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.
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.
The Waban Branch Library was designed by Gifford LeClear of the architectural firm Densmore, LeClear & Robbins in the Tudor Revival style in 1929. The village of Waban, in the aims of constructing a new public library for the established suburban neighborhood, gathered over $63,000 for the designing, construction and furnishing of the new branch library in Newton. The building is constructed of brick and faced with limestone at the entrance, stone trim exhibits some carvings of books and other library-oriented objects, the building topped by a slate roof.
This crazy eclectic house in Waban was built in 1897 for a Georgia C. Stetson. The home features a prominent frontal sloped roof, punctuated by an eyebrow dormer, two pedimented dormers, and a Palladian dormer. The roof overshoots the porch on one side, creating a sheltered porch supported by Tuscan columns. I couldn’t find much information on Ms. Stetson besides the fact she lived at the home from when it was built in 1899 until her death, at home, in 1952!
This Tudor mansion in Waban Village was built around 1905 for George and Amelia Angier. George was the President of the Angier Chemical Company of Brighton. The company sold (among other things) Petroleum Emulsion, which was to be drank, serving as an anti-septic and soothing agent in the throat, stomach and intestines, it doesn’t sound safe to me! After their house was built, Mrs. Amelia Angier spent much of her time with charitable clubs and organizations. In 1916, before America joined WWI, Amelia started a fund and group to provide aid to the French who were wounded in the on-going war.
William C. Strong, a prominent local citizen who resided nearby, had this stylish commercial block built to serve the expanding population of the village which eventually became known as Waban. After the completion of the Waban Train Station, the demand for neighborhood retail became apparent and William Strong was an early developer to realize this. He hired Lewis Bacon, an architect who resided nearby, to design the commercial block. The result is a stunning Dutch Revival building with gables showcasing stepped parapets. The upper stories were apparently used as apartments when completed. Notwithstanding Strong’s efforts, the Waban commercial district developed rather slowly. It was not until 1924 that the row of one-story shops was added to its right. The addition was designed by Edward B. Stratton, who followed suit with Tudor and Jacobean motifs, to compliment the Dutch Revival block.
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.
After the completion of the Waban Station, providing opportunity for residential and commercial development due to transit to and from Boston, two men sought to develop the area into attractive housing lots. In 1886, Dr. Morrill Wyman, founder of Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, sold the old Wyman Farmhouse (still extant) and 150 acres of farmland to real estate speculators. The speculators, Charles Page and Frederick Henshaw, proceeded to subdivide the land into 87 house lots, creating this suburban neighborhood in Waban we know today. Frederick Henshaw sought to build his own home adjacent to the old farmhouse and hired H. Langford Warren (who then owned the farmhouse next door), esteemed architect and then Dean of the Harvard School of Architecture to complete designs. The Queen Anne mansion with its bold octagonal bay commands the corner lot and is a well-preserved significant home in the neighborhood.
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.
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.