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 1897, tailor Charles L. Hovey and his wife Bertha, had this house in Waban built for their family. The architecture really stands out as an eclectic blending of styles, common at the end of the 19th century, when architects and builders would design homes to exhibit architectural details from multiple styles, all under one roof. The shingled house has a steep gable roof and three gabled dormers, which reflects Queen Anne theme. The diamond-pane windows and the technique of cantilevered dormers and the second floor overhanging the first, is First Period-Medieval in style, a unique interpretation of American architecture. What do you think of this home?
In the land of storybook Tudor houses, this one might just be the most magical of them all! Located on Chestnut Street in Waban Village of Newton, you’ll find this stone Tudor cottage set behind a circular drive. The house was built in 1926, in the interwar period (between WW1 and WW2), a period of rapid suburban development in this part of Newton. The house was first occupied by a Seymour Ellis, who according to newspapers, had a rabid dog! The house exhibits a strong gable to the street which incorporates a massive chimney inside. The gable also sweeps out to form a catslide roof, that incorporates an arched garden gate.
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.
Some really interesting history and architecture with this one! Located in Waban Village in Newton, Mass., this gorgeous Mission Revival style house is one of a few in the style in the Boston area. The Mission Revival style was popularized on the West Coast in California in the late 19th century. Rather than continuing to adopt imported East Coast architectural styles, these California architects recognized the value of their own historic surroundings, where the Spanish Colonial mission heritage of California and the Southwest, the beautiful mission chapels, with stucco walls, red tile roofs, and bell towers led to the new revival. The style never took off in New England, which followed its own Georgian and Federal Revival styles, emulating historic Colonial-era homes here. This Newton home was built around 1908 for Lawrence W. Luellen, an attorney and inventor, who made a big invention, disposable paper cups! It is true. Lawrence Luellen wanted to do away with the ubiquitous “tin dippers” he saw in public buildings and railway stations after realizing all that sharing might be transferring disease. In 1907, he took out a patent and create a new, clean and individual drinking cup. After his invention went global, he sold his Newton home and moved to New Jersey, inventing…cup dispensers!
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 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.
On a busy road in Oak Hill Village in Newton, Massachusetts, I saw this house which appeared as if it was built for a different use. After searching historic maps, I found it was originally home to the Oak Hill Evangelical Society, as a rural chapel. The chapel served as a local religious gathering place for the handful of families who lived around this section of Oak Hill and did not desire to travel to nearby villages to worship. The practitioners had money, and hired the Boston architectural firm of Cooper and Bailey, who designed many stunning civic and institutional buildings in New England. With the proliferation of the personal automobile, locals would later be able to travel to nearby churches easier, and this building was sold to a member, who converted it to residential use, which it has been used as to this day. The building is an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts architectural style with the raised rubblestone foundation, flared eaves with exposed rafters, and shingle siding which flares where it meets the foundation.
Another of Oak Hill Village’s pre-Revolution homes is this stunner! This home was built some years before 1718 and was eventually occupied by Robert Murdock (1663-1754) and wife Hannah Stedman. Murdock emigrated from Scotland to Plymouth, MA in 1688 with his brother, later settling in Roxbury. In 1703, Robert bought a house and 120-acres of land here, and worked as a housewright. Like the King House (last post), the house was likely rebuilt or modified substantially at this time. Robert also served as a selectman, Constable, Surveyor of Highways, and Assessor in town until his death; and his son, Robert Murdock Jr., took over the property. By the mid-18th century, the estate was purchased by Jeremiah Wiswall (1725-1807). Wiswall served as Captain of the militia at the battle at Concord and Dorchester Heights during the Revolution and held a number of positions in the community including Overseer of the Poor, Constable, Selectman and as a hogreeve (person charted with the prevention or appraising of damages by stray swine). He was very involved in the events leading up to the Revolution including the committee on the tea embargo and drilled with the militia. He also lent money to the town to hire soldiers and owned a house designated as a place to receive smallpox inoculations in 1777, though it is unclear if it was this house he used. The house was eventually slated for demolition in the 1960s, but was saved by Dr. Roy Carlson, President of nearby Mount Ida College (now owned by UMass. For $1, he purchased the home from a developer and paid for it to be moved from its original location at the corner of Brookline and Dedham streets a ¼ mile southwest to its current location, on Carlson Ave, and it served as the President’s House.