Edmund and Ethel Sprague House // 1929

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.

John Parry House // 1895

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 Crawford House // 1897

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.

F. W. Webster House // c.1895

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.

Turner Art Publishing Company Building // 1908

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.

William Strong House // 1896

William C. Strong purchased the old Wyman Farm in present day Waban Village in 1875, consisting of 93 acres of open land and rolling hills. He subdivided some of the land after the completion of the Waban Station, later developing the Strong’s Block, the premier commercial block in the village. To kick off the development along Windsor Road, he hired architect Herbert Langford Warren, the Dean of Harvard’s Architecture School (who also owned a historic farmhouse nearby) to design a couple homes for sale. This stunning house is notable for the prominent gable end gambrel roof, shingle siding, and porte-cochere.

Staples-Crafts Farm // 1750

In 1688, John Staples, settled in the untouched landscape seven miles west of Boston, now known as Waban Village in the town of Newton. John was a weaver by trade but he ended up as the first public school teacher, the town clerk, a policeman, and an alderman. John married and lived in a modest farmhouse for decades here, witnessing the birth of a new nation nearby. The couple had no children of their own but raised some of Mary’s relatives including Moses Crafts, who would eventually take over the home. Craft rebuilt the house on the original foundation around 1750, constructing a colonial farmhouse two and a half stories high with five windows and two rooms across, one room wide.

Joseph Crafts died in 1821 at the age of 85, leaving no will and considerable
debts owed. The Judge of Probate ordered the property to be auctioned, and
Joseph’s son, Moses Crafts II, made the winning bid of $5.50 for the house,
barn, and a large tract of land! In 1824, Moses Craft II sold the property to his cousin William Wiswall, who gave the house a Federal period remodeling.

By the late 19th century, the home and ample farm land were acquired by William Strong and his wife Mary. William, President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, used the property for some time as a nursery, with apple orchards and rose gardens. After his petitioning for a train station in Waban, he parceled up the farmland into large house lots for sale, seeing the neighborhood shifting to a suburban village. He soon after built the Strong Block, the first commercial building here.

Lewis H. Bacon House // 1892

Another architect-designed home for their own use in Waban Village in Newton, is this house on Chestnut Street. Built in 1892, the Colonial Revival home is set far off the street with a commanding presence and symmetrical facade. The home was designed and occupied by Lewis Howard Bacon (1857-1941), a former chairman of the Newton board of appeals and a member of the school committee and the board of aldermen in Newton, also a practicing architect. He studied architecture in the office of Samuel Lane, architect of Cleveland, 1877-80, when he moved to Boston as a draughtsman and supervisor of construction for the firm of Sturgis & Brigham, 1880-1886. For four years he was a member of the firm of Morrison & Bacon (1888-1892), before embarking on his own practice in an office in Downtown Boston. He resided in this home until his health failed and he moved to a nursing home where he died.

William F. Goodwin House // 1888

When an architect designs their own home, they typically focus on the minute details which can make such a difference, often because they know what works and what doesn’t! This home was designed and built for William F. Goodwin, an architect with an office in Downtown Boston. After the Waban Station was built in 1886, he sought open space and a large home in suburban Boston, to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of daily life. Years after he moved into his home, he gifted his services to design the neighborhood’s first church, the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Waban // 1896

For the small population living in the farming village of Waban in Newton, MA, every Sunday, they had to take a horse and carriage or walk to church in a nearby village. The Waban Christian Union was the first religious organization to be established in Waban, 1894-1895 after seeing a suburbanization of the village. The church was to be for services of the Protestant Episcopal Faith, though the group claimed no allegiance to the Diocese, nor was it organized according to the laws of the church. It was independently owned by a corporation that felt the need for a religious association in the community. This church structure was constructed in the
summer of 1896 at a cost of $5000 with William F. Goodwin, a charter member of the group (and resident nearby), donating his services as the architect. The organization leased the space to a pastor for $200 a year, later selling it to the congregation, known now as the Church of the Good Shepherd.