The buildings which make up the majority of the “Great White Quad” of Harvard Medical School in Boston, are the four laboratory buildings which frame two sides of the lawn. The four lab buildings add to the composition of the campus which historically terminated at the Administration Building (last post). All five buildings of the Longwood campus’ initial building campaign were built between 1903-05 and were designed by the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, who continued the architectural practice of the famed H.H. Richardson. The four lab buildings were designed U-shaped with two disciplines in each building, one on each wing, with a central auditorium space in the central wing upstairs. Large grassy courtyards were located in the enclosed sections to provide natural light and fresh air into the laboratories. Many of the Classical Revival lab buildings have been enclosed and added onto in the 20th century as the campus grew exponentially, a testament to its success.
Located in the stunning Longwood neighborhood of Brookline, MA, the Gahm House stands out not only for its size, but stunning details and architectural design. This house was designed in 1907 by the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver, one of the premier firms of the region at the time. Joseph and Mary Gahm hired the firm to design their new home the same year the firm designed a bottling plant (no longer extant) in South Boston for Mr. Gahm’s business. Joseph Gahm was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, who emigrated to Boston in 1854 and initially worked as a tailor. In the early 1860s, Gahm opened a restaurant in Charlestown, by the late 1860s he added a small bottling operation to this business. The bottling business soon expanded to such an extent that he was able to give up the restaurant business and open a large bottling plant in 1888. He eventually moved operations to South Boston where there was more room for transportation and shipping capabilities. Their stuccoed house in Brookline is especially notable for the well preserved carvings at the entrance, which include: faces, floral details, lions, and owls perched atop the newel posts. What do you think of this beauty?
Located near the Longwood Area of Brookline is the Amos Lawrence School, a handsome inter-war Classical Revival school building. The first Lawrence School was built in 1873 for the growing population of the area after the conclusion of the Civil War, and was designed in the Victorian Gothic style by the firm of Peabody & Stearns. The school was brick and wood construction and was enlarged and renovated several time before a
determination was made in 1929 to build a replacement.
The town hired the architectural firm of R. Clipston Sturgis to design a slightly larger school building that could meet the needs of the modern student. The firm’s first proposal was a large Tudor style school, but it was turned down by the Advisory Committee for the exorbitant cost. A more refined Classical Revival building was later proposed and slightly modified by the demanding Committee. The town saved an estimated $225,000 in construction costs by eliminating wings on either side, combining two front entrances into one, combining the auditorium and gymnasium, and substituting “second-class” construction for “first-class.” Meaning that instead of concrete walls and floor throughout, wood was to be used for the floors of the rooms. The school also required additions later on and has had at least three, to keep up with the growing population of the suburban town. Here’s to hoping this Lawrence School doesnt suffer the same fate as the first!
Two homes, originally identical, were built side-by-side in the Longwood area of Brookline by Dr. Robert Amory, a Harvard physician who married the daughter of Amos A. Lawrence, the developer of the neighborhood. Amory likely got a good deal on the lots and developed them with two single-family stone mansard homes facing the Muddy River, which was soon after redesigned by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of the iconic Emerald Necklace system of Boston and appropriately renamed the Riverway. Dr. Amory apparently conducted medical experiments in his stable on the action of drugs on animals before moving to Boston.
One home remains almost identical to what it looked like in 1870 with the original mansard roof with iron cresting and stone base. It’s neighbor was altered at the end of the 19th century with a gambrel roof vertical addition, portico and side porch which may have been a porte-cochere.
The second and final church built in the Longwood area of Brookline, is the Church of Our Savior, built in 1868. The church was built by brothers Amos Adams Lawrence and William R. Lawrence, in honor of their father, textile industrialist and philanthropist Amos Lawrence. It was designed by architect, Alexander Rice Esty, a notable architect who designed many churches and other buildings in Boston and metro west. A rectory, designed by architect Arthur Rotch of the firm Rotch and Tilden, was the gift of Sarah Appleton Lawrence (wife of Amos A. Lawrence) and was dedicated in 1886 in memory of her late husband. When she died, her children had a transept chapel designed by the firm Sturgis and Cabot built as a connector between the church and the rectory. This chapel is similar to the Christ Church “Sears Chapel” in that it was basically a family memorial chapel for a prominent developer and citizen of Longwood. The steeple blew off in 1923 and was replaced a decade after. The steeple was again removed after 1977 and is capped with battlements, appropriate for the Gothic Revival style.
This massive Neo-Classical home was built in 1905 for Silas Peavy, a clothier in Boston. The home was designed by the architectural firm of Hartwell, Richardson & Driver. Peavy was a part-owner of J. Peavy & Sons (later & Bros), a prominent clothes dealer in Boston. He had this family home built on Kent Street in the Longwood section of Brookline, likely due to its proximity to the streetcar which ran up Beacon Street to downtown Boston. The home has a central, monumental portico with ionic columns, classical detailing, pilastered corner-boards, pedimented dormers, and a large porte-cochere.
One thing New England does right is Colonial Revival homes. The style began as an divergence from the ornate Victorian era homes seen in the mid-to-late 19th century for more classical designs (though many homes were a blending of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival). This Georgian Revival home was built in 1905 for Albert and Sidney Eiseman. They were clearly wealthy as they owned not just this home, but a summer estate in nearby Swampscott on the north shore, hiring Frederick Law Olmsted to design the landscaping. The Longwood, Brookline home was designed by James T. Kelley, an architect who began as a draftsman for Sturgis & Brigham, in Boston. The home for the Eisman’s is a three-story brick home with a central recessed balcony at the second floor, stone lintels and an entry with ionic columns.
Funded by Amos A. Lawrence, the rowhouses at the end and along Monmouth Court in the Longwood area of Brookline, MA, stand out as Brookline’s version of the Back Bay. While much of Brookline in the 19th century was developed with single family homes, Amos Lawrence wanted to provide high-end apartment housing in a denser format for Civil War soldiers and their families. The four rows of five houses were designed by two architects who worked on projects together, George Tilden and John Pickering Putnam. All four buildings are unique, but together employ similar styles and features. The Victorian Gothic buildings have intricate brickwork, mansard roofs, brick parapets and gothic dormers. The buildings were sold off as individual units in the 1920s.
One of my favorite church buildings in the Boston area has to be the Christ Church in the Longwood area of Brookline. Built in 1860, the Gothic style church stands upon a hill over the Muddy River, a part of the Emerald Necklace park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Constructed of Roxbury pudding stone, it contains round arched windows and doors, a rose window in the belfry, and a flat-roofed tower with quatrefoil openings at the balustrade. The church was funded by David Sears II who resided on Beacon Hill in the Sears House (now Somerset Club), Sears is credited with developing over 200 acres in Brookline into the Longwood neighborhood we see today. Architect Arthur Gilman, who was designing the Arlington Street Church in the Back Bay at the same time as Christ Church, apparently modeled this church after his ancestral church, St. Peters in Colchester, England (likely why the street was so named Colchester Street).