the Shingle Style. The style is even more evident at the recessed center entrance with curved reveals, and the diamond shingle motif at the second floor. Nods to Colonial Revival are the garrison (second floor overhanging the first, and the central dormer.
In 1907, the 86-acre Bigelow Estate (featured yesterday), was purchased by Horace K. Turner, owner of an art publishing company founded in Boston about 1904. Turner moved his workshops to the estate so the artists could work in healthy country surroundings. The firm required the long wings contoured into the hillside to provide ample natural light and views to the distance for the workers. In 1920, the entire property, including the Bigelow House and the bungalow workshops, were acquired by the New England Peabody Home, which had been located in Hyde Park for 25 years. It was set up as a school and hospital for “crippled children” and this brick building was added to the center section. Architects for this addition were Coolidge and Shattuck, successors to the firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge. The Peabody Home was among the first to use sun treatment as a cure for physical ills and the extensive porches were well suited to this purpose. The Peabody Home became obsolete and the property was sold off in the mid-20th century. In 1979, the Peabody Home was sold to Edward Leventhal, who converted the buildings into 22 condominiums. Architects for the project were Jung/Brannen.