Thomas M. James House // c.1900

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.

LeClear House // c.1915

Waban in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a hotbed for architect-designed houses as their own residences. This Colonial Revival/Tudor Revival style estate was designed by Gifford LeClear (1874–1931), a prominent architect in the Boston area. Gifford LeClear was born in Rutherford, New Jersey to Thomas and Cornelia (King) LeClear. He was educated in the private schools in Boston before entering Harvard University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1895 and Master of Arts in 1896. He then worked for a year in the engineering department of the West End Street Railway before forming his partnership with Densmore in 1897. The partnership of Densmore & LeClear was formed in April 1897, practicing as mechanical and electrical engineers. One of the firm’s major projects in this role was the design of the building systems for the new campus of the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Bauckman House // 1915

The Arts & Crafts movement in architecture provided some of the most stunning and well-designed properties of the early 20th century but sadly, there are not too many examples here in New England. When I find some, I always get excited and pull over to snap a photo! This home on busy Beacon Street in Waban, Newton, was built in 1915 for Harry W. Bauckman a salesman in Boston. The designs are credited to architect James G. Hutchinson, who specialized in Arts & Crafts and Tudor style buildings in the area. The Bauckman House is Foursquare in form which basically segments the house into four, large rooms on each floor with a stairhall in the center. The home is clad with banded shingles which extend to the piers at the porch, a subtle nod to Shingle style architecture. SWOON! I was later informed by a follower that this was also the home of landscape historian and author Judith Tankard for some time.

Oscar and Maud Rice House // 1895

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.

Lamont Residence // 1907

In 1907, William F. Lamont and his family moved into this beautiful turn-of-the-century home in the rapidly developing Waban Village in Newton, Massachusetts. The extension of the circuit railroad connected this part of Newton (which had previously been farmland) to Downtown Boston, opening up the area to development for middle-income families who sought land and fresh air in the suburbs. The first house on Alban Road in Waban was built for the Lamont Family, and it perfectly blends multiple architectural styles under a gambrel roof.

What is your favorite feature of this house?

Eva Southwick House // 1898

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.

Ernest Zeiss House // 1897

Another eclectic house in Waban is this beauty, a blending of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles under an impressive gambrel roof. The home was occupied by Ernest L. Zeiss, a salesman. Waban, which was once a neighborhood within the reach of the middle-class, has since become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in one of the most exclusive towns in the Boston metro. It is safe to say an ordinary 9-5 salesman would not be able to afford a house like this today!

James R. Bancroft House // 1924

At the very end of Windsor Road in Waban Village, Newton, you will find this large, stuccoed Tudor home. The property was one of the last developed on the street and was designed by Newton-based architect William J. Freethy. The first owner of the house was James R. Bancroft, a nationally known economist who taught at Boston University and for years served as President of the American Institute of Finance. The Bancroft House is a refined example of the Tudor Revival style with stucco siding without half-timbering or other masonry detailing which is seen in so many other examples nearby.

James H. Gardner House // 1923

My favorite part about the Boston suburbs is the sheer number of well-preserved early 20th century residences. The collection of Colonial Revival, Tudor, and Arts and Crafts style houses found in Waban Village, Newton, are among my favorites. This two-story stucco-clad house enclosed by a slate gable roof with exposed rafter ends was built in 1923 from designs by architect Harry Morton Ramsay. Ramsay was hired to design dozens of middle-upper class houses in Newton during its period of rapid development in the early 20th century. The original owner was James H. Gardner, who lived here with his family and a maid for a couple decades.

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.